Philadelphia — If you are anything like me, you know that dating is never easy. Oftentimes the shows I watch avoid the challenges of young love and only show happy endings.
In 2021, Gloria Calderón Kellett, the co-creator of “One Day at a Time”, produced the first season of “With Love.” Unlike most romantic comedies, this series shows the reality of what it is like to find love in your 20s and 30s: messy, frustrating and complicated. The show also explores the complexities of cultural expectations and how they influence the characters’ multi-generational, Latino family dynamic.
The Prime Video series stars Emeraude Toubia, who plays Lily Diaz, a hopeless romantic who dreams of finding true love no matter what it takes. In season one of the show, Lily breaks up with her boyfriend after realizing he was not her perfect mate. Soon after, she gets involved with her brother’s best friend, Nick (Desmond Chiam), for a short-lived relationship based on secret “hookups.” Later in the season, Lily meets Santiago (Rome Flynn) and immediately falls head-over-heels for him. The couple ultimately cuts ties after acknowledging their irreconcilable differences regarding their opinions about marriage and the meaning of their relationship.
However, the second season opens a discussion about what it means to find yourself before entering a new relationship. Throughout this season, Lily strives to dedicate more time to herself and her passions, including becoming a makeup artist.
I asked Toubia what this development in her character meant to her, as she has seen Lily grow from the relationships she has had over the course of two seasons.
“It means so much to me,” she said. “It means what I’m looking for, what my girlfriends are looking for, it means what I think a lot of women are looking for in a way, finding ourselves. Sometimes we get lost in the world of our significant other, we get lost in the world of our family, we get lost in the world that society puts on us.”
She also acknowledged that Lily’s newfound independence does not come without its faults.
“I think that’s a beautiful thing that Lily, in a way, does in this season, is finding herself and setting her boundaries,” Toubia said. “She doesn’t always do it right; she doesn’t always make the right decisions. She’s hurt a lot of people along the way, but the fact is that she is recognizing it and is trying to change because none of us are perfect.”
I found this season of the show to be extremely gratifying to watch because it was the most relatable to me. Fans of this series know that Lily Diaz is a scatterbrained romantic who frequently loses her sense of self when she is in a relationship. This season reminded me how important it is to never lose myself in a relationship just because it is exciting. Lily is able to make herself happy first by spending more time with her family and dedicating herself to her interests. In the end, she was much happier and more fulfilled even with the surprising person she started dating again at the end of the season. Despite her chaotic nature, Lily Diaz might just be a character we can all relate to and root for.
Season Two of “With Love” is streaming now on Prime Video.
Alyssa Threadgill, (she/her) is from Philadelphia and covers lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn: @alyssathreadgill.
Edited by Nykeya Woods