A completely messy portrayal of “Love”
Extraordinarily lethargic and delirious after a night of too much Ambien and breaking up with her drug-addict ex-boyfriend for the umpteenth time, Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) has her first encounter with an equally hungover and heartbroken Gus (Paul Rust) in a mini-mart.
Netflix’s new series, “Love,” aimlessly wanders through the lives of “nice guy” Gus and “cool girl” Mickey, yet these characters prove to be far more complex than their clichés. Right off the bat, Gus’s “nice guy” attitude is slapped in the face after he offers to buy Mickey’s coffee and cigarettes at the mini-mart, to which she replies, “Don’t be a f—ing hero.”
With his awkwardly-proportioned facial features and quirky hobby of writing theme songs for movies that don’t already have them, Gus is a clear oddball.
His problem is that he has labeled himself as the guy that every girl should feel bad for, which continually backfires at him. Proclaiming to be a nice guy doesn’t automatically earn Gus the title—in fact he proves to be quite a jerk.
At one point he even tells Mickey that he’s not just some nice guy she can have sex with in order to make her feel like she’s getting her life together. He continues to yell at her and says, “Just because you’re O.K. with f—ing up your life doesn’t mean you can come in here and f—up my life.”
Mickey’s “cool girl” attitude is no more genuine than Gus’s “nice guy” façade. Continuingly battling addiction throughout the series, Mickey’s character is far more cynical and self-destructive than Gus wants to believe.
In the first episode, Mickey clearly expresses her pessimistic view on love.
“You said earlier that if you ask for love, the world will send you love back,” she says. “But I’ve been asking and asking, and I haven’t gotten f—ing anything. Hoping and waiting and wishing and wanting love…hoping for love has f—ing ruined my life.”
The series continues for 10 episodes at a frustratingly slow rate, which made binge-watching slightly difficult at times. It seems that each time the characters find themselves together, one of them manages to screw things up completely. Despite its title, the show displays the most unromantic view on love, focusing on the confusing and infuriating side of opening up your heart.
Even when the unstable duo attempt to have a romantic night at Gus’s favorite fancy magic show, Mickey manages to insult the performance and curse out the security officers before being kicked out.
The cycle of ups and downs between Gus and Mickey continue to rotate until they both explode their emotions that they have been shoving away. Mickey tells Gus what he has needed to hear the entire series: “You pretend to be nice…I am who I am. I’m not pretending to be anything.”
Portrayed with a grungy vibe and an excessive amount of cursing, “Love” ends with Gus and Mickey meeting up at the exact gas station mini-mart they first saw each other. Both characters begin to realize they each have their own issues to figure out before ever having a normal relationship. Even a pair of unstable people can’t fix each other; they both have to do that on their own.
At least each of them can be reassured that they are just as messed up as the other.
“Dude, I am the queen of eating s—,” Mickey comforts Gus. “You should never be embarrassed.”