Friday, October 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Modern Love' - Maggie Relies on Guzmin for Emotional Support in 'When the Doorman Is Your Main Man'

Amazon's Modern Love - Episode 1.01 "When the Doorman Is Your Main Man"

For a single woman in New York and the guy who stands watch in her building, their special bond proves lasting. A beautiful story about single motherhood and the unlikely characters that lift you up and unexpectedly shape your life.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Amazon's Modern Love.

"When the Doorman Is Your Main Man" was written by John Carney and directed by John Carney

The structure of this premiere could easily rub some people the wrong way. Without the proper execution, it could come across as an older man trying to tell a younger woman what to do with her life and her body. The execution allows it to come across in a more sweet and simplistic way. Sure, the tone is absolutely saccharine. It articulates that the relationship between Maggie and her doorman Guzmin is the most consistent and loving relationship currently in her life. When she needs support, he is the one she turns to. He happens to be the face she sees every day. She can always count on him being at the front desk or standing outside the apartment building. He is a steady constant in her life. Everything else is continually influx for her. She is searching for love. She gets pregnant and becomes a single parent. Guzmin is with her every step of the way. He is the one who gets emotional upon seeing the sonogram for the first time. The baby's father doesn't want to change his life at all. Things flamed out between him and Maggie fairly quickly. She insists that she doesn't need anything from him. She would like there to be some kind of relationship between him and his daughter. But it's completely his decision. Guzmin was ultimately right to suggest that this guy was empty and couldn't provide a happy and fulfilling life for a family. Every assertion Guzmin makes about Maggie's love life ultimately happens to be true. He tells her if guys will call the following day. He tells her if the relationship is destined to last. The show wants it to be sweet in the end by saying he could make all of these determinations simply by looking into her eyes. That's a connection that is solid and genuine. He cares about her and wants to protect her. It's him going above and beyond his job as the doorman. But he largely serves only in that role as well. The story never fleshes him further out as a character. He is simply the emotional support Maggie needs through the various changes of her life. It can feel one-sided in that way. He gives her so much. He opens the door. But he also helps set up the nursery and even babysits when a last minute meeting pops up for her. It's really the only relationship the narrative actually delves into for both of them. That highlights how it is a form of love. It's completely platonic. They fill each other's lives in meaningful ways. It's significant that Guzmin exists mostly to tell Maggie that anything is possible. She is brilliant and smart. She is always reading and learning new things. Everything may not also be new to him but he wants to hear about her day. It's a friendship that never changes and never worsens. Even when she takes a job away in Los Angeles, she does so with the full confidence that she can succeed because she has had his support in the past. Again, that shouldn't prevent her from having a full and fulfilling life outside of this relationship. It's not the sole thing that defines their lives in this world. It's just the primarily focus of the story this particular episode is telling. It makes it rewarding when she returns to the city five years later with a guy Guzmin instantly improves of. But he's mostly happy to see Maggie and Sarah again. This is something that meant so much to him. He keeps the reminder on his desk even though things have changed. It's a fairly simple story overall. That being the execution though really helps the show establish itself as something that may not rely on gimmicks in order to lure the audience into thinking something before some significant change happens. Maggie's life does evolve here. She becomes a mother. She finds love. But it's just a natural evolution that helps further illuminate the story and what her life is capable of when she has the support of someone else in this world.