“One more thing…have you ever been in love?” asks journalist Deborah Copaken (played by Catherine Keener), as she wraps up an interview with Hinge dating app founder Justin McLeod (played by Dev Patel). The short answer? Yes, he has, but they broke up and now she’s engaged to someone else. The long answer, which is far more tragic, beautiful and complicated, unfolds over the course of a 31-minute episode of Modern Love, now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Just when I thought I was condemned to a lifetime of dark and twisted crime shows (at least that’s what Netflix and Amazon keep spoon-feeding me), along comes this thoughtful, uplifting series based on the New York Times column of the same name. The series explores love in all its messy, complicated forms—how it enters our lives so unexpectedly, making us do, say and feel things we never imagined. It frustrates, confuses and even angers us, and yet, we’re hopelessly addicted to it.
For the past 15 years, Daniel Jones has edited the Modern Love column for the New York Times. He reads up to 100 essay submissions a day, and the producers consulted him on which columns to turn into episodes for the show. Since the essays are about 1,500 words each, certain scenes were invented to fill 30-minute episodes. Watching these invented scenes felt strange to the authors of the columns translated to screen, but not unpleasant.
If my ringing endorsement doesn’t tempt you, consider the show’s star-studded cast, which includes Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Tina Fey and John Slattery. Now go forth and stream, neighbor!
P.S. Updates from writers whose essays inspired episodes of the show.