Love Is: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Nuri and Yasir” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the series premiere of Love Is.
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Love Is won’t just renew your faith in the possibility of finding blissful love, but also your faith in what television can offer.


Network
OWN
Creator Mara Brock Akil
Director(s) Mara Brock Akil
Writer(s) Mara Brock Akil
Air Date 6/19/2018
Genre(s) Romance, Drama, Comedy
Good If You Like Black 90s Romance Movies

90s Music

Women Who Have Fairly Mastered Their Professional Life But Struggle In Their Personal

Smooth Talking Brothas

A Show Which Gives Some Guarantees About The End Game Of The Main Romance

Noted Actors
Yasir (Past) William Catlett
Nuri (Past) Michele Weaver
Yasir (Future) Clarke Peters
Nuri (Future) Wendy Davis
Ruby Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing
Carol Tammy Townsend
Sean Tyrone Marshall Brown
Rose Loretta Divine
Will Michael King
Keith Tosin Morohunfola
Derek ?

The Introduction

It all began in 1996. At a coffee shop, Yasir’s friend Sean was talking about this light skinned, curly haired chick he was into. However, it was Yasir who approached her and got her name – Nuri. They didn’t see each other again for another year but when they did, her dreams became reality and she was writing on this show called Marvin. Meanwhile, Yasir was still struggling to make his dreams come true and living with a woman named Ruby who he was at the end of a relationship with.

Not just because the love was gone but because he didn’t have a job. Also, whatever pushed them together was no longer keeping them in some form of bliss. Yasir was ready to move on and so was Ruby. However, I don’t think she expected Yasir to talk to some girl, Nuri, for 6 or so hours, come in after 4 AM, deny her and prefer to be on the coach. Making it where her talking about kicking him out would get no real response.

But, hey, for the first time in Yasir’s life, or first time in a long time, he found clarity. The type which, 21+ years later, gave him the type of life many a viewer has probably dreamed of since they learned what love is.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Yasir is 33, has a child, seemingly doesn’t drink, and might be a practicing Muslim.
    • His mother, Betty, used to be a singer and for reasons unstated, was in jail at one time.
  • Nuri’s age isn’t revealed but we do know she is from Kansas City, her father has been in and out of jail, and she is seeing 4 guys, including Yasir.
    • Will: He is an intern who brings her mail and food.
    • Keith: A posh boy who she sometimes goes to church with and does fancy things.
    • Derek: Seemingly he is the one true bae but isn’t giving the time or effort Nuri needs to think they are serious. However, he is the one she is most invested in.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

If all you’re doing is pointing out problems with no solution, then you’re a critic. You’re not a writer.

Highlights

William Cartlett

This dude is such a smooth talker that, it don’t even matter to you he is romancing Nuri while living in some other woman’s apartment. Because, while you have to give props to Mara Brock Akil, Cartlett’s delivery makes you realize you have no game. NOTHING!

But can we also talk about his versatility? He went from Lala on Black Lightning, another Akil production, where he played a thug so bada** he shifted the tone of the show. But then in this, he is the kind of dude that makes you wanna:

Like, I don’t know what is Cartlett or Akil reminiscing about when we see Yasir courting Nuri but I’m sure many feel put on notice. Not just guys in terms of how to woo a woman but writers period. For line after line, when Yasir was spitting game, it was like someone shooting one three-pointer after another. Heck, running from one end of the field to the other and scoring touchdowns! All the sports analogies you can think of.

Michele Weaver

Nuri smiling at Yasir.

Which isn’t to say Weaver wasn’t doing the damn thing too. She wasn’t just receiving this and you wondering if she may just stick to dry humping and a hand job like she has for the rest of her roster. While she is left a bit vulnerable, maybe impressed, she isn’t some typical woman in a romance movie. For her vulnerability is used to show how special Yasir is. That, as much as he could come off a playa, something about him touches her heart and makes it open. It is through her, perhaps more than Cartlett, that you find yourself wanting to believe in love if you aren’t with someone.

Because I think a lot of people can relate to the idea of sticking to career goals and ticking off signs you made it. You know, getting a house, a car, looking fly and stuff like that. For dating? There is no real guarantees or returns in that investment.

But, as noted, even outside dating, Weaver has something which makes you not just praise Akil for her eye in directing and means of writing, but for the talent she and her casting people have. Since, just taking note of Nuri’s work life and relationship with her mom Carol, that is a show within itself. Cartlett could easily be demoted to a love interest in the show be all about Nuri, and you would be perfectly fine with it.

For, just like Cartlett, you see staying power beyond what Love Is will surely do for their careers.

Betty’s Encouragement

Betty trying to encourage Yasir and not be the only one who believes in him.
Betty (Loretta Divine): But it don’t mean nothing if I’m the only one who believes it.

Though most of the praise goes to our leads, we have to shout out Loretta Divine as Betty real quick. Particularly her giving an encouraging talk to Yasir who is seriously confused about what he is doing and whether he is wasting his time. Not just with Ruby, but also writing scripts and all that. Yet, her words, while not complex or even that poignant, they hit you.

Divine, be it just her natural state or her experience, she takes simple words and puts her hand on your chest through the screen. Giving you a bit of reassurance even if what is said to Yasir doesn’t directly match what is going on with you. To the point, I’m more than 30 minutes out from that scene and I still feel the effects of her words.

On The Fence

Knowing They Eventually Get Together Takes Away From The Will They Or Won’t They?

There is a real plus and minus to knowing Yasir and Nuri will end up together. The plus is, that takes away from all the anxiety of Nuri learning Yasir has a kid, even though that’s a deal breaker for her. Yet, there is this need to wonder how are they going to spin certain situations so that knowing they are each other’s endgame doesn’t ruin the experience? Like, say they break up for whatever reason, knowing they are going to get back together makes whatever time they are apart just frustrating. Maybe even annoying if they get with other people and that person doesn’t compare.

That is perhaps the one thing I’m worried about with knowing these two, despite the stuff Yasir doesn’t have and does have, going on, will end up together.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This) – Recommended

Yasir and Nuri touching hands.

Outside of Anne with an E, no other show has recently gotten me so attached to their characters so quickly. In fact, not since The End of the F***ing World has there been a show I felt so confident in recommending. Which, I know, it is a bit soon to do since we’ve only seen the pilot. However, whether this is one season, two, three or five, there is a love story here we have not seen in decades. Yes, we have gotten a taste of it in movies and some shows released over the years, but a Black couple worth putting on a pedestal? Presenting some kind of ideal or goal? That rarely comes about anymore.

Much less, knowing that, despite their pending fights and BS, they are going to make it out okay? That reassurance, while it takes some tension away, helps remind you why OWN is the premier place for entertainment. Especially if you’re Black. It curates the best and brightest and presents them to you all on one channel. Hell, it’s the main reason I have the package for TV I do now – just to have access to the station.

So here is to what I don’t think will just be a quality production from the network but a potential classic. Something that I will fully be pissed about if it doesn’t get more than Black award show recognition. Because the Akils are overdue, OWN is overdue, and dammit! Weaver and Cartlett seem deserving to not just have the careers of next big things, but golden statues to go with it.

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Such As These Similar Shows

She’s Gotta Have It: While not as romantic, taking note of Nuri having a roster and doing her damn thing professionally, while struggling a bit personally, this maybe one of the few programs which compare.

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