So, I can hear you ask, what is Love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.
Love is one of the newest TV shows that has been created by the almighty Lords of television known as Netflix. It is also the first TV show to be created by Judd Apatow.
Love me like you do focuses on two characters, the troubled and addicted-to-everything Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and the cute adorkable wannabe writer Gus (Paul Rust). Both of them have just exited a long term relationship and are feeling down on themselves. They happen to meet by happenchance and get to talking with each other. From there, ten episodes of comedy, love, drugs, awkward meetings and lots of sex follow in one of the most innovative TV shows in recent memory.
Love yourself was the brainchild of Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin. Judd Apatow (the mastermind behind movies like Knocked Up (2007) The 40-Year Old Virgin (2005) and Pineapple Express (2008) just to name a few. Because of this, it follows a lot of the common story elements of a Judd Apatow romantic comedy, which can make the story a little predictable. However, this is also one of the things that makes I’m Lovin’ it so unique.
Most American TV shows, like movies, fall into certain categories. For example, for a time in the 1980s and 90s, nearly every sitcom had to be about a middle-class family with a conservative/abusive/angry father and a doting mother (Family Matters, The Simpsons and the not-at-all rapey Cosby Show). Eventually, that formula went away, but it was replaced with the current trope of sitcoms being about a group of twenty-somethings living or spending a lot of time together. One of the roommates is the dumb womanizer, another is the smart/awkward main guy, and of course, who can forget the archetype of ‘the girl’. Oh! and the smart/awkward guy and girl have an on-again off-again relationship (Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and The Big Bang Theory).
While it can certainly be argued that Love is in the air has some of the stereotypes of a modern-day sitcom, it is fundamentally different in several aspects. For one, the show is explicitly about one specific relationship, rather than the others listed which (technically) have another premise. Love me as if there were no tomorrow is different because it doesn’t beat around the bush.
OK, but enough about story, down to basics. What do I need to tell you about Love for you to remember the next time you invite someone over for Netflix and chill?
For one, the acting is… Well it’s not bad. Gillian Jacobs (Britta from Community) is definitely the best performance in the show, being simultaneously harsh, sad, flippant, jealous and a whole lot of other things. Paul Rust on the other hand… Again, he’s not bad, but you can tell his real talents lie in writing. Apart from the main characters, notable performances include Iris Apatow (teenage daughter of Judd) as troubled child star Arya and Claudia O’Doherty as Mickey’s Australian and sexually active (when are they not?)roommate.
The writing though. Despite numerous high points, it’s not perfect. While the writing of several jokey set pieces is on fleek (that’s what the kids say, right?), it can falter in one or two areas. Without spoiling anything, many have criticized the ending for being a bit against character. Speaking of, the character of Gus is mentioned to be a ‘fake nice guy’ (you know, the ‘nice guys’ who hold a door open for girls and think that makes them entitled to sex? Yeah, he’s one of those guys). While it is brought up once or twice, Gus is mostly portrayed as not so much a ‘nice guy’, but more of just generally awkward. On top of that, Gus is shown to have sex with several beautiful women in the show. Most of these episodes are written by show creator Lesley Arfin, who is Paul Rust’s (the actor of Gus) wife. So… yeah.
That last bit isn’t a criticism, just an awkward thing I noticed.
However, the feel of the show is something else entirely. Despite this being a Judd Apatow creation, the show feels remarkably sincere and honest. While some of the scenarios are otherworldly (a scene wherein Gus comments on the itchiness of his butt-hole being one) the characters come across as real, which is what makes them so relatable.
Overall, whilst Love the way you lie is not the best of sitcoms available on the red Shangri-La the benevolent Gods of TV have ordained us and named Netflix, it will certainly not hurt you like any of the bad shows no more. It is a shot of morphine in the bloated cancer-ridden genre that is the TV sitcom.
Love actually gets a 5.5/7