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.

We join our daring heroes as they embark on their latest quest, that of the dreaded *cues dramatic, foreboding music* first text.

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After snagging Mickey’s number, Gus cycles through a few choices before going with the very chill, laidback, “sup?” But as Mickey is about to respond, she rear ends the guy in front of her, distracting her from the task (text) at hand. So far, Love has taken a hyperrealistic approach to falling into its namesake, and this is no different. It’s like watching an anti-whirlwind affair. They spent one afternoon together–they’re not going to be hyper-vigilant about responding to text messages (well, Mickey isn’t, at least). And while Gus does ask a couple acquaintances if he made the right move in his word choice, he’s got real decisions to worry over. They’re autonomous people, dealing with their lives to the best of their abilities. Which aren’t all that great, to be honest.

Both Mickey and Gus get fucked at work, in very different ways. For the sake of a production schedule, Gus cheats on a state exam for the possibly-illiterate Aria. Mickey, in a bid to keep her job after a string of women have been fired, has sex with Dr. Greg to secure her position–learning that Dr. Greg really just thought they had something, in an unrealistic 180 degree turn from his earlier demeanor. Gus and Mickey make decisions that don’t necessarily sit well with their moral compasses, and both Gus and Mickey are more alike than we’ve seen before–they’re both a little bit fucked up.

The two stories fall apart in their conclusions. It’s unclear whether Aria uses Gus to help her cheat because she’s a normal, manipulative child–or if she really is upset that her only friend is a 30-something tutor, and Gus makes a mistake in helping her cheat, when she so clearly shouldn’t be on set anymore. Ambiguity is fine, except in this case it matters. If she really is lonely and overworked, then Gus’s decision is borderline irresponsible, even if he thinks it’s kind. If she’s manipulating him, then it proves that he’s someone that can be manipulated. And Dr. Greg, whether he really means it when he says there’s something special about Mickey, steps over a millions lines with the conversation in the break room. It’s possible that the two leads are at the same end of the moral gray area: if Gus commits a purely selfish act helping Aria cheat, he’s just as reprehensible as Mickey (even if her actions are technically “meaner.”)

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All said, it’s not like there’s a good choice for either one to make. It’s just…that time in life when things seem unnecessarily shitty, all the time. But hey, it’s all worth it for that first text back.

Grade: B

Random Thoughts:

  • “I will masturbate to this though, for sure.” A subscription to Daily Burn on Hulu is probably cheaper than most subscription sites.
  • Oh snap is Gus listening to himself in the car? At therapy? Oh no.
  • The first time a guy my age called me over to look at Vine videos over his shoulder was the first time I ever thought “Oh, I’m way too much older than this guy to sleep with him without it being some sort of crime.”
  • I would watch a Frozen with Ildris and Susan.
  • “Worse. He likes me.” “Oh no, no,no,no..” Bobby Lee and I share the same reaction to love/hugs.
  • Today, Mike Mitchell is the true Doughboy.
  • Let Gus pitch some ideas! “Calling upon the dead” is a solid spitball.
  • Dr. Greg (my hero and classically trained thespian, Brett Gelman) gives good advice. Better than most of Dr. Drew’s that I listened to on Loveline while DDing people home from parties throughout high school.
  • Mickey forced Dr. Greg to come is the sequel to Lean In
  • Gus reading the state exam problem in disbelief: “…2 apples… What the fuck?”

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