On Love… A Netflix review

Netflix on Love

By Terri Cluckie

*Warning: I may spoil things*

As a Netflix Original, Love premiered on February 19th and I watched the first episode that night.

Created by couple Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust and super-producer Judd Apatow, the 10-part series follows the story of Mickey and Gus and their turbulent modern-day relationship.

When I watched the first episode it was about 1am and I was having a sleepover with my BF and her baby girl. We were confused and probably sleep deprived but overall unimpressed. I did however prevail a week or so later.

The show, which has been picked up for a second season that they have already started filming, was made purely for Netflix. And you know what the best thing about a Netflix Original is? Undisturbed viewing. Why wait a whole week per episode when you can commit one whole night/ day of your life to a series from the comfort of your ass-shaped couch? That’s what I did, and I seriously think it did Love the biggest favour. I said the same thing about Breaking Bad and I’m saying it here again: being able to watch a series right the way through without the anticipation and the breaks is actually a recipe for success! I wasn’t impressed with Love when I first watched it – I didn’t get it, was it funny? Are these awkward characters for real? But being able to follow their story in one scoop created an uninterrupted journey upon which I could laugh, cry, be jealous of and develop real feelings for.

Love

I understand the characters now. Heidi is fucking crazy and somebody me and my friends would definitely, secretly want to punch in the throat but actually is so hilarious. Mickey is disturbed and a serious baby/ downer when it comes to movie theme song parties but you know what? We were all making fun of it… And Susan Cheryl: don’t we all want to be that cut throat?

The only reason I watched the show in the first place was because of Lesley Arfin. I’m a huge fan of her writing and admire her gritty take on life. I’m guessing that’s where Mickey gets her pissy attitude from. It really works and guess what, now I love Gillian Jacobs. I love her so much I Instagram stalk her every morning, I dug out her Lenny essays and I binge watch her interviews on YouTube because that’s what I do when I respect someone.

Paul Rust, or Gus, was the same for me. His smothering love in the first episode drove me crazy and I know we can all relate to that relationship. I’ve witnessed the male blossoming after a serious break-up in real life so it was sweet to watch on-screen. He seems to land on his feet pretty well in a lot of ways even if he does stumble. And his brilliant defence of the things he loves when faced off with his ex-girlfriend pays homage to everybody’s inner geek. It also gave life to my favourite line of the series: “You can’t watch it online – these Blu-rays have exclusive special features, ya bitch!”

The show was created to explore the journey of a relationship and look beyond the “montage” of love we often see in movies. What this means is paring everything back and taking the time to reveal the real guts of a relationship, no matter how awkward and painful.

“Part of our original idea for the show was we wanted to see what relationships were like when you cut into the montage. When you take that out, and you’re just in it… I’ve never seen it before. As a person who’s in a relationship, I’m curious what that looks like… I’m always interested in what’s beautiful about love, and what’s really ugly about it. We just wanted it to be a narrative out of a lot of small moments,” says Arfin in an interview with W magazine.

But the show isn’t just about the couple, it’s about the individual too. I’ve already mentioned Gus’ part in pulling himself out of a break up. I think it’s well played out through his frustrations with work and love and life in general but what I love most is the hints at his “dark side”. It’s almost Walter White but definitely not as extreme (for obvious reasons). Like when he swears at Susan Cheryl when his stint at the writers’ table goes wrong, or when he aggressively throws his beloved Blu-rays out the car window after realising they are merely a box of lies. It’s those moments that give a character depth. He’s not just a nice, nerdy white guy who has impeccable taste in music, he has edge dammit.

Mickey’s journey of dealing with addiction and coming to the realisation of what is right for her life at this moment is drawn out but comes to a climax in the final episode. I’m not sure if I was annoyed at her and Gus’ union at the end though. I did want them to end up together but Mickey had just reached a point of knowing that she had to be alone and then next thing she meets Gus at the gas station and they’re all tongues flying. While I may be having my own inner conflict I do accept that it makes sense that they would end up together. The show is called Love after all – wouldn’t it have been a real tragedy if they didn’t actually get it together by the final episode?

Listen to the incredible (and unofficial) series soundtrack on YouTube here.

[Photo credits: Google Images]