My relationship with Judd Apatow's work is a complicated one. On one hand, Freaks and Geeks got me through high school and The 40 Year Old Virgin was hilarious. On the other, Girls and Knocked Up both made me want to swear off TV and film forever and live in a cave. Basically, I either love him or hate him. When it comes to Love, his new Netflix series, I went in totally blind. What you're about to read is a live account of my first viewing. Strap in.
The first thing I noticed about Episode 1, "It Begins,” was that the characters look and dress like actual people. In a world of series where even the prisoners have perfect makeup (don't worry, Orange is the New Black, I still love you), this was incredibly refreshing. I let my guard down a little, feeling less bad about being unbathed and still wearing my pajamas at 1:07 p.m. And it makes sense. The show's whole premise is about realistic characters tackling the dating world in semi-realistic ways.
The following three or so minutes live up to my expectations: one couple cheerfully discusses what area rugs to buy when they move in together while another has hate sex at what looks to be about 3 a.m. Once again, this could go either way.
A jump forward in the timeline reveals that Mr. and Ms. Hate Sex are still, regrettably, together, which I can't say I didn't expect. It's always the worst couples that last the longest. Mr. Hate Sex, whose name is actually Eric, lives with his mom and has a cocaine habit, which further alienates his girlfriend, who Wikipedia has informed me is named Mickey.
Gus, the male half of the area rug couple who now completely owns my heart, is having problems of his own. In one of the most realistic breakup scenes I've seen in a long time, he and his girlfriend call it quits. He moves out on his own soon after and tried to convince himself the bachelor life is going to be just fine. What follows is a four-person train wreck involving pants, disc golf, and a whole lot of crying alone.
Overall, Love gets off to a promising start. The performances are thoroughly entertaining, a worthy successor to Freaks and Geeks. The show is introspective without patting itself on the back too much, which is a trap that some of the current "look how realistic we are" shows tend to fall into. It's not the best Netflix original I've ever seen, but that might just be due to its simple premise. It's entertaining and fun, but a little uninspired- personally, I've seen a few shows and movies that promised to "change the way you think about love!" But I still pretty much think about love in the same way I always have. Then again, the show is still young, and a lot can happen over another season. I suggest you stay tuned in to Love, even if you're only using it as background noise.