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  • Writer's pictureGrace

Modern Love

❤️ Recalibrate your universe. ❤️

Streaming on Amazon | 2019 | TV-MA | 8 episodes, 30 minutes each


Genre: Love stories.  Why We Watched: I've been excited to watch this since Amazon first started teasing it a few months ago. Maybe because I'm navigating my own modern love story, and it's comforting to watch unconventional love stories with happy endings.

You Might Also Like: Christmas is only six weeks away—why not go ahead and give Love Actually (on HBO) a re-watch? In the words of The Troggs and (sort of) Bill Nighy:

"I feel it in my fingers I feel it in my toes Love is all around me And so the feeling grows."

A man and a woman stand talking on a tennis court.
Rallying their way to love-love.

At the end of Episode 7 of Modern Love, David Bowie's "Kooks" plays over the closing credits: "Will you stay in our lovers' story? If you stay, you won't be sorry."  He's right, as he so often is. I'm not sorry for staying in these lovers' stories.  I took an accidental hiatus from television the past few months, and this series gently drew me back in. I've been sucked up in a particularly busy season of life, and while I hate that I've been missing out on all the shows and movies my friends have been talking about, I was also a little worried that if I returned to TV (with which I have very little self-control) I might lose my edge at work. This show reminded me that not all TV is mindless or merely distracting. Sometimes it gives us stories that help to ground us and restore us. That's what Modern Love did for me.  Adapted from the long-running Modern Love column in the New York Times, these short episodes sketch gorgeous vignettes of love between friends, families, lovers, and strangers. Some of them seem almost archetypal: A girl has a crush on an older man she sees as a father figure. A middle-aged couple reaches a turning point when their kids leave home. A gay couple grows close to the mother of the child they're adopting. Other episodes are more unconventional. All of them are delightful.  There are lawyers and journalists and tech developers and actors and homemakers and documentarians and geniuses in Modern Love, but you know what the episodes don't care about? Work. Instead, these stories zoom in on moments that come around the edges of work, moments of kindness and warmth that lead to genuine connection. It's your interactions with other people that matter, the series suggests. Not the hours you log typing furiously at your computer or strategizing about next quarter.  These moments of kindness and connection are also the antidote to the name-calling and tribalism running rampant in the culture today—and the show knows it. Yasmine, a social media influencer who appears in Episode 5, explains her mother's approach to "recalibrating the universe." It goes like this: when someone does something bad to you—cutting you off in traffic, say—you respond by letting the next car in, with a smile. Someone steals your wallet? Make a donation to the poor.  It's the opposite of taking an eye for an eye, and it's more proactive than turning the other cheek. Is this a new concept? Of course not. But these days it does feel like a novel one. Watch this show. You'll love how it makes you feel, you'll like the rosy, romantic portrait it paints of New York City, and you'll enjoy the cast of rockstars: Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Andrew Scott (a.k.a. Fleabag's sexy priest), and so many more. You can even watch the episodes out of order if you like, but save Episode 8 for last. It will gut you like a fish, but it will also give you a perfect gift at the end.  I'm keeping it short and sweet today because that's what this show does. And I won't bog us down with criticism. There's enough of that going on. Instead, I'll leave you with love—a series of love stories, and my love for them. Pass it on.  Happy streaming! Grace

A man and a woman sit talking on a park bench.
Swapping love stories on a park bench.

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