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TV Review: 'Starstruck' Season 3 - A Heartfelt Exploration of Life, Love, and Friendship

By Joao Nsita

Starstruck -HBO/BBC/Avalon UK

Starstruck, the hit romantic comedy series created by and starring the immensely talented Rose Matafeo, returns for its highly anticipated third season on Max, and it's a triumphant celebration of life's messy, beautiful transitions. This time around, the show shifts its focus from the central romance between Jessie (Matafeo) and movie star Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel) to explore the complexities of friendship, personal growth, and the bittersweet reality of moving on.

Season 3 picks up right where the previous season left off, with Jessie and Tom sharing a passionate kiss in the middle of a filthy pond. However, in a bold and unexpected move, the show fast-forwards through their entire relationship in a poignant two-minute montage, showcasing the highs and lows of their love story before ultimately ending in another breakup. This daring storytelling choice sets the stage for a fresh and emotionally resonant chapter in Jessie's life.

Fast-forward two years, and we find Jessie at her best friend Kate's (Emma Sidi) wedding, navigating the challenges of being a maid of honor to a heavily pregnant bride. The reunion between Jessie and Tom at the reception is both awkward and heartfelt, as he reveals his engagement to another woman, and Jessie finds herself drawn to Liam (Lorne MacFadyen), a charming electrician who shares her sense of humor.

One of the standout elements of Starstruck Season 3 is its ability to balance humor and heart effortlessly. The show's signature wit and clever writing are on full display, with Matafeo delivering laugh-out-loud moments that showcase her impeccable comedic timing. However, beneath the laughter lies a deep and genuine exploration of the characters' emotional journeys, as they navigate the ups and downs of adulthood.

The ensemble cast shines brighter than ever this season, with each character given the opportunity to grow and evolve. Emma Sidi's portrayal of Kate is a particular highlight, as she grapples with the impending changes in her friendship with Jessie once her baby arrives. Joe Barnes as Joe, Jessie's former manager, brings a delightful mix of chaos and vulnerability to his role, especially as he deals with his own divorce. The scenes between Jessie and her friends are some of the most heartfelt and relatable moments of the season, capturing the essence of how friendships shift and adapt to life's major milestones.

While the romance between Jessie and Tom takes a backseat this season, their undeniable chemistry remains a captivating throughline. Matafeo and Patel's performances are electric, conveying the depth of their connection even as they navigate the complexities of moving on with their lives. The introduction of Constance Labbé as Tom's fiancée, Clem, adds a new layer of intrigue to their dynamic, as Jessie grapples with the realization that Clem is not only beautiful but also genuinely kind and wonderful.

Starstruck Season 3 also excels in its pacing and use of time jumps, a storytelling device that has become a signature of the series. By boldly leaping forward in time, the show allows its characters to evolve and grow in meaningful ways, showcasing the transformative power of life's transitions. Jessie's journey from a 28-year-old in the pilot to a 33-year-old by the end of this season is a testament to the show's commitment to authentic character development.

Starstruck -HBO/BBC/Avalon UK

One of the most poignant themes explored in Season 3 is the pressure many millennials feel to have their lives "figured out" by a certain age. As Jessie watches her friends get married, have children, and buy houses, she grapples with the sense that she's falling behind. However, the show's message is ultimately one of self-acceptance and the realization that everyone's path is unique. In a standout moment, Jessie's blunt family friend Amelia (played by co-writer Alice Snedden) delivers a much-needed reality check, reminding Jessie that her life is actually going okay and that she should appreciate what she has.

Starstruck Season 3 is a love letter to the beauty and messiness of life, friendship, and the journey of self-discovery. It celebrates the idea that there is no singular "right" way to navigate the twists and turns of adulthood and that sometimes, the greatest love stories are the ones we have with ourselves and the people who stand by us through it all.

Matafeo's performance is a tour de force, showcasing her incredible range as both a comedic and dramatic actress. She brings a raw authenticity to Jessie that makes her struggles and triumphs feel deeply relatable, inviting viewers to see a bit of themselves in her journey. The supporting cast, including Minnie Driver in an iconic appearance as Tom's agent, Cath, elevates the series to new heights, creating a rich and vibrant world that feels both familiar and fresh.

Visually, the show continues to capture the essence of London, with each location serving as a character in its own right. The cinematography and editing work together seamlessly to create a world that is both charming and grounded, perfectly complementing the show's blend of humor and heart.

As Starstruck enters its third season, it's clear that the series has matured and evolved alongside its characters. It's a testament to the show's brilliant writing and performances that it can tackle such weighty themes as heartbreak, self-doubt, and the fear of change with such grace and wit. By shifting its focus from the central romance to the importance of friendship and personal growth, "Starstruck" has cemented its place as one of the most authentic and relatable comedies on television.

In a television landscape saturated with rom-coms that often prioritize fairy tale endings over emotional depth, "Starstruck" stands out as a beacon of authenticity and heart. It's a show that celebrates the messiness of life and the beauty of human connection in all its forms, reminding us that sometimes the greatest love stories are the ones we least expect.

As the season comes to a close, it's impossible not to feel a deep sense of affection for Jessie and the colorful cast of characters that populate her world. "Starstruck" has always been a show about the joys and challenges of navigating adulthood, and Season 3 delivers on that promise in spades. It's a season that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between, all while reminding you of the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

In conclusion, Starstruck Season 3 is a triumph of comedy, storytelling, and emotional depth. It's a must-watch for anyone who has ever struggled with the pressures of adulthood, the complexities of love, or the fear of change. With its perfect blend of humor and heart, "Starstruck" has solidified its place as one of the most authentic and relatable shows on television, and I can't wait to see where Jessie's journey takes us next.

Buy Season 1 of Starstruck on Amazon


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