Stumbling across the TV show Modern Love was a weird experience – it was promoted on the Apple TV homepage and warranted further investigation. When we saw it was created by John Carney, who was also behind some of our favourite Dublin-based films, then it was a given we were going to watch this one.
Anthology series’ aren’t always my favourite, but when they’re done well, like Black Mirror and now like Modern Love, they are a gem.
Each episode of Modern Love tells a different story about a relationship, and it can be at any stage and taking any form. One of the episodes talks of a second date gone wrong, another a happy LGBT couple looking to adopt a child. What’s great about them is the writing, the gentle unfolding of a story, and the acting with some high calibre appearances from the likes of Tina Fey, Andrew Scott, Anne Hathaway and many more.
Here’s a quick view, for my own future reference more than anything, of what I thought of the episodes:
When the Doorman Is Your Main Man
This, I think, was my favourite episode, perhaps joint with the hospital one. Such a lovely story, starting out with great humour in an over-protective doorman but then moving into emotional territory – being alone and dealing with huge things, and making big decisions that are right but can hurt people around you. Lovely.
When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist
I feel like this one stretched my belief to start with – they didn’t seem to have so much chemistry at the start that he would really unload his entire love history with the journalist – but once you get past that, the two stories that unfold are really lovely. Also, bearded and gruff silver fox Andy Garcia took me by surprise a bit!
Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am
Tears at the end of this one. Hathaway does such a good job portraying the light and shade, but not only the tips of the disorder but also the waves you pass through along the way. The “coming out of a downer” and knowing you’ll be high as a kite later. This was lovely if only for realising a) it was cute Fidel from Death in Paradise, and b) she didn’t need love, she just needed a friend.
Rallying to Keep the Game Alive
Written and directed by Sharon Horgan and starring Tina Fey? I’m on board, no matter what. It felt like comfortable territory for Horgan – two people trying to cling to a relationship because deep down the love is strong enough to hold them together even though their surface conversations suggest otherwise. And tennis saved the day. Hooray!
At the Hospital, an Interlude of Clarity
Potentially, my joint favourite. A second date ends up in a trip to the hospital and opens up vulnerabilities in both patient and visitor. I liked it all from the inquisitive this or that game, to the glimpses of narcissism to the clearly very uncomfortable position on the bench at the end.
So He Looked Like Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right?
This was probably my least favourite, although I liked both the people in it and the chemistry they had. I found it just a bit odd, really, especially when it suddenly dived into a discussion about responsibility and consent and suchlike. But giving up the toy at the zoo was cute.
Hers Was a World of One
As if Andrew Scott needed any more plaudits for his work, but his is a stand-out character in this story. The hesitant-to-be-a-parent, nervous-of-the-prospective-mother, trying-not-to-be-judgmental, ending-up-the-strongest-one and winning the episode guy. I did like that the birth scenes were not horrific though, and it all ended quite cutely.
The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap
This starts normally, with a sad story about losing a relatively new loved one in old age, but quickly becomes a surprising sweep round all the other stories as well. I feel like there wasn’t enough of a story to sustain a full episode of the older couple – as adorable as they were – so it was nice to pad it out with a catch up (or prequel) of everyone else.
I desperately hope there will be another series because this really was a joy to behold.