I write this in frustration, vigour and of course with complete love. I witnessed one of the greatest and truest romance series of all-time come to end yesterday. And even though bitterness and sorrow is manifesting within me, it doesn’t take away from the beauty created by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust. All good things come to an end, and I think that’s the beauty of Love. We need to appreciate what we have and make the most of it before it withers away. Don’t waste your life regretting the moments you didn’t cherish and don’t lament the gifts life bestows upon you. Embrace your true love for all their imperfections and deficiencies, because it doesn’t come along very often.
This article is a review and dissection of three years of a perfect imperfection. I will explore the relationship dynamics of Mickey and Gus, the supporting cast which acted as misfit toys (something I am sure Gillian is used, having worked on Community), the soundtrack and hopefully I will provide you enough evidence for you begin watching it or maybe re-watch it.
The Attraction of Love
I know you guys don’t want to hear about my life, but please just indulge me for a few paragraphs? It’s Saturday night and I’m taking a break from my University studies to write an article; I clearly have no friends!
The first series my lovely girlfriend and I watched was Master of None. We connected over the realistic characters, infusion of ethnic cultures and of course the leading man being a brown dude – much like how I am a brown dude! But I digress; we were looking for another show to watch together on Netflix. I found Love, watched the first 5 minutes and texted her screaming that I found our next visual adventure.
I had no idea of the journey we would be embarking upon over the next week.
I become emotionally connected to the two protagonists, played by the stupendous Gillian Jacobs and the charming Paul Rust. See Gillian Jacob’s character, Mickey, was reminiscent of my ex-girlfriend and Paul Rust’s character, Gus, reminded me of myself. That is not a humble brag by any means, for the worst qualities exhibited by both characters were the things that were hauntingly familiar. I will examines those qualities in the next section, however the flaws that both these characters had were extremely appealing. Not just on a personal level, but as avid analysts of television shows.
My girlfriend and I found ourselves shouting at the laptop for every terrible decision made by the protagonists, and swooning every time they made the correct one. The debate over the show was essential to the development of our relationship. Although I could sense she felt I was over-critical of Mickey because of my past, and I was vicariously living through the television show. My ex-girlfriend was a huge part of my life. When I was alone and isolated, she was my best-friend and inspiration. However I just want to tell my girlfriend to know, if she’s reading, the love and care I have for you overwhelms me. The thought that you may suffer pain from my actions or words terrifies me. You don’t need to worry about my past, because you’re a part of my future.
Mickey and Gus-Gus
Mickey is a selfish and manipulative individual that has an inclination to become dependent on alcohol, drugs and love. She consumes both at an alarming rate, and repeatedly presses the self-destruction button on her happiness. This was true of her past relationships, and in some instances, her relationship with Gus. However Mickey is adventurous, spontaneous and beautiful and as the show develops you sympathise with her plight as you understand her demons. Mickey is a beautifully flawed character, whose realistic demeanour implores the audience to feel exhausted. Bravo Ms Jacobs for a brilliant three-dimensional performance.
Gus, on the other hand, is a neurotic, people-pleasing control freak. He seeks everyone’s approval, a trait which makes him a beloved friend, hated co-worker and spineless partner. However he evolved throughout the show, while retaining his neurotic tendencies, because of the influence of Mickey. Gus describes himself as macaroni. He states that the first few bites are great, but after a few more you get sick of the taste and want to discard the meal. This simile is a perfect example of Gus’s character, but underneath it all he is a loyal and caring man, with high aspirations in life.
These two characters are almost entirely antithetical to each other, however this balances out the relationship. A relationship is a partnership, and if you both possess too many similar attributes then the relationship will struggle to adapt and escalate. That’s my experience anyway, I am sure others do not subscribe to this theory. Nevertheless this is exactly why the relationship between Gus and Mickey is perfect. Individually these characters are obnoxious and infuriating, however as a collective they balance each other out. It’s a simplistic premise, but excellently executed from the writers and the actors. They bring out the best in each other, and challenge each other to be better, and that is the underlying effect of true love.
This relationship on its own is so intense and powerful, that’s why the peripheral characters are so important. They bring levity and a dysfunctional comparison to the central relationship (Mickey and Gus’s) dynamic. Bertie, Chris, Randy, Truman, Kevin, Arya and Dr Greg (among others) add tantalising sub-plots that you wish were further explored. That may be the biggest disappointment of the series; the lack of time dedicated to the supporting characters. So for the purposes of article length I will quickly summarise the importance of the key characters and what they bring to the show:
- Bertie – A charming, loyal and unbelievably kind individual, whose positivity makes her the most endearing character on the show. If you don’t root for Bertie’s happiness, then are you even an Australian?
- Chris – Next to Bertie as the most loveable character on the show. He is the ultimate friend. You can sense that the people that Chris cares about are very lucky individuals. His positivity gives the audience comedic relief, and his naivety makes him the cutest human puppy dog ever!
- Randy – The personification of awkwardness is what describes Randy affluently. However there are no bad intentions in the body of Randy, and for that reason the audience wants him to be happy. But not at the expensive of their sensibilities. However I am team Randy until I die!
- Truman - We all have that one friend who we only smoke weed with. We don’t know about their family or their dreams, but we know their thoughts on 9/11 and how the Olsen twins are secretly Russian spies. That’s Truman.
- Dr Greg – A narcissistic, sadistic pathological liar that acts as a support guide for the greater Los Angeles area on his talk-show. Maybe the biggest antagonist on the show (apart from ALL of Mickey’s exes). A great villain who is brilliantly portrayed by Brett Gelman.
I wish I had enough space to discuss Kevin, Arya and Ruby who, in the words of Mickey, can barely speak! But these characters should either entice you to watch the show, or make you disagree with my description.
Soundtrack of a Modern Romance
Every good television show has a great soundtrack attached to it. The same notion applies to movies, in my opinion. It’s not a necessity, but it adds another exciting element to the entertainment. For instance Suits, One Tree Hill and Luther are 3 different conceptual television shows. But each show uses music to invoke greater emotionality from the audience. Wes Anderson uses the same technique in the modern masterpiece that is The Royal Tenenbaums. Love is no different to these television shows, regardless of what your opinion is to the quality of the formers.
When Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Modern Romance hits, you instantly apply the dystopian and morbid lyrics of the song to the situation. Now there is a clear correlation between the music and the scene. That is a powerful sentiment which adds to the visual pleasure of the episode but also develops the character’s (Mickey and Gus’s) relationship too.
Other artists featured throughout the show are: Beck, Eels, Fidlar, Karen O, Paul McCartney & The Wings, Chance the Rapper and Bleachers.
Now I understand if you think that I am speaking in hyperbole when I describe the immensity of the show. However I guarantee you that Love will keep you entertained and make you conflicted towards the characters and yourself. Buy or borrow your friends Netflix’s account and watch a modern romance unfold in front of your eyes. True love will find us all in the end, but in the meantime… Enjoy Mickey and Gus’s love.
Goodnight and good luck.