The Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin-created Netflix series Love points a lens on the messy, complicated and hilarious experiences of new relationships, and it returns for its second season on March 10. The awkwardly budding romance between aspiring screenwriter Gus and recovering sex, drugs and alcohol addict Mickey drives the show, but the latest season sees the latter's new-to-town and naïve roommate Bertie settling in, opening up and forging a life of her own in Los Angeles.
Bertie's played by Claudia O'Doherty — a recent Los Angeles via Australia transplant herself, whose career took off with a writing and acting gig on Inside Amy Schumer. She's since appeared in Trainwreck, written for Michael Bolton's Big Sexy Valentine's Day Special and voiced April on HBO's Animals. Still, it's the character of Bertie who seems to most closely parallel O'Doherty's off-screen life.
Exclaim! spoke to the Love actress on the phone about some of the striking similarities between real life and the show. Here are five ways that the fictional Love mirrors O'Doherty's IRL existence.
5. Living the L.A. dream (or at least trying to)
In the show, Bertie shows up on Mickey's doorstep and the two become roommates and fast friends. O'Doherty herself recently made the move to Los Angeles, putting down roots in the same neighbourhood that the show is set in.
"I live in Silver Lake like my character on the TV show," she says. The actress was actually en route from an apartment-related shopping trip with a friend when we got her on the phone. "I recently moved, I got a nice new apartment and we're trying to have exquisite new furniture." Hopefully, she'll enlist some better movers than Gus proves himself to be on screen.
4. "People are jerks"
While she's certainly not alone in her experiences, O'Doherty can draw from her own past interactions with people — including shitty roommates and "crummy" boyfriends — when it comes to portraying Bertie. She describes Love as "fairly honest," in its depiction of "getting into a relationship with someone and how that's excruciating," but also "how funny that can be and how embarrassing we all act in those situations."
"Everyone's a jerk, in a way," she continues. "People act like real jerks when they're getting into relationships. People are so weird."
Despite their emotional shortcomings, O'Doherty's not condemning the characters on the show as bad people. "I don't think they're particularly outrageously flawed, because they're just real people," she adds. "No one thinks they're a jerk, but we're all jerks."
3. Being a pushover
Sure, Mickey's got her own shit to deal with, but she's not a particularly considerate person to those around her. When she's not toying with Gus's heart, she has a tendency to trample over Bertie's wants or needs too. Being the new girl in town, Bertie pretty much goes along with whatever her "cooler" roomie says, even when she feels super weird about it — something of which O'Doherty can totally relate.
She says she used to go to ridiculous levels just to avoid awkward social lulls. "I'm very uncomfortable with saying what I want and saying no," she explains. "I'm much better at it now, but when I was younger I often get into really weird situations because I just hated to block any conversation or flow. If someone was like "Have you seen that movie?" I would say 'yes' rather than 'no' — even if I hadn't seen it, just to keep the conversation going, which is insane."
O'Doherty also remembers a time she let her roommate run the show (and her eating habits) just to avoid potential conflict.
"I had a roommate who was a vegetarian and I wasn't a vegetarian, but I ate as a vegetarian the entire time we lived together," she says. "I was just too scared to do what I wanted. So, I can draw from those experiences."
Thankfully, O'Doherty gradually learned to assert herself more ("I'm actually really strong!"), and Bertie begins to do the same in the new episodes of Love. "She gets in these ridiculous situations because she says 'yes' to everything, and I hope people find that funny," O'Doherty says. "But it's also fun to start watching her start to build defences for herself and stop doing what everyone tells her to do."
2. Actors do, in fact, get treated like special babies
In season two, we also get to see a lot more of Aria — the teen star of hit TV show Witchita, who is tutored on set by Gus (and played by Apatow's youngest daughter, Iris). Flipping Hollywood stereotypes on their heads, it's actually her parents who prove to be the high maintenance drama queens on the set, though Aria's special treatment is something O'Doherty finds herself starting to get accustomed to in her day-today life.
"I think it's a lot easier and everyone treats you like a special baby if you're acting on a TV show, and that's really nice," she says, speaking to the differences between working as an actor and a writer. "They carry you from the trailer to your set and if you want a snack it's always in your hand. It's very nice and luxurious, and you don't have to use your brain as much. But, it's obviously a more emotional job thinking about how to make things seem real."
"Whereas, when you're writing, it's fun to get to use your brain," she adds. "And it's a different kind of pride you feel, like 'I made this up! This is my idea!'"
1. Unpredictable shit happens (but in TV, they call that improvising!)
The characters on Love get thrown plenty of curveballs in the new season — whether it's the unpredictability of a shroom trip or a chance encounter with an ex — and that element of surprise is something that gets harnessed on the set sometimes, as well.
"They never need us to improvise, but it is a really nice friendly set where once you get through the written words you get to improvise and that's very fun and exciting," O'Doherty says. "You feel like you contribute in that way, it's really fun."
And while she hasn't actually watched season two yet, the actress notes that an improvised bit has already turned up in the trailer. The scene in question finds Mickey coming to Bertie for relationship advice. From bed and in her pyjamas, Bertie notes how "mum-ish" she feels before scolding Mickey with an unscripted "Stop having sex!" and a finger wag.
Season 2 of Love hits Netflix on March 10.