This week I’m sure you, as I am, are feeling painfully bombarded with romantic rhetoric and cringeworthy Instagram posts from people who frankly, I thought were better than that. This, however, is the one dose of romance I welcome this week with wide open arms. I am in no way messing about when I tell you that Lovesick may well be best show I have ever seen on Netflix, nay, the best show I have ever seen anywhere.
Lovesick, originally called Scrotal Recall, follows the story of Dylan, played by Johnny Flynn. Dylan takes every hopeless romantic crush on misunderstood folky indie boys I had as a teenager and morphs them into one character. A character who tests positive for Chlamydia and, like the moral man he is, proceeds to get into contact with everyone he has ever slept with to let them know. Well done Dylan, we need more people like you in the world.
We the viewer then follow Dylan and his friends through his and their past & present relationships, romantic and non-romantic alike. The show has an excellent dual narrative. You are told the story of present-day Dylan & co., as well as Dylan’s non-chronological, but alphabetical, sexual history.
Although on the surface, Flynn’s character is the epitome of the Man Of My Dreams, what is especially good about his character is how realistically flawed he and the other main characters are. From Dylan, the hopeless romantic, to Luke who is emotionally stunted in a sincere but comic way, the show does not paint an idealistic image of love. Albeit a comedy, what Lovesick actually does is show how ugly love can be. How often it is a thing loaded with bad timing, mixed messages, unrequited love and above all loneliness.
Albeit a comedy, what Lovesick actually does is show how ugly love can be
Yet somehow, in amongst this relatively bleak story lies some of the best comedy television I have ever seen. Every character has just enough caricature to make them funny without losing their believability. On top of that, the fairly mundane setting of “some uni friends grew up and lived in a house together” provides for some brilliant everyday comedy. I can’t say I have ever seen the 1997 Crime Thriller Point Break, but after watching Luke played by Daniel Ings’ 60 second rendition of the film in his living room, I not only feel like I have seen Point Break, but I feel like I have lived it.
I was also struck by how casually the show normalises STIs, detaching the ‘gross’ stigmas often associated with them by incorporating them into the core of an everyday British comedy. You see a character talking openly about such a taboo subject, and granted, he never goes into any detail (I don’t know about you, but am quite okay with that) and he is obviously embarrassed by the whole situation, but he never seems actually ashamed. That, to me, is the cherry on top of a perfectly scripted, watchable and funny but realistic show.