A new show from the good people at HBO which follows a middle class white family in Los Angeles…sounds familiar doesn’t it? So what (if anything) separates Togetherness from the countless other comedies which follow the same sort of ‘I’m middle aged and my life is in crisis!’? Well luckily I’ve done all the thinking for you!
Straight off the bat there will be some spoilers for the season in this review however if you want to know if it’s a good show or not then the answer is yes it is fairly good and definitely worth a watch.
Togetherness has some really nice acting, there is a small cast of four and it really helps as you get a real feeling for each of the starring characters. On top of that there are some really nice guest characters which really add to the show (like Sandy from the OC). The casting is excellent and the characters are all relatable and more importantly likeable (something a lot of TV shows seem to forget).
The stand out duo in Togetherness are Alex and Michelle and their generally weird relationship. Without these two I think we might have a drab lifeless ‘it’s called a comedy’ but isn’t actually funny sort of show. They’re the comic relief to all the grown up stuff that goes on in the show, like a good fingerin or what it’s like to make friends with a horse (it’s super fun in case you’re wondering, although they do like to eat your face when all you want to do is take a nice picture of your new best friend). Yes, ok, I didn’t really need to see him try and get it on with her because fuck me it’s been done a million times, that is the only complaint I can have about the two characters, as in I think it would have been better if the two had stayed platonic or even had him crush on her but never do anything about it because let’s be honest that would be shit tons more realistic.
I think the writing is decent and the show is well strung together, never feeling clumpy or unfluidy (not a real word but it means not fluid…y). The characters are obviously well written and it feels like they’ve actually known themselves for a number of years rather than a number of actors tossed together and hoping for the best to come out of it.
There are many things I like about Togetherness; the acting is good, the characters are likable, the writing is decent and it’s fairly funny. Stick all this stuff together and you have a pretty good TV show, and Togetherness is pretty good but it isn’t really good and one of the major reasons it isn’t is that it falls into long used and terribly old TV tropes. The chubby but lovable guy tries to get the girl who’s out of his league, sound familiar? The no hope actor who in the end gets the role of a lifetime, sound familiar? The married couple having marital problems in the sack, sound familiar? Again it isn’t that what Togetherness is doing is bad, rather that what it is doing is too safe, Togetherness is risk averse.
Another criticism I’d have of Togetherness is that it is predictable. Who didn’t see Alex starting to crush on Tina? Who didn’t think that Michelle and David weren’t going to start bumping uglies? There are more examples throughout the show which I haven’t mentioned but you could see a lot of the story stems before they had even flowered, which is boring. When I watch TV I want to have a sense of uncertainty, I don’t want to feel like I have wrote the plot.
Other criticisms drift between ‘ah another comedy about white middle class people…yay…’ to ‘it isn’t often you see a TV show centred on the making of TV shows and movies…’ They don’t sound like huge problems and it isn’t really fair to pick out Togetherness as being the issue but it is part of the problem. How’s about giving us TV shows about regular people rather than the same old shit. Fuck sake TV networks shape up and make something fucking original.
Togetherness is what it is, an above average comedy which tells a story which seems very similar to what I’ve seen before. It is better than a lot of things on offer, has good acting and characters which is nothing less than you’d expect from an HBO show but it plays it all a little too safe and uses the same old tropes which you’ve seen a million times on TV. Anyway leave a comment about how you felt Togetherness went, I’m sure I’ll get back to you.