Amazon just released its new show, Modern Love, which is a visual retelling of the famous New York Times column by the same name. For years, New Yorkers told their stories of love in all its forms, and now their trials and tribulations are being retold for the screen.
Modern Love is all about the connections between people, and it really doesn’t need any comical relief to thrive (but Tina Fey and John Slaterry still deliver, of course). That’s what’s so special about this show—it confidently stands on its own because it has cemented itself in its addictive relatability.
Each episode centers on a different love story and beautifully showcases stories of romance in every stage of life. The lovers are complex and unapologetically themselves. They make mistakes. They’re just so real—it’s extremely refreshing. They’re New Yorkers whose storylines aren’t unattainable. After years of Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, we finally get a New York-centered show that isn’t just entertainment and escape. It’s a return to ourselves.
One episode explores a conversation between two almost-strangers—played by Sofia Boutella and John Gallagher Jr.— on the topics of anxiety, depression, insecurity and other heavy subjects not typically reserved for a second date. It’s raw and revealing and awkward. It’s real life– pure and unadulterated. It’s the kind of date that’s actually realistic.
And the people are just as relatable. Another episode starring Anne Hathaway centers on a bipolar woman who has shut everyone—friends, family, strangers—out of her life. It is a whirlwind that beautifully illustrates how crippled and alienated a mental disorder can make someone feel. Hathaway delivers a gripping portrayal that humanizes bipolar disorder for those who haven’t experienced it, and she illustrates that there is always more to a person’s outward persona. The show is a moving reminder to be open with yourself and others, even if your shield has become a part of you. Don’t write people off after one bad date, and be patient. You may get hurt, but the show proves that people can surprise you.
Still, as sincere as the show may be with character’s storylines, it’s important to point out that this show does follow the NYC-centered plot formula of placing mostly white characters in posh, spacious apartments and granting them comfortable lifestyles. Obviously, that’s not something the average person can relate to, and it would have been refreshing to see more diversity in the show.
In the way of human connection, though, Modern Love—cheesy as it sounds—is a restoration of faith in humanity. It proves that friendship can come from the unlikeliest of people and relationships can form in the face of all odds. It may be a reminder that’s difficult to swallow, but its sappiness might make it go down just a little bit smoother. Stay open to people, and to this show.