Tuesday, August 22, 2023

TV Tuesday: Togetherness

Last month, when my husband was away for 10 days, I was searching for a "me" show to watch without him. He and I watch most of our TV together, and we both enjoy mysteries, thrillers, sci fi, and medical or legal dramas. So, I was looking for something I'd love that he wouldn't be interested in, maybe a relationship drama (but I with a sense of humor, an important element for me). I found just the thing in Togetherness, an HBO (now Max) show from 2015-16.

Melanie Lynskey and Mark Duplass star as Michelle and Brett Pierson, a married couple with two young children living in L.A. Brett works as a sound engineer in movies, and Michelle is a stay-at-home mother, but both are feeling stuck in a rut after ten years of marriage. Michelle's sister, Tina (played by Amanda Peet), moves in with them. Tina is at loose ends, wanting to be in love and maybe have a family, but with no prospects in sight and starting to worry she's getting too old. Then Alex, played by Steve Zissis, also moves into their now crowded little house. Alex and Brett have been best friends for decades, and Alex is an out-of-work actor who is out of shape and worried that his career is a flop. The four adults--each spinning out in their own way--are all struggling with each other and with their own lives. It's clear that Alex is beginning to fall for Tina, but feels way out of her league and firmly in the "friend zone." Both Alex and Brett are looking for more exciting (and secure) jobs in the movie industry, so Tina offers to help Alex get in shape with her own homemade boot camp. And Brett and Michelle are fighting a lot and having more and more trouble connecting with each other, sexually and emotionally. 

If all of that sounds depressing ... it's not, because of the wonderful sense of humor woven throughout the script. All four of the main actors and the supporting cast (even the kids) are excellent and fully inhabit their roles here, making you feel like you know them. There is great chemistry between the cast members. And many of their problems are very relatable; these are regular people struggling with regular lives. The humor in the show is not in-your-face sitcom humor but a gentler, clever wit that often made me smile or laugh. That comes from the top-notch writing. The show was written and directed by Duplass Brothers Production (actor Mark Duplass and his brother, Jay) and created by them and Steve Zissis, and it is clear that they've put their hearts and souls into the show (I see their production company is also responsible for Somebody Somewhere, another favorite of ours). I just finished the second and final season yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed every moment, including the satisfying ending.

Togetherness is an HBO original which is available on Max or through Amazon or Hulu.

No comments: