Togetherness had its series premiere last night on HBO, and we think we’re going to get along with this show just fine.
Set in Los Angeles, Togetherness chronicles the marriage of Brett (Mark Duplass) and his wife, Michelle (Melanie Lynskey). They have two children and they’re trying to navigate how to make their relationship work when they are both dealing with the “malaise” (this is a word that has been thrown around a lot in explanations of the show’s focus) that often accompanies the realization that the life you thought you wanted might not actually be what you want.
Also in the mix are Brett’s friend, Alex (Steve Zissis) — an actor who isn’t have much success — and Michelle’s sister, Tina (Amanda Peet) — who we’ll just say is more on the unhinged side of things. All four end up living together — hence the togetherness — and we are afforded a glimpse into how they go about navigating that while dealing with their own individual issues.
Quite frankly, we love the show, and here are some of the many reasons why.
Its exploration of marriage
So many shows these days are centered on people in unhappy marriages, or people who are content in their marriage but are looking for something else. But this show’s approach to chronicling a marriage between two people who have been together for a long time and want to work at keeping the spark alive is more intriguing and engaging than a lot of other shows that attempt to do the same thing. Brett and Michelle trying to find their spark is a key part of the “spark” of this show.
The Duplass brothers
After watching several interviews with Mark and Jay Duplass in the lead-up to the premiere of Togetherness, I’m convinced they’re just the dang nicest guys there are. This, coupled with the fact they were a wonderful duo on The Mindy Project, pretty much means I’m in support of anything they do.
Melanie Lynskey is just wonderful
Everything you’ve heard about how good Melanie Lynskey’s performance is absolutely true. She is a revelation. Lynskey plays the dichotomy of being optimistic while also being really unhappy so well. Watching Michelle try so hard at everything is a little heartbreaking, but you also can’t help but be buoyed by her determination.
It’s incredibly entertaining
I didn’t spend the whole episode howling at my television, but it certainly had its moments. Amanda Peet’s character brings a bit of pizzazz to every scene she’s in, and a lot of humor stems from situations we’ve all been in before. The show is both dry and observational — my two favorite types of humor.
But there is an undercurrent of sadness
Everyone on the show seems to fear something — be it career failure, feeling disconnected and alone, or simply existing and not living. These are things most people can relate to, and it gives the show a melancholy underscore that meshes nicely with its humor.
It chronicles a single day
The pilot episode spans only one day and it’s actually pretty fascinating because it means the characters and their situations aren’t set up the same way they would be had the pilot tried to do what most pilots try to do — get all the information you need to know out in the open. In this show, a lot of questions are left unanswered and that allows the show to mine the small moments in everyday life, something it does really wonderfully.
The characters really do care for each other
I think this is my favorite thing about Togetherness. It’s very obvious these characters care deeply for one another. They look after each other and are supportive of one another. Maybe I’m a sap, but I get so excited when people are nice to each other on television shows. It’s so much better than watching people who are calculating and manipulative. OK, sometimes calculating and manipulative people are incredibly entertaining. But it’s nice to watch a show where I don’t have the desire to throw my shoe at one of the characters.