RV: Did you know relationships aren’t supposed to be perfect, and no matter what we do our relationships will have unavoidable highs and lows? Well, Togetherness knows that, and the characters on the show illustrate just how much bullshit comes out of Hollywood. I’m a big hater of romanticized versions of reality. I’m not a pessimistic, but I just can’t stand the pressure that is put on relationships to be something neat and tidy and without conflict. People change. People make mistakes. Marriages have problems. Togetherness illustrates this point quite bluntly. In the first season, a character cheats on her husband, and you actually feel sorry for her. This is not some typical Hollywood morality lesson where a person gives in to the temptation of someone attractive and young. This is a very real situation where a spouse is ignored, and thus finds the attention that we all need with someone else. Normally, this is the breaking point we expect from TV and movies. A spouse cheats; therefore, they should be punished. However, Togetherness quickly shows us that even that reaction to infidelity isn’t productive nor necessarily deserved. Beyond the marriage problems, Togetherness also shows us the complexity of relationships between friends and family. Throughout the series, we see characters have real and believable reactions to success and failure. Emasculation, over-confidence, jealousy, envy are all traits, we would rather avoid in ourselves, but they exist. Togetherness doesn’t hide these messy emotions from the viewer; instead, puts them on display in the expressions and dialogue of every character. By the end of the second and final season of Togetherness, you will not receive some dramatic twist, but real conclusions to those painful yet very real problems that drive relationships together and even apart.
T: I started binging Togetherness as I have so many of my other favorite shows: while drinking red wine in my bathtub. I was looking for a kind of realistic dramedy with rich characters and pronounced chemistry – Togetherness didn’t disappoint. Mark Duplass – the show’s lead writer and actor – manages to explore the complexity of modern relationships (marital, familial, platonic) in a way that feels both relatable yet fresh. His character, Brett, is clueless and timid and naive – the exact opposite of what his wife Michelle is seeking from her reading of Fifty Shades of Gray and sets up perfectly for some hilarious and unforgettable scenes. Melanie Lynskey, who plays the primary female protagonist, portrays her character, Michelle (a bored, tired housewife) with the most sacred kind of sympathy. Her sister Tina (my favorite character of the show played by the wonderful Amanda Peet) is clumsy and selfish and awkward and insecure. And Alex, who starts out as fulfilling the trope of the chubby best friend and finishes out with fulfilling the trope (?) of the angsty vampire (it makes sense in the show, I promise), and serves the kind of Abbot to Tina’s Costello that manages to keep the mood light amidst the swelling drama.
And really that is what makes this show so special: they are each a kind of pathetic that is both reachable and redeemable. The kind of pathetic we see in ourselves and too often work to eliminate. The kind of pathetic that ultimately must be forgiven and accepted if we are to survive in this world together[ness].
5 Twizzlers for Togetherness who makes me feel all the feels.
0 Twizzlers for HBO for cancelling the show right when it was getting good. Boo HBO. Boo.
4.5 Red Vines – Come togetherness, right now, on HBO.