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'Togetherness' recap: 'Geri-ina'

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John P. Johnson/HBO

Togetherness

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA
seasons:
2
run date:
01/11/15
performer:
Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet
broadcaster:
Amazon
genre:
Comedy

Okay, there’s just no way around this. I’m truly devastated that HBO has chosen not to renew this wonderful, magical show for another season. Here’s what the creators had to say, which is very sweet, but jeeze, this is really bad and sad news. Don’t make me rant about the far too early death of Enlightened! Or start listing off some other shows out there — some even on HBO — with renewals because that is mean and we should be appreciating the wonder and happiness that is Togetherness in the time we have left. (Heavy sigh.)

We begin with Brett, shirtless in the mirror, practicing asking Natalie (cute Uber girl from last week) if she wants to see him again. Hey, do dudes really do this? I sure hope so. Alex comes home and catches Brett in the full Duplass if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Thanks, show!

Brett, wrapped in a weird, surely Dune-related piece of cloth, tells Alex about what’s been happening: how he had this incredible evening with this amazing girl, and it was light and fun, and new body parts, and etc. Alex is a good listener, and his hound-dog eyes look simultaneously sad and a bit concerned as Brett talks about his great night. But, like, of course you had a great night, Brett! What’s better than the tantalizing promise of a new person? They are essentially empty vessels you can pour all your romantic fantasies into, because, let’s face it, we’re all really wonderful and on our best, most charming behavior during the beginnings of things, right? It’s why everyone has a great time on vacation. Real life and screaming children and cheating wives and hurt feelings and trash to take out is all hard and wearying. But a magical and unexpected night with your super cute and — for now — uncomplicated Uber customer? Much less so.

On a couch elsewhere in Los Angeles, Tina and Michelle are also talking about Brett and what to do about Brett and where she can go to stash all of her hurt and guilty feelings. Tina sees things a bit clearly, noting that Brett has a pretty great deal at the moment, considering he’s only parenting half time and the rest of the time he’s bunking with his best friend and playing with puppets. Tina has also discovered something most women are all too aware of: That after the age of 35, you cross over into “geriatric” territory when it comes to pregnancy. And yeah, it would be great if they could come up with a different term. Either way, Tina does an impression of her wizened and dried up ovaries and Michelle wisely advises her not to do that. Tina has come to an important moment: She’s ready to find someone who is kind to her and wants to have kids and have a nice life. On cue, she scrolls on a not-so-awesome looking dude on Tinder. “It’s enough to make me jump off a bridge,” she says. Uh, sing it, sister.

Michelle gets a call — there’s a meeting for the charter school at a restaurant called Bon Vivant. Is there really a restaurant called Bon Vivant in LA? That’s amazing. (Answer, YES.) Michelle, quite rightly, is a bit confused about how a meeting for her organization can be called without her and she rushes to attend and Tina goes with her. Anna is holding court, thanking everyone for coming. (I forgot to mention that Anna is played to perfection by Katie Aselton.) When Michelle asks Anna what the hell is going on, Anna goes for defense as offensive, like, oh-hey-girl-where-have-you­­ been?

Michelle is thrown. Tina, watching from a distance narrows her eyes as Anna grabs Michelle’s face and coos about how soft her skin is. “That’s your new friend? Sure don’t like her.” Not for nothing, this is exactly the time you want Tina as your older sister. Watch out, Anna.

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Alex is chattering away to Brett about how they need some help with all the Dune-ness of it all and about how he thinks he’s found that guy. He launches into a thing about how people can change and Brett is all WTF, dude? And then he sees Dudley waiting for them at the table and loses his mind. Alex is all, hey, he’s in AA now and he’s a huge Dune fan! God, I love Dudley and his great glasses.

Tina is internet dating! Hey HBO, not for nothing: This on its own is a series that I’d enjoy watching. She’s all dressed up and scanning the room for her dude who has a black and white picture of just his side profile. There’s a guy waving at her who doesn’t look like this photo. Tina can’t believe this is the right guy, and the dude is all like, “Yeah, it’s me.” She sits down, hesitantly. He’s says, Yeah, I know I look a little different. And then they immediately start fighting about truth and online dating — which Tina would know if she did this more often — are not mutually exclusive. (Someone unmarried must have written this episode because I think they nailed it.)

