By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lots of (fully clothed) sex and romance in enjoyable series.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Focusing in on the ordinary life of one ordinary woman is its own kind of positive message, but some might not approve of the focus on drifting from relationship to relationship and job to job with no real plan.
Positive Role Models
Smart and assertive, Darby is a decent role model but a sometimes aimless one who seems to let things happen to her instead of ordering her own life with conviction. Male characters come and go, but are depicted mostly realistically and romances break up because of prosaic reasons, not any wrongdoing on the part of characters. Characters are diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, and sexual identity.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a lot of talk about sex, and a lot of scenes set in bedrooms, but there's no nudity and the most we see is same- and opposite-sex kissing, noises, and suggestive movements. There are references to oral sex (we see a man's feet sticking out from under a blanket suggestively), and some sexual language, like when a women says she's giving a man a "blowjob" for his birthday.
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Language is usually used for emphasis, but sometimes directed at a character like when a woman tells catcalling me to "Eat s--t, motherf--kers."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A side character frequently smokes cigarettes and has a substance abuse problem; another character pleads with her to go to rehab and their friendship is damaged. Scenes take place in bars, with characters getting drunk and sloppy and kissing in front of everyone. A character drives drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Love Life is a romantic dramedy about Darby (Anna Kendrick), a woman who charts a course from her first love to her last in a single season. Because of the focus on romance, expect lots of romantic complications, kissing, dating, marriage, and lots of sex talk. There are also many scenes set in bedrooms, though there's no nudity and what we see is lots of passionate kissing, suggestive movements, and visuals like a man's feet sticking out suggesting he's performing oral sex on a woman. Cursing and language is somewhat common, often for emphasis ("What the f--k?") but sometimes directed at people, like when a woman says to catcalling men, "Eat s--t, motherf--kers." A side character smokes cigarettes, and many characters drink. At bars they have liquor, beer, and cocktails, and sometimes get sloppy drunk. A character drives drunk. Darby makes a decent role model as she's smart and assertive and takes her relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners seriously, but she also has no real ambition or plan for her life, or at least, not one that's communicated to us. Characters are diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, and sexual identity.
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What's the Story?
LOVE LIFE stars Anna Kendrick as Darby, a young woman who progresses from relationship to relationship in search of her true love, and herself. The show's creators call it an anthology, because the show jumps through time depicting Darby in many stages of her life and involved with many different people romantically and otherwise, working her way through a series of jobs, friendships, and other entanglements.
Is It Any Good?
Anna Kendrick is very good in this rom-com that isn't particularly strong on either the rom or the com, but moves along pleasantly enough mostly due to Kendrick's charmingly off-kilter performance. She's a sweetly sardonic delight, whether she's getting bowled over by the sudden betrayal of a boyfriend, pulling support duty for a substance-addicted friend, or arguing with her neurotically needy mom (Hope Davis, also fantastic). Love Life's structure is a little hard to grasp, true. The show starts out with the premise of investigating how Kendrick found "her person" by seeing her through a series of failed romances. The first episode, "Augie Jeong" makes the viewer imagine that each episode will concern itself with one particular romance and we'll move tidily through the litany to a wrapped-up happy ending, true love always.
Yeah, except for after doing that for a few episodes, Love Life drops that construction and zeroes in on Darby's relationships with other people who loom large in her life: her best friends, her mom, her boss, who would be absolutely horrible if he weren't played by the incomparably charming Scoot McNairy. In fact, that's a bit of a theme with Love Life: pros who have done amazing work elsewhere, doing work here that's enjoyable but unremarkable. Executive producers include Paul Feig, the genius behind Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids, as well as Brigitte Munoz-Liebowitz (One Day at a Time, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Bridget Bedard (Transparent, Ramy). Maybe it's too much to expect, that these bringers of greatness elsewhere will score every time, and certainly Love Life is no dismal failure. If it never gels into anything fantastic, neither does it curdle into anything awful. If rom-coms and/or Anna Kendrick are something you love, this is worth a look; if not, well, there's surely something else to distract you.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how often TV shows center on relationships and romance. Why? What's compelling about the setup? Is it relatable to most, or many, people?
On television, people generally get together despite something that stands in their way. What stands in the way of Darby's romances? Why are complicated romances more common on TV than simple ones? Are the reasons why her relationships fail realistic? Or not?
How does Love Life communicate that it's taking place in a different era than one we've seen before? Consider setting, costumes, dialogue, and other cues. Do you prefer to be told directly when something is taking place, with a date or time on the screen, or would you rather period productions let you know the setting more subtly?
- Premiere date: May 27, 2020
- Cast: Anna Kendrick, Scoot McNairy
- Network: Max
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: April 16, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Watch
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