Where Are The ‘Modern Love’ Season 2 People Now? True Stories Behind ‘Modern Love’ Season 2

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Where Are The ‘Modern Love’ Season 2 People Now? True Stories Behind ‘Modern Love’ Season 2

The first season on Amazon Prime Video’s Modern Love landed on the streamer in October of 2019, a.k.a. an eternity ago. So it’s reasonable that you forgot just how many tears you shed in the process of getting through a whole season. (A lot.)

So grab a box of tissues, because it’s time to make your way through Season 2, which dropped on August 13. The new season of the anthology-style show is emotional, sentimental, and heartbreaking at times, featuring stories of coming out, missed connections, falling in love, and even falling out of love. And of course, each episode is based on an essay adapted from the New York Times column of the same name, written by real people. We tracked down each essay to determine the differences between them and their corresponding episodes, as well as where the writers are now. And may we suggest you read the essays, all linked below—but again, don’t forget the tissues.

David Cleary

Episode One, “On a Serpentine Road, With the Top Down”

The first episode of Season 2 tells the story of a woman who cannot seem to part with her late husband’s old car, despite it constantly breaking down on her. It’s a heartbreaking but hopeful episode that makes the case for occasionally allowing things in our lives to carry sentimental value. The story was adapted from Doris Iarovici’s 2016 essay of the same name, and is largely faithful to her account. The show did change a few details: in reality, Iarovici has two kids with her late husband instead of one, and her partner has four children and two former wives. In her essay, she did debate selling the car, but did not go through with it, and though her partner is understanding and caring in regards to the sentimentality of the car—and sounds like he would have bought the car back for her had she sold it—that part is fiction, too. Iarovici is the author of three books and a psychiatrist who currently works at Harvard University.

Episode Two, “The Night Girl Finds a Day Boy”

The second episode of the season tells the love story of the “Night Girl”—who has a circadian rhythm disorder called delayed sleep phase syndrome—and the “Day Boy”. The lovebirds don’t exist on the same sleep schedule, but ultimately make it work, moving in together in an apartment filled with skylights, always bright by the light of either the sun or the moon. The episode is extremely faithful to Amanda Gefter’s 2016 essay—the only part of the episode that was fictionalized is her sleeping through a lunch date with her boyfriend’s mom. Gefter is a science writer specializing in fundamental physics and cosmology and the author of “Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn”. She and her Day Boy, Justin, got married in 2017. “He proposed on a beach and it was 2:00 in the morning, and we were basically the only people there,” she told the New York Times. “It was so meaningful to me that he had proposed during my day — that this thing that had almost broken us, the biggest challenge in our relationship, had led to this beautiful moment where it felt like we had the entire universe to ourselves.”

modern love

David Cleary

Episode Three, “Strangers on a Train”

Episode 3 is based on a Tiny Love Story written in 2020 by Cecilia Pesao. Only 11 sentences long, the episode starring Kit Harington and Lucy Boynton took some creative liberty with the story. In reality, Cecilia’s train crush found her on Twitter a few weeks after their planned meet-up had been foiled by the pandemic, and they exchanged numbers then. Esquire talked to Cecilia about the train ride, where she is now, and whether or not she has told the guy their story was being made into a Modern Love episode (spoiler: she hasn’t!) before the episode premiered. Read her interview here.

modern love

Christopher Saunders

Episode Four, “A Life Plan for Two, Followed by One”

The series’ fourth installment follows a young girl navigating a lifelong crush on her best childhood friend. It’s based on Marina Shifrin’s 2013 essay, which it’s largely faithful to. While the episode is set in Brooklyn and Shifrin and her best friend grew up in Illinois, the two really did grow up together, sleep together once in college, and eventually, years later, rekindle their friendship. Today, Marina Shifrin is a comedy writer and author of a book of essays called “30 Before 30: How I Made a Mess of My 20s, and You Can Too”.

Episode Five, “Am I …? Maybe This Quiz Will Tell Me”

Episode 5 follows a young girl trying to figure out her sexuality—with the help of BuzzFeed quizzes. It is loosely based on Katie Heaney’s 2018 essay “Am I Gay or Straight? Maybe This Fun Quiz Will Tell Me.” This episode diverges most from its source material, taking Heaney’s essay about dating in adulthood and grafting it onto a school-aged girl. While the episode’s protagonist discovers her sexuality in grade school, Heaney, in reality, was 28 when she matched with Lydia through an OkCupid personality assessment quiz. Heaney did work at BuzzFeed herself, though, crafting the kind of quizzes taken by the protagonist of her essay’s episode. She’s the author of five books with a sixth forthcoming, and works as a senior writer at New York Magazine’s The Cut. She and Lydia got married in April 2019.

Episode Six, “In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses”

The sixth episode of the Amazon series follows a former soldier, who gets a divorce following his wife’s affair with her coworker. He then, wildly enough, meets the ex-wife of the man who his ex-wife cheated on him with in the waiting room of his psychologist’s office. They go for coffee and connect, which begets his journey to healing. The episode is starkly similar to Benjamin Hertwig’s 2016 essay—he even really ran into his wife’s lover at the grocery store—aside from one fairly large detail: he did not ever date the woman he ran into in the psychologist’s office. Benjamin Hertwig is a Canadian writer, painter, and ceramicist, and the author of a book of poetry called Slow War.

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Episode Seven, “How Do You Remember Me?”

“How Do You Remember Me?” shows the casual run-in of two former lovers, and their differing memories of one fateful night spent together years before. It is based on Andrew Rannells’ 2017 essay “During a Night of Casual Sex, Urgent Messages Go Unanswered,” and written and directed by Rannells himself. While the episode, unlike the essay, also explores Rannells’ date’s point of view on the situation, the plot is unchanged from his written account of the story. Best known for his roles in The Book of Mormon, Girls, and The Boys in the Band, Rannells still lives and works in New York—where he really did walk by his former lover on Ninth Avenue two years after the unfortunate end to their date.

modern love

David Cleary

Episode Eight, “A Second Embrace, With Hearts and Eyes Open”

The final episode of the season, “A Second Embrace, With Hearts and Eyes Open” is based on Mary Elizabeth Williams’ 2014 essay of the same name, and is extremely faithful to her story of love, loss, and reconciliation. She’s a writer, speaker, consultant, and currently a doctoral student of Medical Humanities at Drew University. She’s also the author of two books, the most recent of which is on her experience with metastatic melanoma and the immunotherapy clinical trial discussed in the episode that saved her life. Her and her husband are still together today, with one of their daughters is in high school and the other in college.

Lauren Kranc is an editorial assistant at Esquire, where she covers pop culture and television, with entirely too narrow of an expertise on Netflix dating shows.

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