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17 Feb 2016

True TV: Judd Apatow's 'Love' Nails Modern Romance; 'Girls' Begins the Countdown

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In Gillian Jacobs' first real headlining gig, in Judd Apatow’s Love, she plays a character even less motivated than Community’s Britta: Here, she’s aimless radio-station programmer Mickey, who spends most of her time stoned, partying or obliviously failing out of relationships. In Gillian Jacobs' first real headlining gig, in Judd Apatow’s Love, she plays a character even less motivated than Community’s Britta: Here, she’s aimless radio-station programmer Mickey, who spends most of her time stoned, partying or obliviously failing out of relationships.

Love (Friday, Feb. 19, Netflix), series debut: Gillian Jacobs was always Community’s most-underrated player, a reliable source of dark snark who functioned as a counterpoint to Joel McHale’s, well, darker snark, and who was rarely forced to play the “pretty blonde” card. In her first real headlining gig, in Judd Apatow’s Love, she plays a character even less motivated than Community’s Britta: Here, she’s aimless radio-station programmer Mickey, who spends most of her time stoned, partying or obliviously failing out of relationships. When she meets up with recently dumped Gus (Paul Rust), it’s … something at first sight. Apatow has been making films for so long that it’s easy to forget his early TV shows (Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared), on which male and female teens and 20-somethings coexisted awkwardly while trying to Figure Out Life. Love is an older, none-the-wiser final entry in this unofficial Apatow TV trilogy, and the most brutally/hilariously accurate portrayal of modern dating since Aziz Ansari’s surprisingly fantastic Master of None. Bonus props to Netflix for not dropping Love’s 10 episodes on Valentine’s Day.

Pregnant at 17 (Saturday, Feb. 20, Lifetime), movie: Chelsea (Orphan Black’s Zoé De Grand Maison) is 17, pregnant and in love—too bad she’s a high-school dropout, and her 50-something (!) married (!!) boyfriend Jeff (Pretty Little Liars’ Roark Critchlow) now wants nothing to do with her because, you know, gross baby. Meanwhile, Jeff’s wife, Sonia (Melrose Place’s Josie Bissett), finds out about all of this and, instead of plotting stone-cold revenge as you’d expect in a Lifetime movie, takes pity on the poor knocked-up teen and befriends her. But! No sooner than you can spell polyamory … go ahead, I’ll give you a minute … a dark, dangerous figure from Chelsea’s past turns up to endanger her eff’dup new “family”! Keep ’em coming, Lifetime.

Girls (Sunday, Feb. 21, HBO), season premiere: Maybe you’re aware that Season 5 is the next-to-last for Girls; maybe you fell out of love with Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna a while ago and thought the series was already long over; maybe you’ve only heard of the show in relation to that Kylo Ren guy from Star Wars: The Force Awakens; maybe your dad changed his HBO Go password—I don’t know your deal. Anyway: As long as creator/star Lena Dunham is smart enough to avoid Sex and the City’s legacy-destroying mistakes (making a terrible follow-up theatrical movie; making an incomprehensibly wretched follow-up to that follow-up that plays on 20 screens daily in hell; etc.), Girls’ place in TV history is guaranteed. Oh, and Marnie (Allison Williams) is getting married, so that should be a trainwreck.

Superstore, Telenovela (Monday, Feb. 22, NBC), season finales: When both of these new NBC comedies sneak-preview premiered in December 2015, Telenovela looked like the survivor, while Superstore appeared to be an ill-conceived waste of talent. Eleven episodes later, Eva Longoria’s Telenovela is working waaay too hard for too few laughs, while America Ferrera’s Superstore has become an effortless ensemble comedy that actually lives up to most of its surface comparisons to The Office. The ratings correspond, meaning there’s far more likely to be a second season of Superstore than another round of Telenovela. Enjoy the big hair and boob tape while you can.

Nicole and Jionni’s Shore Flip (Wednesday, Feb. 24, FYI), series debut: The list of tolerable ex-MTV personalities is a short one: There’s former Singled Out host Chris Hardwick, now of Comedy Central’s @Midnight and every possible AMC post-show talker they can justify (Talking Saul? Really?), and a certain retired VJ who presides over Fox Business Network’s Kennedy (she’s the Caustic Queen of FBN—which is saying nothing, but she’s still as entertaining/annoying as she was in the ’90s). That’s it. There’s also not a more radioactively disdained past MTV property than Jersey Shore, so who greenlit a house-flipping series co-hosted by idiot oompa loompa Snookie—sorry, “Nicole”—and her equally witless husband, Jionni? The same network that brings you Kocktails With Khloe (Kardashian), of course. Maybe E! is no longer the epicenter of stoopid …

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