Directors: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass have been moving along agreeably on the indie scene in recent years with successes such as CYRUS and JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME that tick the boxes with that ambiance that Judd Apatow recently brought back to the mainstream. The big difference with Duplass Brothers, who co-created this series with Steve Zissis, is the underlying tangible elements that come to the fore and are relevant. Think of Togetherness as a suitably messed-up but endearing older sibling to Lena Dunham’s Girls.
It’s important to point out that the ‘messed-up’ nature of Togetherness isn’t encompassed by reality because it certainly is. Throughout the series, you’ll be taken through some rather unusual set pieces but they finish in the right places and it’s all down to the great actors involved with the two specifically stand-out performances coming from Steve Zissis and Melanie Lynskey.
If you want to know what to expect, Togetherness focuses around four central characters. We’ve got writer/director/producer Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson, a somewhat prudish sound engineer trying to rediscover himself as he nears his 40s; the notable Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, eager to rekindle her passion for romance and life; Amanda Peet is refreshing as Tina Morris, desperate to get her bouncy-castle business off the ground while looking for a husband; and Steve Zissis plays struggling actor Alex Pappas, a man who’s trying to get out of town but is convinced by Brett to give his career one last try.
Even though I’ll now mention Apatow again, it’s only because of THIS IS 40. I still feel it’s one of his most underrated comedy-dramas that delved into the lives of those of us who are in, or have been through, their 30s and the ups and downs that just ensue. There’s something about hitting that age bracket and you won’t really understand it until you’re deep into it and from that realisation, it really is what you do next that counts the most. Togetherness is entirely its own animal and this is essential to point out because life unknowingly makes things change and consequently that in turn affects what you want out of it all. The truth is that no-one really knows what they’re doing and you can get too many people pretending to be in control.
It’s difficult for any new series to grab the audience and keep their attention but after a shaky first few moments, Togetherness will have you addicted by the end of episode one (Family Day) in a hugely positive way. Season One takes you on a ride through laughter, sadness, ridiculousness, alongside countless plausible and relatable scenarios right up to a huge finale that’s just an intense as any I’ve seen in a long while. The main reason for this is because you get to understand and care about the characters, plus the choices they make. Togetherness is a tremendous centerpiece for my generation and should hit its market perfectly as they’ve created an assured adventure with a wonderfully original vibe from everyone involved.