November 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm #338296
Looks good, the two leads look pretty great. What do you guys think?
See the first trailer for HBO comedy ‘Togetherness’ from the Duplass brothers
Mark and Jay Duplass—the brothers who brought you indie films such as The Puffy Chair, Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home—are turning their writer-director skills to TV for Togetherness.
Debuting Jan. 11, the HBO comedy chronicles the struggles of a Los Angeles couple with kids, Brett and Michelle (Mark Duplass and Melanie Lynskey), and Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet) and Brett’s best pal/actor Alex (Steve Zissis), who are both crashing at their place. We gave you a peek at the show last month, and now HBO has released the first trailer for Togetherness. Check it out below—and remember to clear those caches.
Give Paul Thomas Anderson an Oscar.January 7, 2015 at 9:50 am #338298
SF Gate’s review:
TV: Beneath the laughs, “Togetherness” finds deeper truth
by David Wiegand
Published 10:54 am, Monday, January 5, 2015
Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass could have called their new
half-hour HBO show “Too Close for Comfort,” if that title hadn’t been used by
another comedy from yesteryear. “Togetherness” may work as a better title,
though, because it more accurately reflects the compellingly credible mix of
comedy and more serious stuff that happens when four people share living space.
Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle Pierson (Melanie
Lynskey) are having a kind of mid-marriage crisis. It’s fairly low grade, but
that’s because neither really knows how to identify what the problem is. Some
of it involves sex, because, well, doesn’t everything? Michelle is never in the
mood anymore and Brett is frustrated.
Their problems as a couple are really about their
problems as individuals. Brett works as a sound tech in the movie industry. He
often goes out gathering real-life sounds to replicate in films. He likes that
part of his job. What he doesn’t like are egomaniac, half-crazy directors who
keep their sound guys waiting for hours and insist that real coyote howls
aren’t as good as wolf howls, even if the animal in the shot is—you got it—a
Melanie is bored with her life and looking for both
purpose and an outlet. She meets David (John Ortiz), a divorced father, who
wants to start a charter school in Eagle Rock. Melanie wants to help, not quite
allowing herself to believe she may be interested in David.
The unsteady alliance at the Pierson home is rattled
when, first, Brett’s best friend, Alex (Steve Zissis), a plump out-of-work
actor, is evicted from his apartment and asks to crash on the couch. Then
Melanie’s party planner sister Tina (Amanda Peet) moves in as well, and you
have the makings of something Beaumarchais might have whipped up if he were
working in Hollywood in 2015.
But wait, there’s more, as they say on infomercials:
Brett becomes oddly mesmerized by a spacey New Age type named Linda (Mary
Steenburgen) who when he meets her, is buried beneath a pile of leaves and
branches to get in touch with her own death. Meanwhile, Alex predictably begins
crushing on Tina, who dashes his hopes when she meets Larry (Peter Gallagher),
a Hollywood movie producer who goes everywhere with a Pomeranian tucked under
As sick to death as I usually am with TV’s myopic
institutional belief that America is fascinated with Los Angeles and its various
weirdnesses, this time the setting works, in part because it doesn’t really
matter. Brett isn’t a film or TV star, fading or otherwise: He’s an anonymous
sound tech guy. Melanie is a suburban mom, Tina plans parties and rents bounce
houses, Alex is never going to give Brad Pitt a run for his money.
It’s easy to overlook the L.A. attitude, not only because
it’s largely represented in secondary characters like Linda and Larry, but also
because our attention is focused on the quartet of major characters. They are,
by turns, funny, poignant and perhaps even a little panicked that their lives
seem to be continuing apace under their own steam and not because they’re in
control of them anymore.
If a successful real estate deal is all about location, a
successful TV show is, at heart, all about writing. Again and again, the
greatest shows are the best written. That isn’t to deny the contributions of
directors, actors and technicians, but without a great script, a TV show cannot
achieve true greatness.
“Togetherness” has a great script, written by the Duplass
brothers and Zissis. It is rich in telling detail, and the dialogue rings true.
From that strong foundation, the four lead actors have built extraordinary
performances. It’s not just that they’re entirely believable at all times but
that they are able to bring so many emotional colors to their characters.
