Get it Togetherness
During a few days ensconced in Norfolk with full Sky set up, I started watching the new HBO show Togetherness.
And the review in short: ❤
The show has been created by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, and Steve Zissis — the latter two star in this show as Brett and Alex (the former is one of the leads in Transparent). Amanda Peet and Melanie Lynskey, as sisters Tina and Michelle, make up the foursome trying to navigate late 30s relationships and life in Hollywood.
Togetherness is not built on a ground-breaking premise, by any stretch. But it does slice-of-life so very well that it feels fresh and sparkly. It has moments of great tender poignancy, but Togetherness is mainly very, very funny. And, as with Channel 4's Catastrophe, there is very little fat on these bones: the Duplass brothers cram only really good stuff in, making for a very tight show.
Melanie Lynskey really stands out, playing what could be a pretty unoriginal/unsympathetic character (‘oh, my suburban life with a nice house, a husband who loves me and our two children is so boring and therefore hard’) so brilliantly as to stop her falling into cliche or just into the land of annoying.
The chemistry between Amanda Peet and Steve Zissis is fantastic and both, but particularly Zissis, are hilarious. Again, their relationship tale is an oft-told one: Zissis is a not hot man, Peet is a hot woman; they get on brilliantly and clearly care about each other but we don’t yet know whether she’ll be able to see past his looks. It’s not an original idea, by any means, but watching it play out is such a joy who cares?
John Updike said that the job of art is “to give the mundane its beautiful due”. I am only three episodes in, so there’s a lot still to play for, but so far Togetherness gives the mundane its due very beautifully indeed.