'Togetherness' Captured the Gritty Truth of Adulting

HBO recently announced that it had canceled the Duplass Brothers comedy Togetherness (Series Finale, 10:30 p.m., HBO), currently in its second season.

click to enlarge Steve Zissis, Mark Duplass, Amanda Peet and Melanie Lynskey
Steve Zissis, Mark Duplass, Amanda Peet and Melanie Lynskey

HBO recently announced that it had canceled the Duplass Brothers comedy Togetherness (Series Finale, 10:30 p.m., HBO), currently in its second season. Certainly one of the network’s less flashy shows, Togetherness simply explores everyday relationships and the ups and downs of family, careers, marriage, parenthood and general grownup experiences. But through the lens of Jay and Mark Duplass, these familiar struggles are captured humorously, heartbreakingly and, most of all, realistically — puke and all.

A lot of network comedies boast their “realness” and try to portray authentic family life, but Togetherness doesn’t have to try. The characters face silly and serious uncomfortable truths: parents aren’t perfect; sometimes loving-spouses cheat; in certain diaper emergencies, your best bet is to just hose the kid off. Brett’s (Mark Duplass) self-indulgent, idealistic attitude isolates him from important people in his life. His wife Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) struggles to find her identity outside of being a mom and to handle the resulting newfound passion and attention. Often providing comedic relief — but also real emotion — are Michelle’s hot-mess-with-a-heart-of-gold sister Tina (Amanda Peet) and Brett’s longtime friend Alex (co-creator Steve Zissis), an actor who faces big changes when he finally lands a major role.

But these are flawed characters, not failures, and they manage to make enough progress to warrant a happy ending. And in this story’s ending — one likely not intended to send off the entire series — we see the crew work together on Michelle’s charter school plan.

WEDNESDAY 06

The Path (Hulu) – Cal reconnects with his mother (Kathleen Turner), hoping to send her to an assisted living center. As a result of Eddie’s confession, Miranda Frank arrives at the compound and is confronted by Sarah.

Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Luke and Manny offer to watch Lily so the adults can go out, but Claire thinks it’s a cover for them to throw a party.

Broad City (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – The Wexlers visit in the city to celebrate their anniversary, but Ilana and Abbi are distracted by their #relationshipprobs.

THURSDAY 07

American Idol (Series Finale, 8 p.m., Fox) – The final American Idol is crowned as the show reflects on the past 15 seasons with performances by alums like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

F*ck, That’s Delicious (10 p.m., VICELAND) – Action Bronson plays a show
in Alaska, where he goes fly fishing, enjoys Eskimo delicacies and undergoes emergency surgery.

FRIDAY 08

Animals (Season Finale, 11:30 p.m., HBO) – A turkey seeks vengeance for his wife during the Thanksgiving Day parade.

SATURDAY 09

Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Russell Crowe hosts; musical guest Margo Price performs.

SUNDAY 10

Fear the Walking Dead (Season Premiere, 9 p.m., AMC) – The Walking Dead: Semester at Sea.

MONDAY 11

RuPaul’s Drag Race (9 p.m., Logo) – The queens enter the library and give Wizard of Oz-inspired makeovers to the cast of Little Women: L.A.

Better Call Saul (10 p.m., AMC) – Mike works with systematic precision; Chuck’s abilities are put into question; Jimmy faces a personal setback.

TUESDAY 12

The Mindy Project (Hulu) – Mindy’s back! And after an emotional mid-season finale followed by the longest hiatus ever, she’s kickin’ it in the poontang palace with baby Leo.


CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected], @jackern


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