The thing is, is that she is so flawed. And that is… appealing, to me. I’m talking about Mickey, in the Netflix show LOVE – a series I finished last night. I started to write a Tweet about it, to talk out all the wild, enthusiastic, confused thoughts I had on watching the final credits roll, but knew it would become twelve Tweets. Then I thought, yeah but Laura, why do you care so much? So I figured I’d do what I do: blog it out. My neurons are firing at a million miles per hour over this show.
The premise is insanely simple: over ten episodes, two imperfect, normal characters meet in a weird, totally plausible way, struggle to get together in a straightforward manner, do a bit of back and forth, and then come clean about being into each other. We’re left wondering what will happen next, if anything at all. It is messy and complicated and exactly like real life.
I’m working on a couple of scripts myself. I’m so terribly, terribly bored of writing about me and ~my feelings~, but I am so terribly, terribly into humanness and confusions and wanting to be better whilst at the same time accepting exactly who we are. Television is incredible for that. I used to tease my mum about binging on Coronation Street and Eastenders and Emmerdale every weekday night, and then one day she said, innocently and full of meaning: “But Laura, those people are just like me.” Watching those shows makes her understand her own life more, and so who the fuck am I to decree in which “art”, exactly, we should find our mirrors? Our stories are everywhere, once we look. That’s poetry, that is.
When we were pitching my book to publishers, the thing I kept saying was: I didn’t write this because I am special. I didn’t write a book about my high school sweetheart dumping me after almost a decade together to marry my best friend because I’m a special snowflake whose story simply must be heard. I told editors: everyone knows what it is like to be devastated by heartache, heartbreak, to lie with your face in the pillow wondering if you’re worthy of love at all, and how did everyone else get to be so damned lucky when you’re such a fuck-up? And that’s what this show is, too.
Comfort, is the word.
We make things and seek out things for the same reason: comfort.
What I loved about LOVE is the drama of nothingness to it, because that’s exactly how love goes. There’s no big Hollywood cute-meet in a department store, where he just needs pyjama bottoms and she just needs an oversized pyjama top and so boom, it’s meant to be right from the start. The characters in the story aren’t meant for each other. There’s no bigger picture at play when she has no cash at the local 7/11, and so he, in line behind her, buys her smokes for her. They take ages to text each other because life is busy, and what do you say, and okay, let’s type and re-type the perfect first message a hundred million times and not send it after all.
At first you think he’s the “Nice Guy” archetype, and she’s the “Bad Girl” archetype, and over the episodes you realise that nope. There is no “good” and “bad”. Not in love, not in life, not anywhere. She’s got addiction issues, but she’s well on the way to unpicking them. He’s a total goofball, but still fucks a whole bunch of other chicks, because he’s human and goofballs get hard, too, you know.
Maybe I’m not making much sense. Maybe you have to have seen the series. It’s just, I’m sat here, in a café down the road from where my friends lives because I’m staying with her until my new place is ready to move into. I’ve spent months – years, if we’re going to get truly honest – thinking that any minute now my Actual Life will begin. The life where I have a book out, and write some scripts, and have my own place, and maybe a nice relationship. In my Actual Life, my diary is an exquisite balance of dinners and cocktail hours and date nights and self-care afternoons, business meetings wedged up against swathes of C R E A T I V E T I M E. Somewhere, on the other side, it’s all just a bit more manageable. Better.
But then, a show like this happens and it makes me realise that there is no other side. There’s no polished version of myself waiting if I only I do the right thing. Days are passing. Manic and busy and lonely and full of possibility days, if I only I swallow the courage to understand that we’re already on the ride, and our only job is to be kind and hold on to each other. That's life. That's LOVE.