Before I get into the swing on reviewing the second season of Netflix’s Love, I would take a moment to point out that this season took a couple of jabs at the city of Atlanta (where I have since been living in for half a year now). To even the score, I thought I’d start out with my own little jab at the city Los Angeles.
“There was this one time I wasn’t paying attention while walking, and I managed to cut my foot on some broken glass. When I looked around, I was shocked to realize that I had somehow walked my way into a garbage dump, with diapers, rusty scraps of metal and broken bottles scattered around all me. But it was then I remembered I hadn’t gone to a garbage dump, I was just walking along a Los Angeles beach.”
Yeah, take that Judd Apatow.
Love is a Netflix original series produced and created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin. Picking up immediately after the events of season one, Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) have found themselves with one another again, but not knowing where to go from here. Mickey is determined to keep out of a relationship for a year to get her life together, but can’t help but want to be around Gus all the time. Gus, in turn, wants to help Mickey keep her sobriety, but occasionally uses it as an excuse to ignore his own problems. They’re both just trying to navigate a messy world, but find themselves unwilling to do it without the other. As the saying goes, love is never so simple.
Much like the first season, it’s all about how well the two leads carry this romantic drama/comedy along together, and it’s thankfully no different here in season two. Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs make for a great pair of “opposites attracting” in the hustling world of smoggy Los Angeles. We explore both of their lives together and apart, and honestly the best thing about the series Love as a whole is how genuine it all feels. Gus and Mickey’s relationship feels like a real one, a messy, hectic but tender interaction between two fragile people that are just trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities. You won’t always sympathize with their actions, heck, poor decisions by the characters are what make up a good chunk of the narrative in season two, but you’ll be hooked into it all regardless of how much you want to slap the characters and say “Don’t be stupid!”
However, it’s not just Gus and Mickey that get more world exploration, as there are a plethora of background characters, such as Mickey’s roommate Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty) and her boyfriend Randy (Mike Mitchell) that get plenty of screen time as well, and their stories mostly make for good subplot humor. The episode that best showcases all these characters coming together is episode four “Shrooms,” where Gus, Bertie and Randy decide to take mushrooms together and Mickey acts as their “drug guide.” It’s honestly one of the best episodes of the series altogether, packed full of funny gags throughout and just enough dramatic moments to keep the story flowing.
The only real negative season two has going for itself is how the series doesn’t always know how to handle its themes. For example, the first episode has Mickey clearly state “I don’t want a relationship for one year.” Okay, fair enough, so why is she always hanging out with Gus, having sex with him, and spending most of her days with him? I honestly thought they were dating, until some dialogue in the last episode revealed otherwise. It was a bit jarring and confusing, but to be fair, that is how most relationships seem to go. And believe me, this isn’t a series for everyone. There’s plenty of jokes about drugs, sex, alcoholism, you name it, it’s here. You really have to be into the whole “romantic drama” genre from the beginning to really appreciate what Love is going for. If you’re not already a convert, season two definitely won’t change your mind.
Overall, the second season of Netflix’s Love does exactly what a follow-up should do, improve the formula without altering too much of what made it so interesting to watch in the first place. Gus and Mickey’s rocky relationship is easily one of the more interesting romantic dramas that Netflix has to offer, and if you haven’t gotten around to binge watching the first season, I recommend you get started. In fact, this feels like the best kind of series to grab your partner and sit down together to watch. You’ll both appreciate the highs and lows of it all, and it just might help you reflect a bit on how far you both have come. The second season of Love offers enough improvement on its bittersweet romantic drama and humor, and will keep Netflix binge-watchers hooked from beginning to end.