'Love Life' Bosses and William Jackson Harper on Season 2 and 'When Harry Met Sally' (Exclusive)

William Jackson Harper in Love Life

Love Life is back, and season 2 follows Marcus (The Good Place breakout William Jackson Harper) as he unexpectedly finds himself navigating the ups and downs of dating in New York City while in his 30s. It’s a notable shift from season 1 of the HBO Max anthology rom-com series, which centered around the twentysomething Darby (Anna Kendrick), who quickly fell in and out of love before ending up with “the one.”  

With the series’ second (and even more charming and relatable) installment kicking off with three episodes on Thursday, Oct. 28, showrunners Sam Boyd, Rachelle Williams and Bridget Bedard as well as Harper explain how this season compares to the rom-com classic When Harry Met Sally, and how Marcus’ love life will differ from season 1. 

Love Life 2

“We were very conscious of wanting to tell different stories,” says Boyd, who is also the creator of the series. And although season 2 follows a similar format of seeing the central character going on several dates and falling in and out of love from episode to episode, the context is very different. 

Notably, Darby was uncomfortable with not having found love yet, while Marcus is uncomfortable for different reasons. Especially after being forced to start over from scratch thanks to the sudden end of his marriage with a woman he thought was the one. Now, he’s unsure about his life and where it goes next.

“It's about what happens when you have set up a life that looks like the thing that you want, but then all of a sudden it implodes around you and you have to reconfigure everything,” Harper says. 

“To follow the chaos and then be out of sync with your peers and wondering what happened, it just gave us a lot of stories to tell,” Bedard says, while Williams adds that season 2 tests the limits of the show’s premise by suggesting “that there is no one.”  

But just as Marcus had the rug pulled out from under him, he meets Mia (Jessica Williams), who, alongside his sister, Ida (SNL star Punkie Johnson), and best friend, Yogi (Chris “Comedian CP” Powell), slowly helps him put his life back together. While he loved working with the entire cast, when it came to the 32-year-old star, Harper says she was “someone you always find yourself flirting with in order to make a good impression.”

And this is what sets up “the When Harry Met Sally structure to this season,” Bedard teases.  

Love Life 2

While the 1989 film written by Nora Ephron and starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan wondered if men and women can ever be friends as it followed the lives of the characters over a decade of chance encounters, Love Life gives the story a modern spin. “It’s a long journey with a lot of very strange detours,” Harper says. "But in the midst of that, it's very funny and it gets very real and gets scary at some points. The stakes get very high in a lot of episodes.”  

And those stakes include several very big changes and unexpected challenges in Marcus’ life, and not only when it comes to dating again. Even though chance encounters with Ola (Ego Nwodim) and Becca (Leslie Bibb) lead to very unexpected and lingering consequences. During those moments, “he’s learning to ask hard questions of himself and to take some risks,” the actor explains.  

Of course, what comes of those answers remains to be seen. “Marcus is a guy who’s growing in ways that he didn’t expect he would be growing in at the age that he is,” Harper concludes.  

Love Life season 2 debuts with three episodes on Thursday, Oct. 28. Want to watch more? New episodes premiere Nov. 4 and Nov. 11 while season 1 is now streaming on HBO Max. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)

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