Celebrating the Average in ‘Togetherness’

HBO’s newest addition to the Sunday dramedy lineup is the TV debut from filmmaker brothers Jay and Mark Duplass.

click to enlarge Togetherness
Togetherness

HBO’s newest addition to the Sunday dramedy lineup is the TV debut from filmmaker brothers Jay and Mark Duplass. Togetherness (9:30 p.m. Sundays, HBO) follows Brett (Mark) and Michelle Pierson (Melanie Lynskey), a sound designer and stay-at-home mom, respectively, raising their two kids in Los Angeles. Typical mid-life stress multiplies when Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet) and Brett’s buddy Alex (Steve Zissis) move in amid their own personal struggles.

The Duplass brothers are known purveyors of the “mublecore” genre of independent films. Focusing on a natural performance style and realistic, imperfect dialogue, these two know how to showcase and elevate the average and mundane. This style can be observed in this latest project, in addition to many of the films one or both have been attached to in recent years: Baghead; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Cyrus; The One I Love and Safety Not Guaranteed. (However, many will recognize Mark from his more mainstream comedic roles in The League or The Mindy Project, where he plays one half of the “midwives” with brother Jay.)

Sometimes humorous, sometimes dreary, Togetherness’ portrayal of everyday relationships, work life and general adulthood is something many viewers can relate to — like a grown-up Girls, which is perfect since it follows that show on Sundays.

This week, Alex and Tina invite themselves to tag along to Brett’s movie premiere while Michelle enjoys a rare night out to herself.

WEDNESDAY JAN. 21

American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season Finale, 10 p.m., FX) – The Freak Show tent opens one last time, and many fans will be searching for clues about where the next season will take us: Nuclear test sites? Prison? An infamous cult? Meanwhile, in the finale, Dandy takes over the show and prepares for his performing debut; Elsa arrives in Hollywood.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FXX) – The gang delves into the world of online dating.

Workaholics (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – When Bill introduces the guys to public access TV, they create a “front yard wrestling” show to raise money for their rent. Ben Stiller guest-stars as their landlord.

Man Seeking Woman (10:30 p.m., FXX) – Josh experiences the high-stakes game of texting a girl, where asking friends for advice is depicted as an intense war room negotiation.

Broad City (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Things are looking up for Abbi and Ilana when the former finally gets the chance to train someone at Soulstice and the latter embraces the corporate world.

THURSDAY JAN. 22

Backstrom (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., Fox) – Rainn Wilson stars as the Dr. House of detectives.

Portlandia (10 p.m., IFC) – When various Portlandians experience a series of medical emergencies, the area’s health care system is tested.

Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – The series’ penultimate episode explores the circle of life as Amber goes into labor and Zeek comes to a decision about his surgery. Elsewhere, Sarah reveals her and Hank’s engagement to Zeek, and Adam stands firm when he and Crosby disagree about The Luncheonette.

SATURDAY JAN. 24

Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Blake Shelton takes double duty as host and musical guest.

SUNDAY JAN. 25

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30 p.m., Fox) – When Sophia’s lawyerly duties conflict with her relationship with Jake, he takes the situation into his own hands by meeting with her boss (Chris Parnell). Back at the precinct, Wuntch needs a major favor from Holt.

Girls (9 p.m., HBO) – Hannah deals with a one class per week schedule. The struggle is real. Back in New York, Jessa and Adam have a run-in, Marnie and Desi look into musical opportunities and Shosh goes on an interview.

TUESDAY JAN. 27

Parks & Recreation (8 p.m., NBC) – Ben and Leslie worry that Gryzzl is invading Pawneeans’ privacy; April’s career comes full circle as she meets with new Parks and Recreation interns; Tom helps Andy renegotiate a contract. At 8:30 p.m., Leslie organizes a rally to help keep J.J.’s Diner open and Tom surprises Donna with the perfect wedding present.

Kroll Show (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Gil and George take “Too Much Tuna” on the road; Liz leaves PubLizity to grow out her bangs; the Rich Dicks try flatlining, leaving Wendy dead.


CONTACT JAC KEARN: [email protected] or @jackern


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