A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love romance
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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