There's a line from the golden era of The Simpsons that speaks an uncomfortable life truth in hilarious fashion.
Homer's alone in the lounge watching a TV news report about Springfield's increasing number of disenchanted wives seeking marriage counselling.
"See, Marge, the problem's communication," he yells out to his wife in another room, before delivering the self-satisfied punch line to himself. "Too much communication."
I'd never endorse looking to Homer Simpson for relationship advice, but he does have a point.
Healthy discourse is essential for any relationship to survive the ups, downs and curveballs that life inevitably throws up like a partygoer who's downed one tequila shot too many. But not every fleeting thought or star rating about your last orgasm needs to be relayed to your life partner. Some things are just better kept to yourself.
But what if you couldn't keep them to yourself? What if your partner got live updates on every single thought you had during your day? What if they got reports on your emotional state while GPS pinged back your every move. What if you couldn't access your home's Wi-Fi unless you filled out a survey reviewing your last sex session together?
My answer to all these "what ifs" is the same; life would suck and divorce and break-up rates would skyrocket. The antagonist in Neon's new black comedy Made for Love has a different take: lifelong matrimonial happiness.
He is quite wrong.
Made for Love is the newest in the burgeoning genre of tech-inspired romance horrors. It follows in the near-future footsteps of Netflix's The One, which presented a world where your perfect soulmate was only a DNA test away, and any number of Black Mirror episodes that extrapolate on how speculative technological solutions to love and romance will inevitably lead to nightmarish outcomes.
In Made for Love a computer chip gets implanted into you and your partner's brains. Once successfully installed in your respective noggins the chips sync together and boom! you're never alone with your thoughts again. And neither is your significant other.
As the inventor of the chip explains on the show, "it's a glorified spy cam". She says this right before revealing that all their experiments in syncing a pair of chips into their lab dolphins have resulted in one of the two dying.
This minor tech fault makes reclusive tech billionaire Byron Gogol decide against having his company's experimental chip implanted into his brain, despite his joyous enthusiasm for the project. However, this change of heart comes only after he's given the order for his wife Hazel to be drugged, knocked out and surreptitiously implanted with her own chip from which he has been collecting data against her knowledge for months.
Already feeling trapped inside The Hub, the luxurious hi-tech compound where they live and work and which she's not allowed to leave, her frustrated anger reaches breaking point upon learning that the chip has been implanted and is relaying her every thought, mood and impulse back to Gogol's scientists.
A suicide attempt becomes a breakout when her drowning is thwarted by one of The Hub's dolphins who nudges her towards an underwater exit.
Finally free, except for the tracking device in her brain, she escapes to the small town she calls home to hide out with her dad. The problem being, of course, that the chip is pinging back not just her location but everything she sees and hears.
With Hazel hiding with her down-and-out dad and his synthetic partner (aka a sex doll), the series revolves around trying to get a divorce from her controlling, incredibly rich and famous husband while also trying to get the chip out of her head.
The show's steered by superb comic performances by Cristin Milioti as Hazel, the wife on the run, and good ol' Ray Romano who plays her deadbeat, sex doll-loving dad.
Despite its futuristic technologies, the series wisely doesn't get bogged down with how any of it actually works. It's more concerned with commenting on controlling behaviours and the difficulties of escaping toxic and manipulative relationships. There's also brutally violent dismemberment, sexual subordination, shoot-outs and an attempted kidnapping of the aforementioned synthetic partner.
Yes, Made for Love is a wild ride into the darker side of comedy. If you didn't think someone getting their fingers chopped off with an axe couldn't be funny, well, you'd be wrong. Although the comedy here isn't uproariously funny, it is clever funny and the show confidently balances its dark humour with needed moments of serious drama.
My partner and I watched the series together. We both enjoyed it immensely but haven't felt the need to talk about it since. Some things can just be left unspoken.