Review by Sean Boelman
In its first season, the HBO Max romantic comedy/sci-fi series Made for Love proved to be an intriguing if messy satire. But now that the show has been able to settle on the quirkiness of the source material, it’s finally getting the chance to shine, allowing it to be something genuinely special.
Picking up after the events of the first season, the series now follows the protagonist as she has returned with her lunatic tech mogul husband to “The Hub”, his isolated and futuristic virtual reality compound. There’s a lot more to this season than the last, as gags turn into legitimate subplots and unexpected depth is added to character arcs that make them much more compelling.
For this second season, the book’s author Alyssa Nutting steps up to the plate to be a showrunner, and that may have been the factor to bring the show to its A-game. The humor feels so much sharper here, the storylines so much more intricate, and the satire is so much more aggressive. The result is a much more enjoyable watch.
The show isn’t particularly subtle about exactly who it is poking fun at — the tyrannical mogul and his company are quite literally named Gogol, as if anyone wouldn’t immediately figure out the connotation of that — but these mega-corporations have enough money that they can take a little heat.
Interestingly, the series does not go the direction of adding new characters, but instead uses this additional time to build deeper into the existing characters, which was a very wise move. A lot of comedy shows tend to try to add even more high-profile comedians their second time around, but Nutting et al. realized that the thing that really makes their show work is its commentary and writing.
Cristin Milioti and Billy Magnussen again knock it out of the park in their roles, with a tension between the two of them that is palpable and constantly feels like it is about to explode. And thankfully, Ray Romano feels much more effectively utilized here, getting some genuinely funny moments of his own rather than just being the butt of the joke.
The fact that a majority of this season (at least in the first four episodes) occurs inside The Hub allows the series to dive even deeper into its sci-fi vibes. It’s a fascinating world that they are building, and while some of the effects look a bit wonky, it fits given the nature of what they are supposed to represent.
Made for Love had a first season that showed it had a lot of potential, and this second season delivers on it in a way that is much funnier and much sharper. Like a lot of other comedy television shows, this started out a bit uneven, but once it was able to find its rhythm and footing, it became so much more tightly-written.
Made for Love debuts on HBO Max on April 28 with new episodes debuting subsequent Thursdays. Four out of eight episodes reviewed.