Love is not dead

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I have a very intense relationship with the Netflix series Love. One night in 2016, I put it on, not knowing what to expect. Before I knew it, it was 6:00 a.m. and I’d gone through the whole first season. The same thing happened the year after, then again this year, which sadly sees the release of the final season. I adore this show; it’s a wonderful depiction of two broken people trying to find the best in themselves and each other. It’s a bumpy road, but it’s not as pessimistic as some other similar shows. You don’t have to be perfect to be happy, you just have to try to be better — that’s the overall message of the show, at least to me.

This season has much less emphasis on issues in Mickey and Gus’ relationship, apart from a few important scenes. For the most part, in fact, they seem to be pretty happy. The dumb arguments never go away, but we’re not at the point anymore where every fight threatens to break them apart. That’s not to say that it’s all hunky dory; the central relationship of the show is largely smooth sailing, but Gus is falling apart, more so than in previous seasons. They’re both in therapy (which, weirdly, is mentioned in episode one and then never again), which seems to be helping Mickey a lot. Gus, less so.

He’s always been insufferably paranoid, as well as kind of a pretentious jerk, but his frequent anger-related freak outs in season three create an almost unbearable tension. His manic breakdowns, juxtaposed with scenes of him putting on a perfectly happy face for Mickey, make you wonder when it’s all going to come crashing down. But it never really does, the tone is a little more uplifting this season (perhaps a byproduct of knowing that it’s their last), which is nice, but these darker undertones are still set up in the early episodes, only to never really go anywhere. There are places where it gets dark (the end of episode 10, for example), but in every case, there’s an easy fix that cheapens the show overall. There’s one too many generic tropes being used to make sure the ending is happy. It feels a little unearned, which dampens the mood of the final episode, but doesn’t stop it from being completely satisfying.

There’s still great stuff here, though. Pretty much all of the scenes with the child actors on Gus’ show are great; they do some fantastic stuff with them this year (though it’s a shame to see less of Tracie Thoms’ Susan. Bertie is great this year too, as is Chris, the purest, most adorable man on the face of the planet. Everyone around Gus and Mickey has a great arc this season. Actually, Gus and Mickey have great arcs on their own as well; it’s just their relationship that’s dull. Gus decides to make a short film, which is about as tumultuous as you’d expect. Mickey, however, is much more fascinating this year, since the first two seasons have been about her flaws and addictions, struggling to be better but never quite getting there. The Mickey of this season is on top of her game. She’s sober, she’s doing well at her job, she’s even making things work with Gus (who, as previously mentioned, is even worse this season). Apart from a few understandable, forgivable moments of rebellion, Mickey is a good and functional person in season three. The problem is, she’s constantly let down by all the people around her. There’s no moment in this season where she says the wrong thing or ruins a great night. There are, however, plenty of moments where Gus fully expects her too. And there are plenty more where Mickey’s good time gets ruined by someone else, be it her coworkers, roommates, or boyfriend. Out of everyone on the show, Mickey gets the most to work with this season, and she stands out in every single scene.

This is why the show stands out for me. This is why, in spite of the narrative blunders and all-too-easy ending, I will continue to adore this show — Gillian Jacobs. She sells every line of dialogue, every curt look, every single moment of screen time. Even when script and story line fail her, Gillian Jacobs is a diamond in the rough, never lackluster or lazy, always everything the show needs her to be. She was fun in Community, but her work on Love has proven to me that she is one of the greatest actresses working today. My biggest take away from this blunderous, hit-and-miss show, is that I want great things to happen for Gillian Jacobs. At times, this show didn’t deserve her talents, but she deserved this opportunity to let them shine. Please, hire Gillian Jacobs and put her in all of your things. I don’t care what you’re making, cast her. Support everything she’s in and support her. She’s one huge role away from becoming the most successful woman in Hollywood and she deserves all that and more.

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