Often on TV, we see only one side of love. I’m not sure if that side sells more, or if that side is way harder, and easier to romanticize, but I do know that, as someone who’s consumed massive amounts of entertainment in her life, I have never quite seen a show like Amazon’s Modern Love.
I say that as a compliment, truly. Modern Love didn’t always hit all the right notes for me – some episodes made me so happy I couldn’t stop smiling, some felt a little flat, and there was even one that made me so uncomfortable I could barely watch – but one thing I can say about the show was that it was different.
And yes, I mean that in a mostly good way.
Sometimes you have to take risks to take stories about the kind of love we don’t see portrayed on TV as often. And hey, as someone who sits down and writes words about TV daily, I understand that all of this is, well, a matter of interpretation. What touched me might not work for others, and what I didn’t like might just be the thing someone else needs.
If only for that, Modern Love succeeds way beyond what its creators probably hoped, or even dreamed. Because no matter what you get out of it, no matter whom you love most, the point is that for the first time, there are really and truly a bunch of options. And this is really only the beginning.
So allow me to take you on a little journey as we discuss the finer points of Modern’s Love mostly amazing first season of anthologies, starting with …
As a whole, the season works. There’s a good balance between romantic love, self-love, friendship, found family, not so young couples, etc. Of course, there could be a little more diversity to the cast, as is in the norm in Hollywood. As a latina, it often feels to me like Hollywood has yet to realize we exist and there are stories to be told about us, stories people care to HEAR, even.
But that’s my biggest gripe with this show, and most shows these days, to be honest. There are so many great, diverse stories out there to be told, and Modern Love should be focusing on those, shouldn’t really be playing it safe or trying to find super white ways to tell edgy stories.
What they do, though, still mostly falls on the side of …good. There are some episodes you can skip, or at least never re-play, and there’s one I would have just taken out of the season entirely, but there are others that I feel would make me smile even in the worst days, and that’s something. In fact, that’s a lot.
Plus, that ending. That ending …
1X01 – “When The Doorman Is Your Main Man”
It’s hard to put a finger on why this episode works so well. It started out slow, and there were about five minutes where I felt I was watching the wrong show, like I didn’t get it. Then it all clicked, and when it did, it just brought tears to my eyes. The message of love is …well, love, and it doesn’t always have to be romantic, it doesn’t always have to be familial, to be valid, is perfectly and marvelously encapsulated in an episode I’m not sure another show would have thought to do.
1X03 – “Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am”
This might be my favorite episode of them all, not just because it encapsulated the highs and lows of mental illness so well, but because, it proved that, in the end, you don’t need a man to save you, you don’t need the perfect romantic relationship to fix you. Sometimes, all you need is a friend who stays, one who listens, one who understands. That’s as life-changing as a guy. Hell, in fact, often, it’s even more life-changing, and immensely harder to find.
1X07 – “Hers Was a World of One”
This was one of those weird episodes where I felt like I didn’t get it about half the time, but when I got it, boy, did it all just …fit perfectly. Love is messy, and complicated, and sometimes we don’t make the best choices, but part of love is also not giving up. Trying, over and over again. Understanding that you aren’t perfect, you will never be. All you can do is make mistakes, learn from them, and move on, to hopefully do better the next day, and the one after that.
1×08 – “The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap”
Many of the episodes made me tear up, this one the only one that made me outright sob. This was the story I didn’t know I wanted, the story that’s never told, and yet, it was also the episode that tied it all together in a way that makes sense. Because as an anthology, Modern Love works because we understand that it’s all going on at the same time, in different places. We all have love, and sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes we can’t see it, but as the saying goes …it is, indeed, all around.
LEAST FAVORITE EPISODES
1X06 – “So He Looked Like A Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right?”
Maybe this one spoke to someone, but I surely wasn’t the right person to be watching this. I lost my dad, so I understand, and yet, at the same time, I really don’t. I couldn’t make myself take the leap the character was taking, and, like no other episode, it was uncomfortable to watch her go from A to B and then to the weird C at the end, needing that validation, those words. This episode wasn’t just meh for me, it was a big miss in a season that was otherwise mostly hits, and I’m likely never gonna re-watch it again. In fact, I’m going to try really hard to forget I watched it.
Hopefully, as I said before, more. This is the kind of show that can go on for five, ten years, telling good, relatable stories. In order to do that, though, they’ll have to be a bit more diverse, while continuing to tell the stories that are out of the ordinary. I don’t for a moment believe that’s hard.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about Modern Love season one?
Modern Love is available to stream on Amazon Prime.