Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pilot Review: Togetherness

Togetherness (HBO)
Premiered January 11 at 9:30pm

This comedy was highly anticipated because it comes from the Duplass brothers, who have collectively created a few notable projects. I think that the only one I’ve actually seen is “Cyrus,” which I enjoyed, though I like Jay in his series regular role on Amazon’s Golden Globe-winning “Transparent” and thought Mark was terrific in “Your Sister’s Sister” and “Safety Not Guaranteed,” among others. Mark is the only one to appear in this show, which definitely fits HBO’s new bill of comedy particulars, which include plenty of awkwardness and a serious dramatic undercurrent. There’s not too much laugh-out-loud humor going on, but a whole lot of amusing and smile-inducing moments to go around. I found the first half of the pilot to be somewhat uninviting and dull, but, within the scope of half an hour, it managed to pick up and interest me more, and end on a note that makes it very appealing to tune in for the next episode. I wish that Mark had a funnier role, but I guess he’ll have to settle to be a straight man along with Melanie Lynskey, who played a much less demanding part for years on “Two and a Half Men” and hear gets to be more subtly funny, particularly when she’s caught in bed reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” with some inappropriate support by her husband. I think that the casting of Amanda Peet is spot-on and I really look forward to seeing what she does with the role. Steve Zissis, who I’m much less familiar with, but he seems to do a good job of keeping Alex in check and not making him too ridiculous. I want to see this show do well, and for now I’m up for taking another look and hoping for a more even and solid half-hour next time.

How will it work as a series? This is definitely a dramedy, and so I think a good mix of looking at life through a realistic lens and having some good over-the-top fun should work pretty well. My only worry is that it won’t be accessible enough and that the genre won’t lend itself to being interesting on a regular basis.
How long will it last? Reviews for the show have been pretty good, and since HBO cancelled most of its previous comedy lineup, they’ve been enthusiastic about holding on to what they have. I suspect that will continue to be the case here and that they’ll want to show faith in their latest show and pick it up for a second season sooner rather than later.

Pilot grade: B

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