What About Love? Reflecting on the Netflix Show as It Comes to a Close

I am someone who appreciates art which can so accurately produce the illusion of reality, that it almost doesn’t seem constructed. There is something about a creator picking up on the most subtle details of human nature and day-to-day life and incorporating those details into their art that is so satisfying to me. This talent of observation is reflected in Judd Apatow’s television series, Love, which aired its final season recently on Netflix.

The series follows two characters, Mickey and Gus, as they navigate their way through life and ultimately develop a relationship with one another after they meet at a gas station. The show is refreshing and entertaining because it is so low-key and doesn't succumb to the temptation of extreme storylines in order to produce drama; rather, while it does show the significant parts of the characters lives, it also includes moments of insignificance to make the characters’ lives look natural. When a character is texting someone, a previous exchange of texts already exists in the conversation, as it would. This is just one small example of the dedication Love has to feeling true to life.



Though the show is called “Love” and feels a bit meta because it takes place in Los Angeles—and particularly because of how the characters and situations at Gus’ job on a film set reflect various real-life prototypes of the entertainment industry—it never felt like a show about dating in L.A.; it really just felt like a show about people. While that may be an infuriating statement, as there are so many nuances and relevant identity markers that must be considered when generalizing “people” (especially because Mickey and Gus are straight, white, relatively well-off Americans) the focus of Love for the past two seasons was always on the two characters as individuals, rather than defining them by the other.



The first season took the time to establish Mickey and Gus as people, showing the viewer each character going about their day-to-day lives and revealing certain things the other doesn’t (and never will) know about each other. They go through the beginning stages of not-quite-dating and leave their relationship status on an open-ended cliffhanger in the finale.



The second season showed Gus and Mickey figuring out how to be together, learn things about each other, fight, make up, and decide to love each other despite everything. Though they are together, the second season’s purpose seemed to be to highlight each character’s personalities by showing how they act in their relationship, which got pretty messy. The third season, however, did something different: it let Gus and Mickey, for the most part, be happy.



In almost any other TV show, a genuinely happy and healthy couple as the central focus would be boring, but because Love has never depended on over the top or cinematic excitement to maintain the viewer’s interest, it’s actually very endearing to just watch this ordinary couple. Though Mickey and Gus do have a few fights this season, most of the episodes begin and end with their relationship stable.



Of course, there’s only so much you can do with a happy couple. In the first two seasons, Mickey and Gus were the priority for storytelling, the secondary characters merely accessories in their individual lives. This season, however, an entire episode was dedicated to following Mickey’s adorable Australian roommate, Bertie, on her birthday. The viewer gets to know Bertie on a deeper level because Mickey isn’t around to influence her behaviour, thus allowing her to seem like a real and identifiable person to us.



Because the minor characters were given more room to develop this season, we saw less of Mickey and Gus, which turned out to be for the best. I always despised Gus as a character, but this season, I found myself not only tolerating him but actually liking him because he wasn’t always in my face, which made watching him and Mickey be happy together make me all the more happy for them.

Love is a rare find. Hardly any other show can follow the lives of regular people experiencing regular things and make you want to keep watching, but that’s what makes Love so, if you will, loveable.