“Togetherness” is billed as a comedy, and it is often
very funny, but it also touches the heart. We at least sympathize with the
major characters. At other times, we’re moved more deeply by them. Alex is so
much the buffoon, so much the typical comic foil, for example. Yet there’s a
moment when he and Tina are hiding in a closet and he is close enough to her to
smell her hair. Zissis doesn’t say a word quite yet, but he doesn’t have to.
It’s a moment of credible heartbreak.
“Togetherness” is easy to like on one level and probably
a little more challenging as the Duplass brothers explore the quiet discontent
among people who are just trying to do they best they can. It’s worth the
effort. The emotional payoff is enormous.January 10, 2015 at 10:00 am #338299
Hollywood Reporter’s review:
“Togetherness”: TV Review
11:37 AM PST 1/8/2015 by Tim Goodman
The Bottom Line: The Duplass brothers mine marital problems and midlife crises for humor and sadness.
Airdate: Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on HBO, beginning Jan. 11
Cast: Mark Duplass, Steve Zissis, Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet
Creators: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Steve Zissis
HBO’s latest grown-up dramedy explores the everyday struggles
of four people trying to find happiness and meaning in life.
One of the benefits of an outlet like HBO, Showtime, Netflix
or Amazon—any of the more high-minded places that produce television
content, but especially those where ratings are not the end-all—is
that series creators can make grown-up television about the human
A specificity of the commonplace, day-to-day existence is a big feature of such shows—shows like Girls and Looking on HBO and Transparent on Amazon, are fine examples of the form.
Dramatically, it’s not always edge-of-your seat stuff. As for humor,
the laughs don’t always make your core muscles sore. But the intent —
what the series in various and intriguing ways is trying to accomplish
with its storytelling, is often spot-on, illuminating and relevant to
one’s own life.
Very rarely do you see that kind of storytelling on broadcast television—NBC’s Parenthood
is probably the closest example, but not exactly the same thing—because a wide audience is best hooked with big dramatic elements and/or
constant punch lines.
The latest entry in this field is HBO’s Togetherness, a series created by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus; Jeff, Who Lives at Home) and Steve Zissis (Jeff, Who Lives at Home),
who share the writing credits for the eight-episode first season. The
Duplass brothers are also executive producers and directors (while Mark
Duplass and Zissis also have starring roles).
Like the bountiful small pleasures found in Amazon’s Transparent (where Jay Duplass is also a star), Togetherness
manages to mine hard truths and generate wince-inducing humor about
marriage and relationships as it mingles one married couple with their
Brett Pierson (Mark Duplass) and his wife, Michelle (Melanie Lynskey),
are married with two kids, living in Los Angeles and trying, like most
people in their situation, to keep the spark alive, to keep some heat
and meaning in their marriage. They are also closing in on 40 and asking
themselves questions, not always out loud or to each other, about what
that all means.
When Brett’s best friend, Alex (Zissis), is evicted from his
apartment because he’s flat broke, his inclination is to leave L.A.
altogether. He’s an actor, but he’s fallen on some hard times. The small
roles or commercials he gets are depressing, and, balding and
overweight, he’s not the same young actor he used to be.
Brett, who needs a close, unwed friend to spend time with and escape
his own married-with-kids existence from time to time, convinces Alex to
At Brett and Michelle’s house.
Meanwhile Michelle’s sister, Tina (Amanda Peet, The Way, Way Back; The Good Wife),
is visiting from Houston. Well, she’s visiting a guy she thinks is a
boyfriend but clearly isn’t, leaving her dismayed with her life, as she
looks at younger sister Michelle’s marriage and kids. She’s feeling
pressure to have those things, even if it’s not clear whether she really
wants or needs them. Sisterly concern leads Michelle to convince Tina
to stay and all of a sudden the Pierson’s have a crowded house.
Part of what the Duplass brothers and Zissis are trying to get at are
the readjustments of expectations that we all have to make as our lives
play out not necessarily as we intended. On the surface, it’s easier to
get through life if you’re together with your closest friends or loved
ones, but that’s also a situation that can make you feel trapped. And so
the push and pull of this weird foursome as they navigate various
aspects of their lives is the bone marrow of the show.
