Relationships are hard. They are hard to start and even harder to maintain. ‘Togetherness,’ HBO’s newest drama/comedy hybrid (read: dramedy) is a well-written ode to these struggles that prides itself on the humor that can be pulled from the awkward and uncomfortable relational ebbs and flows.
Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle Pierson (Melanie Lynskey) are a married couple facing a down-turn in their marriage. The spark is fading and for the first time it is becoming glaringly clear that they both want very different things at the moment. Their world is in a gradual free fall and an organized chaos has become the new normal. Tina (Amanda Peet), Michelle’s older sister, having grown disillusioned with her life in Texas, has made an impromptu decision to move to the coast and temporarily live with Brett and Michelle. Alex, Brett’s best friend and a struggling actor, is also forced to temporarily move in after being evicted from his own place.
This is the story of four people at very different places in their lives, trying to cope with each other and figure out exactly what they want. They have reached the point where they must come to terms with the possibility that they won’t be able to achieve their dreams, and that now they must choose the direction they want the rest of their lives to go.
While the show does not have a groundbreaking premise there is some fantastic writing and some great performances. There is a bit too much reliance put on familiar tropes from similar genre pieces, but this largely dissipates by the end of the season.
On the whole the first season is somewhat oddly balanced. The first few episodes put much more emphasis on comedy, whereas the final few episodes are almost entirely drama (almost to soap opera levels). Regardless, the show works, even through some questionably weird moments. Through the short eight episode season it is very easy to connect with various aspects of the character’s experiences, and, better yet, the show leaves you wanting more.
‘Togetherness’ is a stellar dramedy and excellent addition to the HBO line-up. It starts off a bit stereotypical, but by the end of its first run it has developed into something special.
Pick it up in stores on Tuesday, February 16 and check out season two on Sunday, February 21.