LOVE LIFE is back! Last year, this overlooked show was released as HBO Max was launched and got lost in the shuffle. It was rom-com with a sense of realism that made it instantly bingable. However, the first season didn’t entirely work since it put Anna Kendrick in the lead role of Darby, a twenty-something looking for love in NYC with the support of her friends. Her comedy mannerisms and tropes felt too familiar and gave the show a sense of “seeing it” one too many times before.
In comes the second season with Marcus Watkins, played by the underutilized William Jackson Harper in a star-making performance. Marcus Watkins is married to Emily (Maya Kazan), and their relationship has gone stale. I mean, it’s to the point Marcus plays a podcast to help Emily fall asleep (if you’ve been married, you’ll get this accurate reference). The audience, along with Marcus and Emily, gets the vibe the end is near. More importantly, Marcus doesn’t feel like he can be himself, which has led him to dabble in emotional affairs. But, of course, an emotional affair isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker until you get caught.
As I watched Marcus make these mistakes, it reminded me of my first marriage (don’t get married in your twenties, kids). Something hit me, and at some point in time, I just couldn’t be myself. The life I imagined with my partner felt like I was living someone else’s life (cue the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime.”). I had friends like Yogi (Christopher Powell) telling me to go home to my wife. At the end of it, I learned the same lesson as Marcus – “staying in a dead relationship only delays your happiness.”
Thank you, LOVE LIFE, for being a show so honest that it had me reminisce on my mistakes and even more thankful for my current married life. It’s a refreshing rom-com that deserves the current 100% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Accomplishing a happy ending/forever after in real life is brutal. However, achieving it in a rom-com movie or TV show is usually easy. In LOVE LIFE, the journey to happiness is difficult, making it all the more rewarding as a viewing experience on HBO Max.