William Jackson Harper (The Good Place) is the star of the latest season of Love Life, a heartfelt romantic comedy that explores the highs and lows of dating while navigating life in New York City. In the first season, we became acquainted with Darby (Anna Kendrick), who longed for true love and discovered her worth through a series of relationships that were at times abusive. From the beginning, Sam Boyd’s show immerses us with its raw humanness, the exploration of deeper emotions, and the relatable pursuit of an extraordinary love.
But its second season does something even more extraordinary by placing a multifaceted Black man as its protagonist. Although complex Black male characters have certainly become a bit more common in today’s era, it still feels like a rarity overall. And despite the first season of Love Life being worth a watch, the narrative of a white woman discovering herself through love in all of its forms has never been scarce on-screen.
The premiere follows Marcus as he grapples with being in a rut at work and in his four-year marriage. Marcus works as a book editor for a publishing firm, and he finds himself passionate about a talented young Black man’s Afrofuturism novel. But that passion is not reciprocated when he finally meets Columbia grad Trae Lang, who refuses to work with Marcus due to the belief that his epic 1000 page manuscript will be refined for the white lens. Lang refers to Marcus as Obama as an insult––and later, his wife Emily (Maya Kazan) tells him that if she had to compare him to a Black celebrity, it would be Obama, which she meant as a compliment (“He’s so smart and poised,” she explains. “He unifies people, you know? He never gets angry; he always keeps his cool.”) This, along with multiple other reasons, reminds Marcus of the painful fact that he has never been truly seen by his wife.
As a form of escapism, he often developed crushes on women that never amounted to anything further than fantasies within his head. When he meets Mia Hines (Jessica Williams), he pushes the boundaries further as he begins to develop a friendship with her that leads to an emotional affair. Being married to a white woman, Marcus feels that there’s certain topics that his wife couldn’t simply understand. Thus, he confides in Mia about the complexities of their Black experience––and at one point, even tells her via text message that she knows him better than his own wife. When the series of texts are discovered by his heartbroken wife, divorce is inevitable.
From the second episode until the finale, we’ll follow Marcus as he re-enters the dating world and, hopefully, finds his match with the woman that sees every aspect of his multidimensional identity. The first three episodes of Love Life season two are out now on HBO Max; the next three will be released on Nov. 4th, and the final three on Nov. 11.
The cast stars William Jackson Harper, Janet Harper, Jessica Williams, Maya Kazan, Punkie Johnson, Comedian CP, and Keith David as the narrator.
Below, watch the trailer: