Love is Best the 3rd Time Around

Love 2(1)


Say “Bon Voyage” to Love

In the third and final installment of Netflix’s Love, the satirical Judd Apatow joint comes to an anticipated fruition. In the closing season, amorous questions will be answered, character developments are tested and subplots surely may rise. Most of all, the series’ idiosyncratic ideas on intimacy have lastingly shone through like a bittersweet LA sunset — going down on a fading yet tangible dream of monogamy in the City of Angels.

Along with Apatow, Love husband-and-wife co-creators Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust have thrice woven a hipster’s fairytale dramedy that might leave some questioning their own relationship status. The third chapter pulls no punches, as significant others, Gus (Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) must brave the rigid runway of commitment. Weekend getaways, sickness, social obligations, exes, and meeting the family are just a few of the issues examined to help find out if the happy couple has what it takes to go the distance.

30-something romance is not all that exciting in real life . . . and it isn’t necessarily enthralling to watch in Love, either. But the adoring ties that bind between Mickey and Gus aren’t what this show is truly about — it’s once more an honest-to-goodness character study of two lost souls who’ve found each other, despite their respective life hurdles. An urban hymn for discovering something tender amidst walls of a recurring concrete jungle, it blurts the out-and-out warfare of battling addiction, fighting one’s inner-most childish demons and taking the emotional path of least resistance.

Mickey, in particular, has overcome most of the intrinsic peccadilloes which plagued her in the previous storylines. Regularly attending her support group meetings and steadily climbing the professional ladder, she seems to be getting her act together. Whereas Gus has now taken over as the resident struggler, coming to terms with his anger problems and compulsive lying to those around him who care most. He is put to task when he finally introduces Mickey to his family in South Dakota at his parents’ anniversary party — where we also get to see the layers of Gus’s proverbial onion peeled back — exposing his origins of humiliation upon first moving to Hollywood. As usual, Rust does a bang-up job encapsulating a budding auteur trying to make it in the business, hence his duplicitous underbelly.

Supporting characters also continue to play a crucial part in the last hoorah of the show — most especially Bertie, brilliantly portrayed by the Australian comic Claudia O’Doherty. Her hysterical nonchalance creates a show-stopping arc worthy of an entire episode dedicated to Bertie on her birthday. It’s blatant that Rust, Arfin, and Apatow thought her acting chops worthy enough to carve out a special nook in the season, in which Bertie wrestles in her own relationship with Randy (Mike Mitchell) and ongoing flirtatiousness from Chris (Chris Witaske). Strong elements like O’Doherty’s ability to be the complacent roommate/ girlfriend, yet quickly pivot into the foul-mouthed hothead Aussie (looking for her own piece of the American dream), drive Love down all the right alleys.

Despite it being Netflix’s call to end this Tinseltown yarn in act three, the writers still leave something to be desired for the ballad of Gus and Mickey. The honeymooning phase never got boring and the showrunners thoroughly piqued your curiosity enough to keep you pondering what a fictitious future holds for the couple. Most likely it has what’s in store for anyone in reality: Lot’s of compromise, sacrifice and works to hold the hot glue of affection tightly together.

Love indubitably does what it originally set out to do — it provides a flawed roadmap for the faint of heart, outlining when and where to take that daunting leap for the one you’re keen on. Albeit, the rom-com nature of the show prevails, it comes off palpably droll enough to buy into. Deeply it delves into the floundering urbanites inquest for romantic normalcy with a dry finesse. It proves that warm and fuzzy feelings don’t always seal the deal; the percentage we pay is always going to be high-priced in the name of “love.”

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