Mickey Dobbs (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus Cruikshank (Paul Rust) really don’t want to sleep with each other. They acknowledge that it appears simple enough to accomplish, just don’t do it. They avoid doing things that would lead to sex—and each other. But it seems like fate has conspired against them. After the events of the first season of the Netflix original series, Love’s Mickey has decided that it would be best if she and Gus took a break. She tells him this, while also confiding in him that she is an addict of alcohol, drugs, sex, and, most importantly, love. In return, Gus kisses her, and she returns the affection.
But it only gets more difficult for them from here. Mickey and Gus keep trying to go back to their respective houses for the night, and it’s very amusing to see the two move from scene to scene without really getting anywhere.
Gus asks Mickey if they can go somewhere to talk about their separation. They arrive at Mickey’s place, only to stumble upon the boisterous intercourse being had by Mickey’s roommate Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty) and Gus’s friend Randy (Mike Mitchell). In order to escape the awkwardness, Mickey and Gus leave to get food together. Mickey takes Gus back to his apartment complex to drop him off, but when she mentions her growing urge to use the bathroom, Gus offers her the use of his.
The characters even seem to realize their apparently fruitless attempt to bring the night to a close. Mickey says “Alright, but only to use your bathroom. Then I will go home.” After Mickey finishes, they hear wailing sirens outside. Evidently, the police have cordoned off the entire complex in order to catch a criminal. Mickey and Gus are stuck together for the rest of the night. After a failed escape attempt, they resign themselves to the situation and fall asleep together fully clothed on opposite sides of the bed. Throughout the evening, the sexual tension between them has been almost visible. Other characters even comment on it. But so far, so good. Mickey and Gus have successfully avoided doing the deed.
Love is one of the most realistic depictions of people in television so far. Mickey and Gus talk just like people actually talk. Throughout the show, Gus speaks like a real person. A common phrase of his is “yeah yeah yeah, no no no.” He uses this to acknowledge something someone else said while also negating it. Sometimes he even appears to think through what has just been said while he speaks the extra words—the repetition giving him time to process the meaning of the words he has heard.
Mickey acts like a real person. She attends a dinner party, by herself, along with three couples. In her own words, she is “seventh-wheeling.” She feels left out, tries to steer the conversation away from couple’s things, and even gets frustrated and attempts to sow dissension in the group by asking, behind the facade of a conversation starter, “Which of your partner’s family members would you sleep with?”
The characters even look like real people. They aren’t models of beauty and fitness, some of them are out of shape or have weird personality quirks—they’re just people pursuing their own romantic desires, like everyone else.
Love also raises interesting and tough questions. As she has stated, to Gus and others, Mickey is a sex/love addict. The first and second episode of the season contain a multitude of moments that, in a traditional romantic comedy setting, would have the audience rooting for them to kiss and the like. Even in Love, viewers can easily find themselves hoping that the characters will be together. They seem like they go well together. Yet, Mickey is actively trying to take things slowly. The second episode ends with the two sleeping together, and while the act is consensual on both parts, something feels off. Love seems to be asking the audience if what is happening on screen is really a good thing. Mickey told us she is addicted to love and sex, and they end up having sex. Is he taking advantage of her addiction? Is this different because the audience knows they should be together? The start of the second season of Love doesn’t provide any immediate answers to these difficult questions.
Besides bringing more somber topics to the forefront, Love does a great job at achieving its alternative goal of humor. There are multiple laugh-out-loud moments in each episode, and the jokes help to mix the weighty pieces into something much more palatable for the audience. The show is directed by comedy bulwark Judd Apatow, and the show reflects this. The humor is witty, yet thoughtful, and altogether enjoyable. Love, while very different from other serial comedies, manages to hold its own quite well. Love explores, through the medium of serialized episodes, the idea that while everyone wants to find love, it might not be the best thing for them at the moment.
Featured Image By Netflix