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“Love” 1.02: When Gus Met Mickey…

© by Polygon.com

Full disclosure: I loved this whole episode. The whole thing. Picking a favorite scene, a single favorite scene, is impossible, because the entirety of it is a thing of pure, Apatow beauty.

The connection between Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust) is delightfully awkward, companionable and quintessentially millennial. Gus, the endearingly awkward, lanky, romantic, Mid-Western boyish man with an extensive Blu-Ray collection (he just loves the special features, all right?!) and a smidgen of narcissism. He’s our younger, less obnoxious but entirely less suave Ross Gellar–which should tell you something. Mickey is every sarcastic single girl who barely has anything together in her life and shows no sign of that changing any time soon. (Think early series Chandler Bing with a little more crass, a little more drug use, but still the right balance of punchy and messy. Oh, and female.)

Picking my favorite scene from this episode feels like picking a favorite child (I’d imagine, who knows). It was a glorious, low-key 32 minutes of classic Apatow television. Their first adventure day together is a gem from start to finish. Amazingly enough, neither of them are particularly likable characters, not in the traditional sense, and their first adventure is getting stoned and making it to drive-thru breakfast–and yet here I am, loving them and their lazy, simple, totally recognizable adventure.

Well played.

But if we’re being honest, the first ten minutes of this episode are golden. Were I to see no other scene of this show, this one would stand out. In a lot of ways, it encompasses that millennial love story, the only way we know how–it’s casual, simple, simultaneously awkward and companionable. Gus the hero, saving Mickey by buying her coffee–”And a pack of cigarettes? Parliaments.”–when she forgot her wallet at home. Outside, Mickey thanks him, of course–but offers to pay him back. “Don’t be a fucking hero.” (Sentimental as ever, Dobbs.)

Gus, in his adorkable (just teetering the line of annoyingly so–he hasn’t quite gone full Ross Gellar just yet) fashion follows her home after she insists on paying him back. Their stroll just nearly is unbearably awkward, but Rust and Jacobs’ characters strike a perfect balance–Mickey is hard edges and nowhere near being a put together person, where Gus so painfully trying to be the most put together was his downfall. She’s bluntly charming, where he’s an awkward pushover–all soft curves, and no edges (well, not literally–Rust might be nothing more than skin and bones, never having grown past the lanky, dorky teenage boy phase. He works it, it’s all right.)

 

Where are you from?

Oh, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, it’s the uh major city of Brooking, South Dakota.

Oh, yeah yeah yeah the guy who invented boredom’s from there.

Yeah, right yeah….it’s for all the people who can’t handle the intensity of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

 

The jokes are quirky, he laughs mostly to himself, and the just a smidge too long pauses and giddy steps are endearing, despite him being 31 years old. Rust makes it work–go figure. And if Mickey’s small smirks and constant smirks are any indication, she’s on the same page. I don’t hate it.

 

Something about it made me love it. It was less than ten minutes of dorky jokes and just the beginningstages of making of a friend, but it’s sticking with me. It’s not romantic, it’s not kismet, it’s nothing grand. It could, in fact, easily be nothing at all, in the real world.

And yet…

 

love ep 2

Later in the episode is the second scene which I deem as tied for best. Gus, intensely stoned, gives Mickey the wrong address when she offers to take him home–his old address, the house of his ex-girlfriend Natalie (Milana Vayntrub). Natalie, the classic unlikable ex-girlfriend, demands that while Gus is there, he finally take his boxes. (Mostly, Mickey takes care of it–her only heroic and selfless moment we’ve yet seen.)  

Coming down from his literal high and his adventure day high, Gus laments about love and how he’d fed into such bullshit before, Mickey bobbing her head along.

Lonely hearts club, table for two.

Nobody ever tells you that. Nobody ever just pulls you aside and says, “Hey, just so you know, relationships are f**king bullsh*t.” So I just keep believing in this f**king lie that a relationship evolves and gets better and it’s like, why do I believe that?! Where do these lies come from? And it’s like, oh, I know, f**king songs and books and, y’know, movies. All these movies I’ve watched? They’re not real. They’re lies, they’re lies like me and Natalie were lies. Y’know, like what am I doing with these? Pleasantville?

Ugh.

It’s like, f**k you Pleasantville. Just f**k off.

Woah. Yeah!

Aw, I shouldn’t have–

No, I like it. Do it again!

 

He proceeds to throw every last Blu-Ray he owns out the window, including (but not limited to) Pleasantville, Pretty Woman, Goodfellas, Toy Story 3, Sweet Home Alabama, What Women Want, When Harry Met Sally, and Homeland Season 3. (“Very confusing.” Amen.)

Cut to Gus miserably asking Mickey why he threw out all his Blu-Rays (“It’s okay buddy, you’re just tired. Come on.”), but hey, the sentiment remains. It was Gus’ turn at a Mickey-esque existential crisis about love and expectations, and I’m not sure Gus would’ve had the courage without Mickey (and her weed laced adventure) to finally unleash some of that goddamn repressed anger. Let it out, Gus Gus. Get mad.

Get Mickey. (I have no shame, sue me.)

 

Honorable mentions:

  • Mickey tucking Gus into bed and calling him Gus Gus when she realizes they have the same rug (that damn rug!)
  • Mickey asking him if he wants to go on an adventure and getting him stoned so they can get breakfast food together, a stoner’s “When Hally Met Sally…” (I see you, Apatow.)
  • Mickey and Bertie watching Armed and Dangeous: “How do you know about this movie?” “Gus told me about it.” THE BEGINNING OF THE END.

Written by Caitlin Walsh

Uncool. Mostly winging it. I cry happy tears at cute animal videos. Sometimes I tweet things I think might be funny. Laugh with/at me @cwalsh93.

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