‘All I Know About Love’ Review: A Fun Peacock Friendship Drama

There’s enough charm and liveliness in this Peacock series about four friends to convince you that it’s not too early for a TV memoir that’s only a decade old.

The first (and hopefully not the last) season of “All I Know About Love” has seven episodes. It’s an odd length for a TV season, but this is a show where this lack of a round number makes perfect sense. It’s such an effective form of telememory that every episode feels like the last. A snapshot in time of four friends living in London in the summer of 2012, Peacock’s original captures the feeling of a group of people who recognize that their whole life is ahead of them, made up of chapters that could begin or end. at any time. Packed with mid-’20s energy and angst, occasional flippancy and true heart, ‘All I Know About Love’ justifies giving a date just a decade later a comprehensive and thoughtful revisit. .

Based on the book of the same name by Dolly Alderton, who leads the adaptation effort, the first season follows Maggie (Emma Appleton) as she navigates life in London a few years out of college and without a steady job at full-time. Her partner-in-crime and best friend Birdy (Bel Powley) takes a more measured approach to dating and postdoctoral risk-taking, as opposed to Maggie’s spirited nighttime search for adventure. Amara (Aliyah Odoffin) is the furthest along in a traditional career, but nurtures her own creative ambitions. At the start of the show, Nell (Marli Siu) is the only member of the quartet of friends who is in a long-term relationship, returning home to some romantic stability after the group’s shared evenings.

After clearly defining who these young women are, “All I Know About Love” gives each young woman the opportunity to grow beyond easy one-sentence descriptions of what separates them from their close friends. As Alderton’s closest analogue, Maggie attracts the most attention. The show goes through his adventures and heartaches in great detail, though it’s apt to compare his romantic choices to those made by everyone else in the inner circle.

The cheeky opening disclaimer posits that these experiences were all taken from real life, except for those that weren’t. Sometimes you can feel the creative liberties taken to energize a sequence or two. (Maggie’s eventual work on a hit reality TV show is probably the clearest example.) But there’s a specificity to much of this season – conversations around a dining room table. eating job interview outfits to the phrase “fajitas of commiseration” — it also feels personal not to have roots in something etched in a real person’s memory. The framed posters of Black Keys, the rise of Tinder and the late-night dance parties backed by Ting Tings all look like natural outgrowths of 2012 rather than retroactive details of a particular time and place. .

“All I Know About Love”

Matt Squire/Peacock/Universal International Studios Limited

And that goes for the wider exchanges between these friends as well, a dynamic that can’t help but be tied to people who weren’t necessarily discovering themselves in the middle of a city as it hosted the Olympics in summer. The four are united by something that goes beyond common interests, problems or perspectives. The season offers plenty of instances where the four of them aren’t exactly aligned in a traditional “best friend” fashion. (This stands out the most between Maggie and Birdy, both in the present of the series and in flashbacks to various points in their friendship. When centered on the two of them, the series has the feel of “The Pursuit of Love” with two modern women are inextricably linked despite the many ways they begin to diverge.) As the rest of “All I Know About Love” says, life is filled with people’s choices for reasons you can’t explain. Sometimes you are physically attracted to unbearable people. Other times, it’s easy to push away the people you really care about. Friendships can be a comfort blanket or a distraction. Romantic relationships too. This show takes an all-encompassing approach that never feels overwhelming.

So this season is less of a hodgepodge of fun memories to share over dinner parties and more of a meaningful collection of observations that fit together nicely in the context of a TV episode. Directors China Moo-Young and Julia Ford find an ideal middle ground between simply showcasing the experiences of Maggie, Birdy, Amara and Nell and drifting into a surreal interpretation of what life is like in your twenties. There are dance sequences and first dates and hookup montages that all feel attached to something tangible.

The difference between these four friends really emerges from the performances themselves. You buy that they all care about each other and would work as chosen co-conspirators to find ways to live life shamelessly through bars and beds and all the thorny steps in between. But it’s not just a handful of riffs on the same young Londoner. Powley’s Birdy is sometimes more timid than the others, but there are pivotal moments when she is the fiercest of the bunch. The back and forth between a desk job and the life of an artist would easily seem mundane if Odoffin didn’t add something of herself to Amara. When Nell wants something more from this stage of her life, Siu goes to great lengths to make sure those decisions feel more honest than selfish. Appleton has the most screen time to find the hidden corners of Maggie’s personality, but she doesn’t waste any of it.

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE --

“All I Know About Love”

Matt Squire/Peacock/Universal International Studios Limited

“All I Know About Love” often rejects the clean and tidy. These central characters make rash decisions, whether driven by naivety or gleeful recklessness, without the show losing control as well. Nor should consolation (or celebration) with friends afterwards be accompanied by a moral conversation. They have the likes of Maggie’s parents and boss, Roisin (an insanely fun-loving Jill Halfpenny) to remind them to savor this decade of their lives, even though there are times when such sage advice from elders might seem too much. compound and deep.

On the surface, this seems like the kind of season that should end with Maggie proclaiming, “I’ve never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was 24. Jesus, does anyone ‘a?” But the key to “All I Know About Love” is that it’s not about putting the challenges and highest heights of your twenties on a distant pedestal. They’re delivered with the immediacy of someone who still internalizes a lot of those messages that these characters hear but haven’t yet fully absorbed. Even these poetic pep talks evoke the idea that other people are the stars of Maggie’s (and, by extension, Alderton’s) story.

Still, the season finale is a pretty effective pilot for another stage in Maggie’s life. It’s a totally different phenomenon than the recent series of shows meandering through their first year before finally capturing what makes the story worth pursuing. Figuring things out is the fuel that drives “All I Know About Love,” and its first season reads like the first chapter of a book that’s still being written. Hopefully, there will be more time to spend with these four before long.

Grade: B+

“All I Know About Love” premieres Thursday, August 25 on Peacock. The complete first season is available to stream.

Register: Stay up to date with the latest film and TV news! Sign up for our email newsletters here.

Comments are closed.