HBO Max's Answer to 'Black Mirror' Is a Delight

Review: Brilliantly sardonic comedy Made For Love features technology interfering with relationships.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Expertise Film and TV Credentials
  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
3 min read
Cristin Milioti and Billy Magnussen standing beside each other as Hazel and Byron in Made For Love.

Cristin Milioti and Billy Magnussen as Hazel and Byron in Made For Love.

Photograph by Beth Dubber/HBO Max

Any show involving technology gone wrong tends to be labeled as the next Black Mirror. And that's not going to change here with HBO Max's Made For Love.

The dark comedy is heading into its second season, satirizing cultish tech startups that attempt to improve romantic relationships. It's a breezy blast -- the episodes are only 30 minutes long, so you never feel like you're stuck in a comedy-drama hybrid.

Made For Love centers on a tech startup called Gogul -- seriously, that's it's name -- which has designed a chip to facilitate the ultimate human connection. Called Made For Love, the chip allows one person in the relationship to track their partner and see whatever they lay eyes on.

How this plays out: In season 1, CEO Byron Gogul (Billy Magnussen) implants a chip in his wife Hazel Green's (Cristin Milioti) head. She eventually nearly commits suicide, demands a divorce and asks for the chip to be immediately removed.

Ray Romano as Herb holding his sex doll partner.

Ray Romano as Herb and his sex doll partner named Diane.

Photograph by Beth Dubber/HBO Max

The final episode of season 1 sees Hazel return to Byron, but this time she's the one taking advantage of him: using his technology to treat her dad's (Ray Romano) cancer.

In season 2, Hazel, now in relative control of her life, explores the Hub, Gogul's mysterious facility. The worker minions there develop the relationship-improving technology to even more extreme and misjudged ends.

Absolutely every character in this show is insane, unpredictable and goofily charming. Romano's Herb lives in a caravan (well, in season 2 it's a replica of his caravan inside the Hub) with his sex doll wife named Diane. He has few ambitions in life, but his reconnection with Hazel is commendable.

Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen and Sarunas J. Jackson looking at a dolphin tank in Made For Love.

Inside the Hub.

Photograph by Beth Dubber/HBO Max

Hazel, meanwhile, is secretly drugging Herb so he can be treated without ever finding out she's agreed to let Byron help them. Hazel and Byron's twisted relationship -- Byron essentially imprisoned and controlled Hazel for 10 years -- kind of gets a fresh start, but this time Byron wants to learn what a healthy relationship actually looks like.

The balance of making sure we don't sympathize too much with Byron is capably handled -- he continues to do evil things for the benefit of his company -- and Milioti plays Hazel with the perfect amount of sarcasm; Hazel spends ample time death-glaring Byron and his Gogul "Gamily" (seriously, that's what they call themselves).

Season 2 advances Gogul's mind-merging technology to cover more concepts involving human consciousness. These ideas (that won't be named to avoid spoilers) have been covered in shows such as Severance and, yes, Black Mirror -- ideas refracted through very different tones.

None have attempted Made For Love's goofy thriller satire. Made For Love was a pleasant surprise when it first came out, snappy and sardonic and easy to munch on. Only four episodes of season 2 were made available for review, but all of them have hit the spot so far. Plus, this season's futuristic and maze-like settings provide even more intrigue.

An incredibly fun and non-taxing take on the horrors of modern technology.

HBO Max is releasing two episodes of Made For Love season 2 (there are eight in total) every Thursday.

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