The Best 'Modern Love' Episodes To Watch If You Can't Commit To The Full Season
Not all love stories are created equal; Amazon's Modern Love is proof of that. The anthology series — based on the New York Times column of the same name — follows eight unconventional love stories, from a woman and her doorman's unlikely friendship to a couple navigating a second date gone awry. But if you're curious which Modern Love episodes are actually worth watching, the answer is: not all of them.
Though the ensemble cast — including Catherine Keener, Anne Hathaway, and Dev Patel — is undeniably impressive, some episodes suffer by oversimplifying the complexity of relationships (something that is certainly not true in love, modern or otherwise), like in Tina Fey and John Slattery's "Rallying to Keep the Game Alive." And an overarching criticism of the show is that it focuses almost exclusively on upper crust New Yorkers, something only the strongest episodes are able to overcome.
Your own preferences — and outlook on love — may largely dictate which episodes you're drawn to, but here are the four that collectively seem to be resonating the most. The bonus? Each are under 30 minutes, so even if you hate them, you won't have wasted too much time, and there's bound to be one you like in the whole season.
"When Cupid Is A Prying Journalist"
The combined star power of Dev Patel and Catherine Keener isn't the only reason to watch "When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist." Premised upon a conversation between dating app creator Josh (Patel) and journalist Julie (Keener), the episode touches on a number of different kinds of love — love at first sight, long-lost love, online love, married love — and examines them more effectively than other episodes that only feature one couple's journey.
"Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am"
The core message of this episode is that you must love yourself before you can truly love anyone else. That sentiment sounds corny (and with an excessive use of voiceover, it certainly toes that line), but Anne Hathaway's Lexi highlights just how vital this lesson is. Framed around her attempts to date Gary Carr's Jeff while managing her bipolar disorder, Lexi learns she can't keep who she is a secret if she wants to live a full life. Whimsical musical numbers and an homage to That Girl help to give just a glimpse of what the episodes of mania Lexi experiences must be like while Hathaway's bathroom breakdown acutely displays the depressive ones. A friendship with a coworker turns out to be more vital than a romantic one, and gives a textbook lesson on how to support someone with mental illness. But in the end, "Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am" is all about Lexi learning to take herself as she is.
"So He Looked Like Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right?"
In "So He Looked Like Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right?" recent Emmy winner Julie Garner explores her feelings of losing her father at a young age by entering a semi-platonic relationship with a dependable older man (Shea Whigham). Inevitably, they both realize they want things out of the relationship that the other person can't provide, but both Garner and Whigham sympathetically show how their characters ended up in these murky waters of human emotion.
"Hers Was A World Of One"
Fleabag's Hot Priest Andrew Scott consistently delivers stellar performances, and "Hers Was A World Of One" is no exception. As an uptight man who enters an open adoption with his husband Andy (Brandon Kyle Goodman), Scott's Tobin prepares for parenthood by learning to love his unborn child's unconventional mother (Olivia Cooke). The dynamic between the longterm couple and their new housemate (and special guest Ed Sheeran) makes this episode one of the most genuinely funny. But Tobin coming to respect and accept Karla — as well as Karla's selfless love for her child — provide the episode's emotional core.
The final Season 1 episode does tie together all of the stories, but it doesn't devote nearly half the time Jane Alexander's Margot and James Saito's Kenji late-in-life love story deserves. If you only want the best of the best, these four are all you need.