Togetherness has enough humor scattered throughout (having
watched the first four episodes), particularly with Tina and Alex’s
budding, complicated friendship, to offset any of the more granular
elements of what makes life mundane for Brett and Michelle, if that’s
not your thing.
Mark Duplass manages, with some unflattering but appropriate glasses
and a meek demeanor, to turn Brett into just the right level of
frustrated Everyman. And Lynskey is wonderful as Michelle, trying to
balance motherhood with, well, everything. Not feeling it with her
husband and not being able to articulate exactly why are emotions that
keep Michelle disappointed, if not unhappy.
There are moments in Togetherness where it’s extremely impressive witnessing the layered nuances that Zissis and the Duplasses create.
Though Peet and especially Zissis get the funnier lines and
situations, there’s a very palpable element of sadness to their
characters as well. Togetherness works because of the balance
in the storytelling—knowing when to mine something for humor or play
it more starkly. That kind of tonal awareness is essential for this kind
of show to succeed—too light undercuts the deeper meaning, too heavy
makes it an unwatchable pity party. Luckily, the TV landscape has a
number of fine examples of this niche genre and Togetherness is a superb new entry that slides in almost fully formed right next to them.January 11, 2015 at 4:17 am #338300
Episode Title: “Family Day” (Pilot)
Synopsis: A struggling actor is evicted from his apartment, and his best friend
tries to convince him to stay in Los Angeles; Michelle Pierson’s older
sister visits from Houston; Michelle and Brett clash while on an outing
at the beach.
Discuss.January 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm #338301
Fairly insular pilot, but I am interested in the interplay between the ensemble. Mark Duplass isn’t a compelling a lead like I would have hoped for, even for the “everyman in celebrity-filled Hollywood” character he’s portraying here. He’s so slimy and good on “The Mindy Project,” but he seems far less effective here for some reason. Very odd considering he co-created and co-writes the series. Love Melanie Lynskey in general, so I hope this will be a nice venture for her. She has the most grounded character of the quartet, which I hope doesn’t read as “most boring” in the coming episodes. Amanda Peet is operating on level ten as Tina, which can be hit or miss. She’s better operating on a smaller scale, I think. I don’t know who the hell Steve Zissis is, but he stole the show from pretty much everyone here. Like Emmy-worthy scene-stealing antics. He does this gorilla-mocking scene that’s truly hilarious and memorably executed. I’ll continue watching this for awhile longer and hope for the best.
Grade for “Family Day” (Pilot): B-January 12, 2015 at 12:11 pm #338302
Fairly average, but I am somewhat interested in where it all goes. It just feels a little derivative.January 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm #338303
Very interesting to see where this goes. I love Mark DuplassJanuary 18, 2015 at 9:31 am #338304
Episode Title: “Handcuffs”
Synopsis: Tina tries to get Alex out of his funk by enlisting him to help with her
business; Brett gets in trouble at work; Tina convinces Michelle to
spice things up in the bedroom.
Discuss.January 20, 2015 at 10:35 am #338305
I really like this show so far. Amanda Peet is doing the best work I’ve ever seen her do. Normally I find her stiff and boring; but she’s really come alive here in this role and looks like she’s having fun. I like Mark Duplass but I agree with the statements above that he hasn’t been all that impressive so far. What is hooking me is that they’ve done a great job of establishing these relationships so far and the main cast does have chemistry with one another.February 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm #338306
Is anyone else on here watching this? I’m a fan. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like the show is really about that much, but it’s all in the details. The Duplass Bros are doing a solid job at depicting all the little nuances of being middle-aged (not that I would know seeing as I’m in my 20s, but I can only imagine). It’s a solid offering. Great performances too. Amanda Peet and Melanie Lynskey are terrific.February 13, 2015 at 1:36 am #338307
I am watching every week. I really enjoy it and as you said its the small details that make a difference. I’m not totally sold on Lynskye yet, but the rest of the cast is working nicely.May 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm #338308
HBO omitted the pilot in favour of midseason episodes “Houston, We Have a Problem” and “Kick the Can”, as well as the season finale to send to Emmy voters.
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