Welcome to The A.V. Club’s Love binge-watch. From Friday, February 19 through Sunday, February 21, A.V. Club contributor Shelby Fero will be watching and reviewing every episode of Netflix’s new romantic comedy. You can watch and comment along with her here, or chime in on the individual episode reviews. For those watching the show at a more moderate pace, reviews by Molly Eichel will run daily starting Monday, February 22.

Hey, real quick Q here from Ol’ Shelbaroni here: Is Mickey crazy, or is she me anytime I’ve ever liked a boy in the past? Let’s get supes real, mah dudes (can you tell I’m not big on sincerity): Without going into detail, I have had some bad relationships in the past (Google “anxious-avoidant style relationships” for more detail), with people whom I’d like to totally write off as the “wrong” one so that I can spare myself any culpability in the inevitable crash and burn. Like Mickey, I’ve sailed through “serious” milestones without blinking an emotional eye, only to find myself spiraling out over someone who suddenly couldn’t care about me less. Whatever the underlying cause is–ego, guilt, clinical depression, maybe?–the object of your affection is that: an object. An object that you feel like you need to live. Like any high, it’s impossible to see how pathologically fucked things are until you sober up.

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Be it causation (artists are all crazy!) or correlation (this is how it really is!), media doesn’t usually paint “true love” with the most measured of hands, so that “love” in a movie almost never parallels stable, healthy “love” in the real world. Instead, this sort of hyper-focused obsession is painted as romantic–noble, even. Everyone swoons when Gosling stays waiting for McAdams in that house for like five years of The Notebook, as if that isn’t the creepiest thing ever. So when Mickey tricks Bertie into going on a studio tour so that she can maybe, kind of, totally accidentally bump into Gus, it makes sense. When she wanders into the school trailer, acquainting herself with Arya to embed herself in Gus’s life further, it’s the logical next step. Even Bertie’s infuriated exit can’t shake Mickey’s resolve.

Gus vocalizes why her actions aren’t ok, but Mickey states her case, claiming that–if Gus really liked her for her–he would find all she’s done endearing. It’s sort of true. If everything works out with them, Mickey’s actions are cute. If they don’t, she’s a stalker. Gus fights dirty, combining honest anxieties with vitriolic rhetoric to wound. He argues that Mickey’s using him as a safety blanket; she’s taking a detour down a safe, suburban sidewalk to convince herself she belongs there. Just because she’s willing to fuck up her life, it doesn’t mean she has to fuck up his. He’s half-right; Mickey does need to contend with her sex and love addiction before committing to another relationship. But Love isn’t interested in clear heroes and villains: As we’ve seen, Mickey’s actively working towards adulthood, while Gus has regressed from a boring nice guy to a philandering prick. When Mickey screams “I’m not crazy!” in Gus’s face, she’s not right, but she’s not wrong either.

Grade: A-

Random Thoughts:

  • O, please, dear friends! Guide me to shore; for the “Love (2016)“ IMDB page has cast me adrift. Who plays Susan’s nephew? He kills as the showrunner’s nephew slash crafty intern. Give the man a three picture deal for his performance! Also, “Arya” is spelled “Aria” so take that, one very polite commenter on an earlier review!
  • I love how the couple of “capital ‘r’ capital ‘f’” Red Flags that pop up with Bertie and her new beau, Randy, are brushed aside. O’Doherty gives her “Oh really?”s just enough muted panic.
  • Foolish security guard thinks Mickey won’t notice the giant open gate because he’s closed this tiny one in her face? Pathetic.

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