Content warning: alcohol and sex addiction.
The show that seems to continuously beg the question “why are these two characters even together?” has returned. Love, written by Judd Apatow is a show about 21st century love and all of its horribly awkward intricacies. Its two protagonists Mickey and Gus are hopelessly attracted to each other for reasons unclear even to them.
Season Three of the show picks up where the previous season ended. Mid-kiss as Mickey confesses her array of ailments – addiction to alcohol, drugs and sex. The first and second seasons followed the messy, volatile and adorable arch of Mickey and Gus’s relationship. The third season however encompasses a larger subject matter; Gus and Mickey, Mickey’s Australian roommate Bertie’s love triangle, and other minor characters’ relationships.
Love is incredibly honest. Watching the on-screen relationship is like watching your own. The creators of the show don’t shy away from awkward encounters, they embrace them. Just as we are ready to abandon the show because we’ve seen one too many intense arguments and the characters have made one too many mistakes, we’re pulled back in again by their uncanny realness.
The show’s biggest issue though is the shameless glamorisation of Mickey’s addictions. Effortlessly cool and always dressed in vintage, she is also a chain-smoker, recovering alcoholic and has severe commitment issues. While the show tries to emphasise Mickey’s struggle to quit smoking and leave alcohol behind, the aesthetics of her entire image somehow overshadows this. Leather boots and trendy t-shirts command more attention than the fact that smoking kills.
While there are instances in which the audience are faced with repercussions of Mickey’s alcoholism and sexual addiction, such as when she has intense and violent altercations with ex-boyfriends, addiction still looks good on Mickey. A combination of costume and writing means that we still want to dress, walk and talk like her. But Mickey is severely hindered socially and has an all-you-can-eat buffet of issues, which are heavily downplayed.
There is something to be said for the nuance of Love’s portrayal of addiction. Not every addict reaches ‘rock-bottom’, as Hollywood often has us believe. Mickey is a functioning addict, who keeps her job, and her house and car. Her addiction only causes her problems when it renders her incapable of having honest and meaningful relationships with others.
Gus, on the other hand, is a seemingly vanilla variety person. He goes to work, cares about rules and calls his mother on a regular basis. However, across the seasons, various interesting patterns arise the longer we know him. Gus seems to have a bit of an issue with lying for instance. The writers of the show have done an excellent job of building the relationship between the protagonists in the same way personal relationships play out – gradually, you learn more about that person.
Each episode is compacted to feel like a mini indie film, and are entirely binge worthy at 20 minutes apiece. So take a chance on Love!
Image: Nietjuh via Pixabay