Everything I Know About Love: Five hurdles

By Gen Terblanche25 April 2024

Everything I Know About Love: Five hurdles

Everything I Know About Love executive producer and screenwriter Dolly Alderton is on familiar ground in this Brit comedy-drama about female flatmates. You could say she wrote the book on it, because she did, basing the original memoir’s events and characters on her own life with her best friends. 

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“It’s the most vivid period of my life: my 20s, the decade of wilderness and learning,” Dolly says. “It was about this chorus of friends working out what kind of women we wanted to be when we intersected with the adult world … That sense of women coming together, making a home together, being enmeshed in each other’s domestic lives, being naughty, being mistreated and being mischievous together.” 

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The series is set in London in the midst of the excitement over the 2012 Olympic games, the Diamond Jubilee, and the thrilling possibility of the Mayan Calendar apocalypse. And yes, it’s a millennial nostalgia feast, including some 2007 fashion flashbacks that might make you shriek. But for childhood best friends Maggie (Emma Appleton) and Birdy (Bel Powley) the real gold medal prize will be surviving their flatshare situation with their university friends, Amara (Aliyah Odoffin) and Nell (Marli Siu), as well as London’s rotten dating scene. Four girls, one bathroom and a geyser that can’t quite stretch to three showers? That’s just the first stumbling block. For friendship to stay the course, they’ll need to clear several more. Here are the big friendship wreckers …

Binge Everything I Know About Love Season 1 on Showmax now. 

Hurdle 1: Clutter junction

The flat is an intersection of trophies from drunken nights out, like stolen road signs, and the chaos of daily living. Why is your kitchen light a baguette, how many Audrey Hepburn posters does one flat need and is a giant balloon in the shape of a you-know-what really peak decor? Four friends, four sets of obsessions and different levels of tolerance for mess can turn a cute flat into a war zone, especially when a wild party invades the neat friend’s bedroom sanctuary. 

“It’s quite disgusting living with a bunch of girls in their 20s. I really wanted that. Charlotte (production designer Charlotte Pearson) decided there would never be a radiator shown in our house that wouldn’t have some ratty pants hanging off it,” hints Dolly. 

Hurdle 2: Wardrobe wars

Speaking of pants, sharing a flat might mean having triple the wardrobe options. But that cuts both ways when your favourite date night outfit falls prey to someone’s sticky fingers and you’re all behind on laundry. Did you spill something on my Kate Moss-Topshop collab skirt? Who laddered my tights and tore the zipper out of my snogging dress? Who nicked my interview suit? I need it so I can look like a grownup at my John Lewis interview! Expect a laundry list of questions and accusations. 

Hurdle 3: Living dangerously

The flatmates will have an ongoing battle with the kind of space that gets rented out to kids who are just starting out. In London, that means everything from creeping mould, to dingy lighting (on the upside, if you can’t see the dust, does it even really exist?). 

Everything I Know About Love on Showmax

Marli Siu, who plays Nell, remembers, “Me and my best mate moved to London together and moved into a house in Walthamstow. There was damp all over the place and the shower was broken. Also, there were no windows in some of the bedrooms. But I was so excited to be there and, even if things were bad, I had my best mate and she would leave peanut butter cups outside my room on bad days. It was the experience of not having much else but your best mate.” 

Hurdle 4: The rats & randos

Everything I Know About Love on Showmax

Sharing a flat with four other girls means a roulette of strange men popping up while you’re trying to eat breakfast. Sometimes they’re harmless brothers. Sometimes they’re obsessed with spoken word poetry or worse, just out to nick stuff. Sometimes they’re underfoot, using your stuff and monopolising your girl so much that you want to scream. Worse yet – she’s over at his place so often that you’re starting to forget what she looks like and you have to get pencilled into her appointment diary like a business meeting. And sometimes they’re making her life a misery because he’s so cool (allegedly) that she can’t be her weird little self around him. Apparently, he likes her “in spite of her personality”, the ingrate. You have to treat the rats and randoms like the flu. Pick up the tissues, say bless you and hope she gets over it without too much strain on her heart. 

Hurdle 5: Growing apart

Everything I Know About Love on Showmax

“First and foremost was the central drama of two best girlfriends who’d grown up together, and their story as a romantic story. By which I mean looking at the ups and downs of their relationship with the same kind of focus and lens as you would in a romantic comedy,” says Dolly. But if this was a romantic comedy, it’s one where we’d start the story with the couple, Maggie and Birdy, already together. So you know there’s drama ahead.

“I think people feel, especially when you’re growing up at school etc, that you will make friends and that you will have your best friends. The book pulls that apart,” warns Aliyah Odoffin. “It’s not easy making friends, so when you do, you want to latch onto them for dear life and feel very lucky when you find someone that you think is your best friend. Friendships like that take work to maintain, they aren’t easy as you grow in life. More than anything, it taught me a lot about the complexities of friendships and the rarity of the good ones.” 

Binge Everything I Know About Love Season 1 on Showmax now. 

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