“Love’s” third and final season was dynamic, surprising and generally optimistic, but the best part was the Bertie bottle episode. I, personally, like to think executive producer Judd Apatow and series co-creators Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin read my tweets and responded accordingly.
Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty) is one of my favorite characters on TV. She is sunny and hardworking, funny and logical, all while being tolerant and forgiving of her roommate Mickey (Gillian Jacobs). It would be easy to dedicate this entire review to Bertie’s lovely growth over the course of the season, but there are other characters and plotlines to discuss.
Instead, I’ll just highlight a ballet barre class montage in episode five, in which Bertie nails the hapless performance of a girl who’s not quite in shape but not exactly out of shape either — a moment so real, I grabbed my head and yelled, “THANK YOU!”
Getting back to Mickey and Gus (Rust), we catch up with them in what seems to be relative bliss. They are very much a healthy, happy couple. The first half of the season focuses on how Gus is faring as the on-set tutor of TV show “Witchita,” and how Mickey is adjusting to her newfound success at the radio station. Basically, Gus is flailing and Mickey is thriving. Furthermore, Gus is hiding just how badly he’s handling his professional shortcomings, and Mickey can’t help but wonder how she’ll sabotage herself and her achievements.
Jacobs softens her performance and injects it with a little more warmth this season. Whether she’s being empathetic toward her nightmarish boss or happily cheering on Gus’ band at their first gig, it was nice to see Mickey get comfortable in her relationship and be unafraid of intimacy. On the other hand, it’s equally satisfying to watch their dynamic flip later in the season.
The supporting casts at Mickey and Gus’s respective workplaces bring an added layer of tragicomedy to this season. Brett Gelman, as the Napoleonic Dr. Greg Colter, does such a good “Misogynistic Baby Boomer with a Bald Spot” impression that I couldn’t help but be reminded of certain sexist talk-radio hosts (I’m looking at you, Joe Rogan). Tracie Thoms, as the showrunner of “Witchita,” spews venom so deliciously I half-expected her to reprise her verse in “Take Me or Leave Me” from “Rent” to the entire cast and crew.
Equally charming is Gus’ merry band of misfits, including Bertie’s boyfriend, Randy, Chris the aspiring stuntman, Ruby and Kevin, another “Witchita” employee. The most frustrating part of this season was watching Randy be an objectively awful live-in boyfriend. He and “Broad City’s” Bevers must be on similar Reddit threads. Luckily, Randy’s redemption arc involves special effects makeup and a free craft services lunch, one of “Love’s” few sequences that is straight-up comedy, not dramedy. It’s more compelling than Sam Rockwell’s redemptive arc in “Three Billboards” (still bitter).
Overall, Love’s final season gave fans a lot to enjoy — an Ed Begley Jr. cameo, David Spade playing a douchebag, a satisfying series finale and a supporting couple we can all root for. Now I’m going to try and manifest a Bertie spinoff, so spec scripts may be sent to my email.