Netflix's Love season 2 episode 1 review: Like a Ross and Rachel for people who know better

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A second (and already commissioned third) season of Love is a hugely intriguing prospect as the first set the show up as a “will they or won’t they” in spite of the fact it’s palpable that the creators (Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Paul Rust) know life is messier than that and more often things end with a “they will but then they probably maybe won’t again for a bit or at least discuss the possibility of it and these anxieties about love will continue until death swallows them.”

12 new episodes dropped on Netflix this morning; I’ve only managed to catch the first one so far - partly down to workload, partly down to preferring to spend time with the characters from time to time rather than the binge the release method seems to encourage - which picked up after the excellent cliffhanger (two words that don’t usually go hand-in-hand, there) that saw Gus selfishly kiss Mickey as she tried to explain her somewhat selfishly self-diagnosed issues at a gas station.

It was a “fuck it, let’s just not think” act that was as damaging as it was romantic, and indeed the fallout in the first ep *obligatory spoiler warning* reflects this, with Mickey not looking to let a kiss just smooth over problems until they rupture again. Essentially, she just wants to go home and get in bed, with the rest of the episode turning into a kind of slacker farce as she tries to do so but is impeded by socially awkward hurdles she blows out of proportion like her roommate having sex (“I was just watching a TED Talk!”) and legitimately immobilising events like getting caught in a police cordon. 

Love treads quite a unique balance between comedy and drama in that it neither tries to be hugely comedic nor hugely dramatic, but still manages to grip you. Another paradox is how the shot composition and set design (the rooms are psychotically tidy) are quite unnatural and yet the show still feels very real.

It took me no time at all to embrace Gus and Mickey and full credit to Rust and Gillian Jacobs for their warm performances - you can feel the ‘I’ve been here too many times before’ coming off them as their characters elect to have a ‘big talk’ only to decide they don’t have the energy.

It’s no coincidence that Love, Joe Swanberg’s Easy and Donald Glover’s Atlanta have been three of my favourite shows of the past year - slower-paced narratives in an age all about acceleration and density of information - and it’s good to have the former and its shrugging simplicity back.