It’s fantastic seeing a series with so much wit and intellect begin to get its bearings early on, particularly one with such promising storylines. Within only three episodes, Togetherness has evolved into a character study on modern marriage, family, friendship, and all the chaotic messiness that comes in-between. “Insanity” is a very fitting title—not only because it’s the name of a workout video Alex and Tina are killing themselves over in the beginning of the episode—but seemingly also for the series as a whole. In terms of the episode, it most definitely fits. What is great about Togetherness is that it doesn’t concern itself with over-the-top hilarity, but rather has a believable and honest palpability with four likable characters, each with his or her own entertaining antics. They are incredibly enjoyable to watch, particularly due to each one’s highly different natures.
The series follows Brett and Michelle, a married couple whose respective best friend and sister, Alex and Tina, end up living with them during the same time. Each character has their own storyline and learning to read their characters during their interactions with one another is what makes Togetherness such a pleasant experience. The four are so highly different yet click perfectly. Brett is dorky and self-conscious about his work and has his quirky instances, such as in this episode when he pauses to record a singing bird, stretching his body, getting inevitable stares from onlookers because he clearly looks insane. Yet we know it’s not just a quirk, because authentic animal sounds are essential to his career. He takes the seriousness of his job to a level that doesn’t quite resonate with the “Hollywood standard,” or at least not with the director for which he was recently working. The fact that his dilemma in this episode is apologizing to the director, who is clearly and totally narcissistic, says a lot about Brett’s character. We can assume the director telling him to “get the fuck out of here” at the premiere party didn’t sit well with Brett.
Tina and Alex also manage to make their way into Brett’s premiere party, because Tina is hell-bent on a mission to get Alex into the business. Tina is easily the funniest and raunchiest of the bunch, and her impulsiveness marks a success as she sneaks into the party with Alex, where they plan to meet one of Alex’s favorite producers. The result is inevitable—Alex makes a total fool of himself while Tina’s extroverted personality eventually gets Alex and the producer to talk to one another. Alex praises his previous work and the night is a success for him. That is, after Alex had initially tried to start a conversation with him over “organic strawberries” or single ply vs. double ply toilet paper in the bathroom and how he sometimes “gets shit on his finger.” Let’s just say Alex’s communication skills aren’t his strong suit.
Tina is radiant during the entire episode, partially due to her flashy shimmery dress, but truly due to her mischievous and cunning behavior. She’s gorgeous and hysterical around Alex and their chemistry is undeniable. However, as she leaves to spend the night with the producer, we see a wholly distraught Alex and a very promiscuous side of Tina. What most like myself had predicted is now clearly stated: Alex is in love with Tina. Alex has a raw and emotional discussion about this with Brett as the episode ends, where Brett admits he already knew. This, of course, can be summed up to Brett’s introspective awareness of those around him. How this will work out for Brett will be fascinating as the series progresses, given Michelle’s peculiar behavior in this episode, which is bound to escalate.
Michelle went on a journey all her own in “Insanity,” both emotionally and physically. After opting out of attending Brett’s premiere party and ending up with her babysitter at her door, Michelle decides to take a night off on her own. She dresses in sexy black leather, goes to a bar, bums a smoke from a teenager, and eventually finds herself in a town hall meeting, where the discussion of a charter school is taking place. This is important to Michelle because one of her concerns is where to send her daughter to school. After the meeting, she meets the man discussing the charter school and the two become friends—he even gives her a ride home. We soon find her Googling images of him on her laptop.
Overall, Togetherness is shaping to be a very comical yet relevant statement on marriage and character studies. The show isn’t afraid to depict the flaws of its characters and how this affects their interactions with one another. There is never a dull moment because the dialog of quick, crisp, and always clever. The direction of the series, and really each character, will undoubtedly unfold with humorous liveliness or emotional turmoil. Maybe Brett will start working for a better director and Alex will have more success as an actor, or the exact opposite will happen. Tina is now going to be a major emotional problem for Alex, and when you factor in Michelle’s moment of insanity, there’s turmoil brewing in the Togetherness household. An affair seems predictable, as does Alex’s public declaration of love to Tina. Given the strange charm of each character, anything that happens on the show from here on out is bound to be refreshing.
Here’s a look inside the episode, “Insanity,” followed by a preview of episode 4, which will air on Sunday, February 8th. There will be no new episode this upcoming Sunday due to the Super Bowl. I’m not a football fan, so a Sunday night without new HBO episodes is a sad one for me.