Season 1, Episodes 1-3
When HBO MAX released today, I was excited to subscribe to see all the content it has to offer. There are many films such as every ‘Harry Potter’ film to ‘Lord of the Rings’ with shows such as ‘Friends’ or ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’. I was astounded to see so much content at once, especially the “Max Originals.” While it may not have a lot to offer, I did notice one new original that peaked my interest. That show was ‘Love Life’.
‘Love Life’, created by Sam Boyd, is a rom-com anthology series that stars a new character trying to find love each season. Season one focuses on Darby Carter (Anna Kendrick), a woman in her twenties as she navigates multiple jobs and romance across New York City. The series starts taking place in 2012, with Darby living with three roommates, her impetuous best friend Sara (Zoë Chao), Sara’s boyfriend Jim (Peter Vack), and her straightforward friend Mallory (Sasha Compère). We follow her over the years encounting each different love interest as she gets closer to her “soulmate.”
Before I go into my thoughts on all 3 episodes, I’d like to go into my opinion on the “romantic comedy” genre. Usually, I watch rom-coms at most because they can be hilariously bad. It’s fun for me to see how generic and vanilla they come most of the time. Now I’m not saying all rom-coms are bad, there’s some genuinely fantastic rom-coms such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, or my personal favorite, You’ve Got Mail. Or I may just have a personal bias for Nora Ephron’s wonderful writing. When I saw ‘Love Life’ popped up I immediately assumed it to be another one of those generic and vanilla rom-coms but to my shock and dismay. I was wrong, ‘Love Life’ is actually pretty good.
‘Love Life’ starts with narration by British actress, Lesley Manville, who starts each episode discussing the theme and the whereabouts of Darby’s life. She provides statistics and scientific examples of what the “average person” may experience when finding love. Such as experiencing 7 relationships in life. Two of which are long-term, while everything else is seen as “casual.” Darby is one of those average people. Anna Kendrick gives a fierce, charming performance as the protagonist throughout the first 3 episodes, she may be a little witty and awkward at times but it allowed some relatability for her character. I felt the show offers a delightful, yet grounded setting, it’s not too dark nor campy, but kind of realistic with some drama that keeps the show engaging. It reminded me of another HBO series, ‘Sex and the City’ but not as memorable. It does have it’s flare and spark though.
The first episode begins with Darby meeting a man (Jin Ha) at a karaoke party, who she starts to fall in love with, but as the episode, and show progresses we see the ups and downs each relationship has to offer, including a relationship with her old boss played by Scoot McNairy. Episode 1 is a nice start at explaining and setting the groundwork for this series. Episode 2 may have some awkward scenes but has more drama than the first episode, while episode 3 adds more spark to the series and what’s to come in the future. Releasing these first 3 episodes all at once was a smart move by HBO MAX because they all tie together nicely. I really love the self-awareness this show has and Darbys development into finding herself and becoming more mature.
New episodes of ‘Love Life’ will release every Wednesday exclusively on HBO MAX.