Her date admits his photo is a little bit misleading. She’s pretty hostile about it, and he’s pretty hostile about her being hostile, and she finally is like, I’m out. He’s like, listen you seem like you are new to all this, let me give you some advice: “It’s f—ing brutal out here. Everyone is miserable, everyone is terrified, everyone is a little bit photoshopped.” Sing, it, random dude! She’s taken aback as she’s the kind of woman who is unused to men less attractive than her talking to her in such a way. She says as much: “You’re not good looking enough to be this much of a dick.” And oh, Tina, you really haven’t been out there! Which is why his response is a real gut punch: “And you’re not hot enough, anymore, to be this much of a bitch.” Yeow, yeow,yeow. Seriously though, what’s worse than dating?

NEXT: Dune means we’re going to need more sand and, I’m sorry to say, sandworms

[pagebreak]​

Back in Dune land, things are going pretty much as you expect. Except somehow even weirder and more terrifying. Dudley clues the boys in that they’re doing way too much material. But! He loves it! And he immediately starts sketching out his vision for the whole thing, which involves a lot of sand (nice callback to season 1 when Brett mutters that he doesn’t care for sand), and — sigh — sandworms. I sigh because I couldn’t stop myself from reading this.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all this amazing Dune talk, the landlord comes up and sees Brett charging up his car again and kicks them out.

Tina and Michelle go to possibly-evil Anna’s house. Tina gives Michelle a talk about leadership and big guns, which in this case means her reaching into Michelle’s dress and putting said guns more prominently on display. Michelle is hesitant, but Tina is all, let’s do this.

Anna’s house is lovely and she looks pretty and fresh in a long white flowing thing; the whole house and Anna herself ooze quite a lot of money. Michelle hears Anna greet another woman with the same BS line about her skin feeling like velvet. This little betrayal that hints at a much bigger one, strengthens her resolve.

She tells Tina she needs to go find out if Anna ever actually sent her an email about the meeting she called about the charter school. This whole thing starts sending me into hives immediately, but Michelle goes on to ask Tina to create a distraction while she goes upstairs. Tina takes direction well: She starts asking the whole room to look at her while she makes a toast to their host and then, amazingly, she starts singing “Man in the Mirror” (bless) as Michelle creeps up the stairs. This is so stressful! She finds Anna’s bedroom — which resembles a super high end West Elm catalog — and finds Anna’s laptop. (Because I’m still in mourning about this show getting canceled I’m not going to go into how all the rest of the behavior that goes down at this party is extremely out of character. I trust the creators that they want Michelle out of character for a change. But still…)

Tina finds her, and Michelle somehow can get into Anna’s email with no problem and sure enough, no email. Michelle is furious. She stomps out to the pool, where Anna is holding court and confronts her: Anna keeps up the front like maybe Michelle is just being slightly hysterical and then her mask drops and her eyes narrow. She starts telling Michelle that nothing would be happening if it wasn’t for her and that without her there wouldn’t even be a charter school. Hey, Anna is evil! And nice job by the show in putting in just enough hits along the way without being obvious that we’d arrive at this place. Anna starts telling Michelle she didn’t invite her to that meeting because Michelle gets in the way and that she’s incompetent — but she doesn’t finish this thought because Michelle pushes her into the pool. Even Tina can’t believe it.

Back in the land of misfit Dune puppets, Alex gets a call from Big C that they’re offering him a million dollars to join the show full-time. This is great! Yet he doesn’t seem to want to tell Brett, which Brett picks up on immediately. So finally he tells him and then Alex is like, and see, here is why I didn’t want to tell you because you look at me like if I even consider doing anything that doesn’t involve melange and sandworms, I’m a sellout.

I’m with Alex on this one. Brett is being unreasonable and Alex makes the point that just because Brett is on some little vacation from his life, it doesn’t mean that Alex is doing something wrong by trying to live his. Brett finally relents. Oh, these guys.

Brett goes to Natalie’s house unannounced, which is an incredibly risky move! She’s kind of like, uh, so you can’t just do that? But, of course she’s totally kidding because she’s fantasy single girl, and she’s super chill and doesn’t wear a bra and doesn’t get at all freaked out about any of this. Actually, Brett is being so awesome — he even gets her a T-shirt, which would be a little much if it were anyone not named Duplass, but whatever — I start preemptively feeling a little nervous for poor Natalie, who thinks she’s met this great guy, not knowing she’s catching someone on a huge rebound bounce. But, time will tell.

And on that note, I’ll say again for the record I’m furious with HBO. Two episodes left forever. (Sob)

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