Over the course of the last fifteen or so years, many teen-centric comedy shows and films have dominated the scripted comedy genre. This is largely the work of one man; Judd Apatow. Apatow’s reputation precedes him, he is a master of the bringing the humour out of the awkwardness and pitfalls of being an average person in the world today. It was with this legacy in mind that I sat down to watch the first season of his Netflix rom-com Love.
Before I get into analysing the series as a whole I should at first establish that my expectations going into watching the series was mixed. I have, like many others, loved many of his movies (Anchorman, 40-Year Old Virgin, Trainwreck) and TV shows (Freaks & Geeks, Girls, Crashing), but I can’t help but feel like Love would be just another of these formulaic – albeit funny – shows. My feeling was what can he bring to the party that we haven’t already seen from him before?
The answer was obvious by the end of the first episode. He gets the time and space to develop and showcase the story of one individual character, rather than his usual group. The show is Apatow’s baby entirely in a way that he hasn’t had before, and it shows. Lead Gillian Jacobs portrays Mickey Dobbs. She is supported by a very strong cast including Paul Rust as Mickey new friend Gus and the brilliant Claudia O’Dohery as roommate Bertie. These three have what may be the best on-screen chemistry of anyone in any of Apatows works. The shows cast is undoubtedly its biggest strength, helped by the numerous brilliant comedic cameos throughout.
The show revolves around the work and love life of radio manager Mickey, as she struggles with commitment, intimacy and life the responsibilities of life as a millennial all grown-up. Mickey is a heavy drinker, drug taker and all around mess when we meet her as the series enters its first few episodes. Her self-deprecation endears her to me as the series went on. Her social opposite, Gus, is in many ways the typical beta-male so often seen in Apatow’s works. My fears of repetition were proven to be true in this sense. But, Gus and Mickey’s back-and-forth, ‘will they won’t they’ relationship is far more gripping and hilarious than the simple pretty girl – geeky guy paradigm we see so often.
With Love Apatow – freed from the two-hour time constrains of the big screen- is able to showcase more nuance and emotions from his cast in-between the absurd and crude hilarity that is his trademark. It manages to find the right balance between the absurdity of his cinematic exploits and the pathos and social realism found in Girls.
Overall, series one of Love is a great example of how to do a romantic comedy that appeals all sensibilities. Although it starts pretty slowly and the characters at first can be irritating, as the series goes on everything about it improves and it quickly becomes addictive. Perfectly fitted to the Netflix platform. So, if you’re looking for a show to watch with your significant other but find traditional rom-coms too soppy or formulaic, then you will love Love.
Last modified: 21st February 2020