Remember that time you were really sick but felt beholden to complete a task despite feeling, if you were being honest with yourself (which you always tried to be), resoundingly not up to it? Me too!
We’re twins! Twins, I say!
I’d hazard to guess that your enjoyment and appreciation of HBO’s Togetherness depends upon your enjoyment and appreciation of indie cinema. You needn’t be a fan of the Duplass Brothers and their brand of wry humor, but that would help, too. Fortunately for me, I love a good indie comedy and Duplass films like Cyrus and Jeff Who Lives At Home tickle me in particular, so I feel like I’ve been treated to an eight-hour indie flick, which is more than all right by me.
It’s a show that tackles the no-man’s land of life in your late thirties, when dreams seem on the verge of death and life has settled into its comfortable groove. Struggling to make meaning out of it all are married couple Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle Pierson (Melanie Lynskey) trying to make it work, Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet) attempting to figure out what’s next, and Brett’s best friend Alex (an absolutely revelatory Steve Zissis) still toiling to make it as an actor. But what makes Togetherness succeed is its effortless depiction of life’s triumphs and failures, brilliantly emblematized by Steve Zissis’s Alex. A character for the ages, Alex typifies the endearing, sad-sack everyman we can all root for even as he disappoints us and himself.
Of the comedies on my list thus far, this one doesn’t have the laugh out loud moments of the others; instead, Togetherness mines humor in the mundanity of daily life, replete with its absurdity and unpredictability. Tina, her face pressed into a smile, hunkers down next to the driver’s side window of her brother-in-law’s car to deliver the most telling line of the season: “Just fake it. I mean, see this smile? I’m dead inside.” See what I mean? Togetherness feels so real it hurts, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Same time, same channel tomorrow? See you then!