Made for Love is a creative new series that looks at love, freedom, control, and privacy with a funny but pointed story. With 8 half hour episodes, it could be considered a comedy, but it brings some strong messages about modern life with it. It’s streaming on HBO.
Made for Love asks the question, “Who gets to control women’s bodies? Is it the rich white male or is it women themselves?”
Cristin Milioti stars as Hazel. She married tech millionaire Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen) on their first date and has been sequestered with him for 10 years in a high tech enclave he calls The Hub. She cannot leave. Her every move is regulated and observed. Byron thinks control means love.
Hazel discovers that Byron has plans to put a chip in her brain that will allow them to merge so that he will have even greater control over her. Hopeless, she plans to drown herself in the pool, but when she’s under the water the resident dolphin shows her an exit. She takes it and runs.
It’s too late. The chip is already in her brain. He knows everything she does.
Her run for freedom ends at her childhood home and brings us to the second thematic storyline in the series: Hazel’s relationship with her father, Herb (Ray Romano).
Herb lives in a run-down house in a run-down town. Lately he’s been living with a “synthetic companion,” i.e., a sex doll. People in the town call him Herb the Perv.
At first, Hazel doesn’t get what her dad is doing living with this giant doll as a companion. But eventually she realizes she was Byron’s doll with the same amount of agency over her life as the doll has. She and her dad have a great many things they need to talk about and work through. The relationship between the two of them is beautifully told and drawn with nuance and care.
Hazel has no money, a chip in her head, and few options. She has to find a way to divorce Byron, get the tech out of her head, and keep living.
With help from a nutso assortment of lawyers, investigators, old friends, neighbors, and Byron’s former employees, she finds a way through. The twist at the end is open ended enough to make a second season feel necessary. Hazel really earned her feminist cred this season, so a second season should be even more pointed and powerful. I hope there is more to her story.
This unique story about women’s rights and power was created by Alissa Nutting based on her own novel. All the episodes were directed by women: S.J. Clarkson, Stephanie Laing, and Alethea Jones.
Made for Love is similar in theme to recent highly creative work from women such as Promising Young Woman and I May Destroy You. When a diverse group of women creators are able to tell stories of their own, the results are original and wonderful.
When I first heard the premise of Made for Love, I thought it would be creepy. Another story about men abusing women. I almost didn’t watch it. I’m glad I did. It was fresh and funny and strong. The cast and performances were excellent.
Have a look at the trailer.
Have you watched this one? What did you think about it? Did you have any sympathy for Byron?