Cristin Milioti doesn't think of herself as a romantic comedy heroine. And even though she has starred in a deluxe assortment of romantic comedies, she is more or less correct.

Since her breakout, as Girl yes, the character is name Girl in the Broad-way musical ''Once,'' Milioti has made a career of dismantling - on occasion, eviscerating - the narrative cliches of the happily ever after.

In the ''USS Callister'' episode of ''Black Mirror,'' she plays a computer coder who outmanoeuvres an incel suitor. In an episode of ''Modern Love,'' she stars as a book nook critic who forms a secure attachment with her doorman.

The takeaway of her 2015 movie, ''It Had to be You.'' is that maybe it didn't. And in last summer perfect ''Palm Springs,'' her character uses a time loop to work through her issues. Romance is strictly optional.

''I can survive just fine without you, you know,'' she tells Andy Samberg's Nyles in the movie climax.

''Made for Love,'' a new and very very weird series that premiers, on HBO Max, begins where most rom-coms end. Milioti stars as Hazel, a 30-something woman who is married to Byron [Bailly Magnussen], a handsome tech moghul so overwhelmingly successful that even the Musks and Gateses of the world must feel a little intimidated. But the relationship suffocates her.

Escaping, almost by accident, she encounters the muddle and stress and bother of moving through the world alone. Well, not quite alone. Byron has implanted software in her brain.

In the opening of the show, Hazel flounders onscreen looking like a half-drowned mermaid - wet, disheveled, in a scaly green dress and smeared eye makeup. She looks exhilarated, frightened, exhausted, confused, defiant, more. Most actors seem to work with a palette of a dozen or so emotions, but Miliot's colors are unlimited.

And she likes to use as many as she can, she won't play characters who aren't fully human. [Which, when it comes to roles for women, is not exactly a given].

''I like playing complicated people,'' she said. ''I didn't get into this to be a handbag to a man's story.''

Milioti didn't have to audition for ''Palm Springs'' - the part was hers after a single meeting - or for ''Made for Love'' another role replete with different things.

''I like to joke that ''Made for Love,'' was made for Milioti, said Alissa Nutting, an executive producer and the author of the novel the show is based on. Nutting knew that Milioti could do drama as well as comedy, often instantaneously.

Cristin Milioti is versatile, not an accessory.

The World Students Society thanks author Alexis Soloski.


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