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‘Starstruck’ is a Superb Romance to Start in the New Year

Rose Matafeo and Nikesh Patel in HBO's Starstruck
©HBO

Did you miss HBO’s Starstruck while it was airing in 2021? That’s completely fine because the new year is an excellent time to start watching. The series begins on New Year’s Eve in an episode literally titled “NYE” when Jessie (Rose Matafeo) sleeps with famous movie star Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel) and the rest of it…well, you’ve read the romance books—you know how it goes.

For starters, as someone who absolutely cannot stand the famous person meets a regular person trope, it was more surprising to me than anyone else when I realized from the first episode alone that Jessie and Tom were about to land on our Best of 2021 lists. The chemistry between Matafeo and Patel is peak romantic comedy excellence and without question the best we’ve seen all year, even with the number of films we’ve watched in the genre. 

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For Ted Lasso fans who ship Roy Kent and Keeley Jones as fervently as we do, you’d love the chemistry burning with these two as well. Though different tropes, the performances within Starstruck are what makes it superb television, nevertheless. As we watch their love unfold, fold over, and all sorts of shenanigans, it’s clear as day that this is just the beginning of something truly extraordinary. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Matafeo’s work, you’re about to meet one of your favorite actresses in comedy. And while we’re just getting acquainted with Patel’s work, he’s already won us over so hard we’ve started fan-casting him when we read romance novels. Yup, he’s that good and the kind of romance hero we all need. It takes great talent to take this trope and make it exquisite, which is undoubtedly the case with Matafeo’s writing and performance.

Starstruck is the kind of feel-good, witty romantic comedy we could all use as our energy going forward in 2022. The little moments between Tom and Jessie are a treat in every way, and there’s a plethora packed into everything that’s blooming between them that’s bound to make Season 2 even more glorious than this outstanding debut.

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