Love continues its upward trend of enjoyable episodes with “The Work Party,” which flags in believability, but more than makes up for it in the satisfaction of watching Gus and Mickey make good choices.
A very bored Mickey listens to an announcement that the company she works for, Gravity Satellite Radio, has been acquired. There will be a party celebrating the news, but Erica (ugh, I love Paula Pell) pulls Mickey aside to tell her that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs in the merger. She tells Mickey that they’ll have to humanize themselves to the people at Subzero so they don’t get cut in the layoffs. Dr. Greg (I also love Brett Gelman) interrupts to tell Mickey that he’s bringing a plus-one to the party. He assumes it’ll hurt Mickey’s feelings, but Mickey tells him that he disgusts her.
Mickey and Gus get ready for the party, and she preps him that she’s never brought a guy to a work party before. Gus tries to press the issue of how they’ll introduce themselves. They find themselves in the Mickey and Gus equivalent of a DTR conversation — a careful tiptoe around everything neither of them want to say in favor of faux-neutrality. They do, however, admit that neither of them are sleeping with other people.
At the party, Gus and Mickey run into Truman and Lily, and Mickey jokingly introduces Gus as her husband before leaving him to go talk to Erica. Meanwhile, Chris and Bertie meet up outside and are welcomed in as Mickey’s guests.
Gus wanders around the party and overhears Dr. Greg and his plus-one having an argument by the crudites. After the plus-one storms away, Greg and Gus end up talking. Gus is a fan, and Greg doesn’t realize whose date he is. They decide to “latch” onto each other for the rest of the party.
Mickey and Erica network with the guys from Subzero and kiss up to them about how much they love the merger. The Subzero guys seem to think they’ll be firing people in the West Coast no matter what, and Erica and Mickey aren’t really helping their case. Mickey sees Gus and Greg hanging out and looks suddenly sick.
Greg and Gus talk pop psychology and Gus clearly tries to get some free therapy out of Dr. Greg. They hug just as Mickey appears, and Dr. Greg puts the pieces together. Mickey tries to pull Gus away, scared that Dr. Greg will spill about their one-night stand, but is once again distracted by Erica.
Chris and Bertie hit it off, talking distance from home, crickets, and what it’s like to rush into life in Los Angeles. Bertie says she feels like she’s made a lot of major life decisions — including her relationship with Randy — and she’s worried they were maybe bad ones. Chris and Bertie actually make a lot of sense together. Finally, a Love couple I can get onboard with!
Dr. Greg asks, point-blank, if Gus is in love with Mickey. Gus says he really really likes her, and Greg gets weird. Even Gus calls him out on his tone change. Gus asks Greg to tell him what’s going on, and Greg tells him that they had sex. Gus’s face crumples as Greg tells him that Mickey sleeps with people as a way to use them. Gus tells him it can’t be true — after all, they have something special. Gus says, “Fuck you,” then walks away. Good use of backbone, Gus!
When Mickey finds Gus again, he’s drinking by himself at the bar and obviously pissed at her. He doesn’t tell her about the conversation, and Mickey takes off to help Truman with something. Instead, though, she confronts Greg, who tells her that he saved two people — Gus and Mickey — from a relationship with each other. Mickey shoves Dr. Greg and tells him to stay away from them.
Chris tells Bertie about his deferred dreams of being a stuntman and about how depressed he is. Meanwhile, Bertie is sad that her future husband will probably never see her boobs at their best. And just like that, the two beacons of light on this show immediately dim into sad, dwindling flames.
Mickey tells Gus she knows that Dr. Greg told him, and Gus tells her that Greg said everything he’s worried might be true — that she doesn’t really like him and that what they have isn’t special. Mickey assures him that none of that is true, and she kisses Gus right in front of Greg before asking him to dance.
Part of the problem with shows like Love, which so often trade in hyper-realism, is that it’s jarring when something happens that would only ever happen on a TV show. As much as Mickey and Gus fear confronting their relationship, in “The Work Party,” they are put in a situation that is far more straightforward and confrontational than it would be in real life.
It is satisfying, at least, to see how Mickey stood up for Gus. Her ability to reassure him that he is special to her without being cagey about her past is a big step, though it’s disheartening that Gus doesn’t assume the best of Mickey. Gus getting to tell off Greg with a “fuck you” is a nice moment, but remember: He is the one who pushed for the relationship. It seems unfair, then, for him to be disappointed by the very types of revelations that Mickey warned him about. On the bright side, the end of the episode finds them with some sort of mutual forgiveness.
Also, shout-out to the Love wardrobe apartment for Bertie and Mickey’s ever-enviable outfits. I love how (seemingly) attainably chic they are.