It’s been a while since Amanda Peet stole our hearts as the villain in Saving Silverman. In Togetherness, the new Mark and Jay Duplass HBO project, she’s back in her strongest role since. Peet plays Tina, the bounce house saleswoman from Texas (you read that right) who’s pushing forty and hasn’t settled down yet. While visiting her sister, Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) in Los Angeles, yet another romantic situation implodes, and so she decides it’s time for a change. She moves in with Michelle and her husband Brett (Mark Duplass).
Thing is, the house is already a bit full. Brett’s best friend, Alex (Steve Zissis), an out-of-shape, washed-up actor has moved in too after getting evicted from his place. Brett and Michelle are having problems of their own -- after several years and a few kids, their marriage is suffering due to stress and monogamy’s inevitable tediousness. What better way to save a marriage than to inject two more dysfunctional adults in the situation?
Though a seemingly unlikely duo, Alex and Tina hit it off -- their relationship so far is platonic, but tinged with tension and jealousy, so who knows where the season will lead. Brett and Michelle continue to struggle to keep it together through her boredom and complete lack of desire to have sex with him. (It gets worse when he walks in on her masturbating with....clothespins.) You can’t help but root for all of them to work their problems out -- or to at least shell out for a group therapy session.
The Duplass brothers have collaborated on several films, from their lo-fi 2005 debut, The Puffy Chair, to the more recent Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home. With Togetherness, they’ve done an excellent job adapting their mumblecore sensibilities to the small screen. The dialogue is often uncomfortable, verging on painful, but it’s all tinged with honest and refreshing humor. It’s hard to make a show about four middle-aged people reconciling with their failed dreams fun -- but they’ve made it work.
Togetherness premieres on HBO on January 11th at 9:30 EST.
Photos by HBO