In the first season of HBO Max’s Made for Love, Hazel (Cristin Milioti) went on the run after discovering her tech billionaire husband Byron (Billy Magnussen) had implanted a chip in her head that allowed him to monitor her every move. With nowhere else to go, she reconnected with her father Herb (Ray Romano), a quirky grump with a sex doll for a girlfriend. After spending much of the season avoiding Byron at all costs, Hazel finally agreed to move back in with him on the condition that he treat her father’s advanced cancer. Season 2 picks up promptly after these events.
MADE FOR LOVE: SEASON 2: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: Herb stares into the pool, mesmerized.
The Gist: Hazel (Cristin Milioti) is back where she started. Though she fantasizes about beating her husband Byron’s (Billy Magnussen) brains in with a golf club, she’s stuck at The Hub with him once more, this time in an effort to save her father’s life. Her father Herb (Ray Romano) is completely oblivious to this, having been drugged and gently dropped into a replica of his home within The Hub. He’s knocked out, treated for his cancer, and wakes up back at “home” a short time later, none the wiser. While Byron hopes Hazel’s stay in The Hub will lead to their reconciliation, she’s hostile as ever towards him, making it painfully clear that they’ll be gone (forever) as soon as her dad’s treatment has ended. To her surprise, Byron agrees to take the chip out of her brain (and has his removed, too), but it’s not out of the goodness of his heart; Byron plans on uploading both of their consciousnesses into his virtual biosphere. Yeah, the dude is still a weirdo.
While Hazel does her best to keep up appearances with Herb and Byron dreams of winning his wife back, the FBI are sending in a man of their own to investigate the increasingly strange goings-on at The Hub. They’re determined to expose Gogol for the (probable) sociopath he is, but getting a guy on the inside – in this case, Jay (Sarunas Jackson) – is no easy feat. On the topic of said sociopath, his little project with his and Hazel’s consciousnesses gets off to a creepy ass start, a grim indicator of what is to come for our leading lady and her dreams of getting away from her nightmarish Elon Musk husband when this is all over.
Our Take: Made for Love marches to the beat of its own drum. A winning combination of compelling writing and stellar performances, the series might occasionally play a few familiar sci-fi tunes, but in the hands of actors like Milioti, Magnussen, and Romano, any tropes feel as fresh as ever. The first season took the idea of an abusive relationship to new heights as Hazel ran for her life from her narcissist billionaire husband, beautifully balancing its weirder elements with more human storylines (like reconnecting with her father). Made for Love has been a zany mixed bag of hefty emotional moments, slapstick comedy, and whip smart satire since Day 1, and Season 2 only continues that streak. It’s bleak and bizarre and wacky and wonderful. Very few shows on TV at the moment are willing to do what Made for Love does time and time again.
In the series’ second season, Milioti is as brilliant as ever, doing some of the best work of her career as trapped, furious Hazel Green. No longer does she have any interest in playing along; it’s so much fun to watch her essentially tell Byron to fuck off every time they share a scene. Magnussen, who so memorably played the endearing dummy in Game Night, is able to flip egomaniac Byron Gogol on and off like he’s got a switch, turning on the manipulative charm when needed and sinking to creepy new depths behind closed doors. Then there’s Romano, so comfy in Herb’s shoes it feels like he’s been playing him for years. Combined with a standout cast of supporting players, this trio makes for some truly excellent television. Season 2 of Made for Love might go to weirder places than viewers have seen before, but if this show has lodged itself into your head the way it has ours (and Hazel’s, at least for a time) you’ll undoubtedly love the second season just as much as the first.
Sex and Skin: None.
Parting Shot: Byron’s latest creepy project comes to life as a slow cover of “Just the Two of Us” fades in.
Sleeper Star: Made for Love belongs to Cristin Milioti, who turns in one of her best performances yet as Hazel Green. Her performance in Season 1 as a woman on the verge who finally breaks free (or at least tries to) was deeply memorable, and the second time around, she continues to deliver. Season 2 Hazel is angry and on a mission, openly resentful of Byron and the fact that he is likely the only person who can save his father. There’s a bit of manic desperation in Milioti’s performance, adding another fascinating layer to it all. Made for Love is excellent television, but Milioti alone is reason enough to watch.
Most Pilot-y Line: No pilot-y lines here. Made for Love hits the ground running in its second season premiere.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Zany, sharp, and entertaining as ever, Made for Love remains one of HBO Max’s best original series.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines, hogging the mic at karaoke, and thirst-tweeting. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.
The post Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Made for Love’ Season 2 on HBO Max, The Second Installment of the Zany Sci-Fi Dramedy appeared first on Decider.