What is the story about?
Hazel, a young woman, has been stuck in a marriage with Byron Gogul, a tech entrepreneur who is obsessed with the role of technology in human interaction. One day, Hazel flees the Hub, where she and Byron live. Unfortunately, Byron has a chip named Made for Love installed in her brain, which tracks her every move and every thought. Can Hazel escape Byron's clutches?
In an age where social media rules the roost, and every aspect of our lives is gradually going digital, how comfortable are we with technology dictating social interactions and, maybe, even marriage? Made For Love takes this question and runs with it, presenting a world where every emotion is dictated by technology. Hazel and Billy's marriage is less of a conjugal bond, and more of a continuous social experiment where everything is measured and processed. There's even a sequence where Hazel is asked to rate her orgasms. More than a wife, Hazel is a guinea pig in a giant tech company that claims to work for the benefit of society, which could just as easily have been Facebook or Google. Therefore, it is not surprising that she chooses to flee.
Much in the vein of Dave Eggers' novel The Circle, creator Alissa Nutting adapts her novel to present a dystopian question: what if your thoughts were not private anymore? It is both hilarious and terrifying to watch Hazel try to have agency in her life, even when she knows she is constantly having to bicker and negotiate with Billy even in her dreams. At one point, you begin to think of yourself as the voyeur, peering into a troubled woman's fragile mind, just like her controlling husband. This is where Made For Love scores, because all of it is painfully real by now, or is coming true, even as the makers mine this conceit for laughs. The show ends with a very pragmatic season finale, which does catch you by surprise, but it certainly is no slapdash moment.
Cristin Milioti's talent has never been in doubt, and here she pulls off a stunning turn as Hazel, the woman who longs to escape the clutches of her husband but does not know how. Billy Magnussen is suitably horrifying as the well-meaning Byron who keeps seeing the transactional benefits of technology. It's really easy to see him as a more cunning version of Mark Zuckerberg, to be honest. Ray Romano brings the house down as Herbert, Hazel's father, who has shunned all human contact and prefers to spend his days with a sex doll. The rest of the cast are decent.
Music & Other Departments
Keefus Ciancia's score is subtle yet effective. Jordan Ferrer's production design is terrific.
The production design and dry humour in the narrative are terrific, and land because of their relatability.
Certain jokes and scenes might repulse the audience. This is a polarizing show, and not meant for all audiences.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, though the season finale caught me off-guard.
Do I recommend it?
This is a fascinating show about love and surveillance in the age of technology, and will certainly make you think about privacy. Do give it a watch if you can.