"Love is __" is an experience.
I remember seeing the official trailer of "Love is ___" more than a few times on OWN and other networks and I honestly didn't think much of it. Until one day I was sitting at home, with absolutely nothing to watch, scrolling through DirectTV On Demand, and I came across the show "Love is__". I thought to myself "well I have nothing else to watch so I guess I'll give this show a try". It was only three episodes into the season so I didn't have much to catch up on. About ten minutes into episode one, I was hooked. The next thing I know, I was tuning in every Tuesday like clockwork to see where Mara Brock Akil was taking her characters.
It's not often that I come across authentic characters such as Nuri and Yassir, played by Michelle Weaver and Will Catlett, that evoke raw unfiltered emotion through their performances, I think the last show that had me in my feelings was Netflix's "Seven Seconds". During season one of "Love is __" I found myself invested in who these characters were and who they were portraying. "Love is___", tells the story of how Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil met and fell in love, and although one might think "how complex could a love story be?", Mara Brock Akil tells their story by redefining love each and every week.
"Love is__" starts with Yassir meeting Nuri at a coffee shop with his friend Sean who was actually the one interested in Nuri, when Sean brings Yassir to check out his new girl, who he'd not even spoken to yet, Yassir walks up to Nuri and introduces himself to get her name for Sean. Writers then fast forward to a year later, Sean now has a baby and a girlfriend and he and Yassir are walking down the street, as they are walking Yassir notices Nuri through a storefront window, and determines that it's fate. He goes in and reintroduces himself, and gives her his beeper number. The story then takes a turn as we learn that Yassir is living with his on again, off again girlfriend Ruby who is about to kick him out because he jobless due to pursuing his dream of becoming a director. Nuri, on the other hand, is living her dream, working on a popular 90's sitcom "Marvin", which resembles one of my favorite 90's sitcoms, "Martin". Nuri is established, and not looking for a man who is jobless, homeless, and who has a child as she later finds out Yassir does. However, she unknowingly begins to fall for Yassir despite his flaws.
During this first season, which covers only the first few months of their relationship, Yassir, and Nuri explore love and what love is. On the Season Finale episode, writers of the show drop a bombshell, Nuri asks Yassir to marry her, Yassir gets into a fight with Ruby's new beaux while clearing his things out of her apartment, and Nuri finds a script Yassir wrote before the two of them met where he uses the same pick-up line he used with her on their first date at the coffee shop which leaves her feeling both angry and confused.
What I love most about this show is that it is redefining and exploring love in a way that we haven't seen on screen in a long time. Mara Brock Akil and her team of writers and directors, give viewers this story through the lens of not just Yassir and Nuri, but through the lens of the other characters on the show as well. Kind of like, stories within the story. I also appreciate how the writers have chosen to tell this story through the use of actors representing present day Mara and Salim. When the cast says that the show is "truthful", "art", and an "emotional journey", they mean just that. There were moments of joy and laughter in this show while getting to understand and learn who these characters are, but there was also some tear-jerking moments that made one really sit and think "did that just happen" or " wow, I can't believe the writers went there". I also love that Mara Brock Akil cast new talent for this show, talent that for the most part, we have never seen before.
If you can't tell by now I love this first season of "Love is__", and I don't think there is anything that I would do differently. It is a show well worth taking the time to watch if you haven't already, and I am hopeful that it will get picked up for a second season.