Joining HBO’s Sunday night line-up, Togetherness rounds out an evening of slice-of-life programming. Accompanied by Girls and Looking, both peeks at the melodramatic and desperate lives of a group of directionless friends, Togetherness is an LA-based dramedy that looks into the window of two overwhelmed couples living under one roof. One is a married duo trying to keep the flame burning, and the other are two stragglers who’ve stuck together, both fighting age to keep the dream of youth alive. At a half-hour an episode, with eight episodes in its first season, the series is nuanced family TV that’s not quite for the family, and one you absolutely need to get familiar with.
Mark Duplass and Melanie Lynskey play husband and wife Brett and Michelle Pierson, a seemingly perfect couple with two kids whose problems are hidden behind closed doors.
Even before their domestic life by their two new roommates, Brett and Michelle have been struggling to keep their sex life healthy. The comfort of domesticity has taken its toll on the pair, who now seem to have desexualized each other. With Brett being a health conscious dork who rambles his way through the awkwardness of foreplay, Michelle is often left to pleasure herself. It doesn’t help that she’s a stay-at-home mom struggling to find purpose, as her husband records bird calls on Hollywood Blvd. for his job as a sound tech in the movie industry. Soon enough, Michelle’s quest to redefine herself sees her campaigning for a charter school, alongside a charming divorced dad (John Ortiz), who could prove a wrench in her marriage. But she’s not the only one, as Brett starts taking to a New Age cliche named Linda (Mary Steenburgen).
Amanda Peet stars as Michelle’s sister older Tina Morris, the resident bachelorette, and an aging party girl still trying to live forever 21.
Unlucky in love, Tina moves into her sister’s house to get her life together. Still one to dress in mini skirts, cowboy hats, and tight cleavage-baring tops, Tina often finds herself investing way too much emotion in what would otherwise be a random hook-up in hopes that guy-of-the-week would turn into husband/father-of-her-children in no time. One such prospect becomes Larry (O.C. alum Peter Gallagher), a cheesy Hollywood producer who accessorizes with a Pomeranian. When she’s not trying to detach from her disappointing single life, she focuses on her day job: party planning.
Gallagher stopped by Big Morning Buzz Live to discuss his varied film and TV roles.
The series was created by indie film power players Mark and Jay Duplass.
Since 2005, the Duplass brothers have become a staple in the independent film industry, making a name for themselves with low-budget slacker films that include The Puffy Chair, Baghead, and Jeff Who Lives at Home. Essentially, they’re kings of telling stories about white suburbanites struggling to get out of their head just long enough to get by. Now, they’re transferring that same sensibility to the small screen. “We were just getting mauled by the massive task, in our minds, of trying to be good dads and good husbands and also trying to be good at our jobs, which are very demanding and sort of ’dream jobs.'” Jay Duplass told the LA Times. He then went onto describe another set of childless, careerless friends who were wary of fully embracing adulthood. “Both groups tend to be equally miserable about very different things, and the material seemed to just go on and on forever.”
Steve Zissis, an old friend of the Duplass brothers, plays a character admittedly inspired by himself in real life.
A friend of the Duplass brothers since going to high school together in New Orleans, Zissis was the big man on campus, and the guy Mark and Jay admittedly looked up to. Decades later, he’s balding, chubby, and a relatively unknown actor, which basically describes his character Alex Pappas. As Alex, he’s a miserable and insecure “whale” who gets evicted from his home, which forces him to move into the Pierson’s. There, he forms a bond with new roomie Tina, and becomes her unofficial life coach. Of course, he predictably begins to fall for her.
Catch the premiere of Togetherness on Sunday, January 11 at 9:30 PM ET on HBO.
[Photo Credit: HBO]