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Shuffling characters on Togetherness shows different sides of everyone

Illustration for article titled Shuffling characters on iTogetherness /ishows different sides of everyone
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There’s a great line in the movie The Accidental Tourist about how it’s not about how much you love somebody, but who you are when you’re with that person. In this episode of Togetherness, we see different facets of characters that are pretty familiar by this point, and it all depends on who they’re hanging out with. To Brett, Michelle is this horrible duplicitous person, but to Anna and the charter-school committee, she’s a hero. Around Michelle, Brett is a sour, dour person, but when he’s flirting with Natalie, he’s so goddamn delightful, I actually forgot that he could be that entertaining. Being around baby Frank makes Larry seems like a potential father, but he’s really not. Joshua Leonard’s director Dudley has been horrible to Brett, but Alex gets to see an entirely different, vulnerable side of him. Tina is now almost completely maternal around Frank (and man, babies are just that disgusting), which turns into an explosive blowup with Larry.

No offense to Mark Duplass’ wife, but I don’t know about this Anna character. Firing the contractor when they’re already behind on a project that has a definite deadline (the first day of school) seems pretty risky. And it also seems pretty convenient that “she’s got a guy.” Don’t they have to get competing bids or something? It was fun to see Anna and Michelle stick to the Breakfast Club janitor, but like Michelle, I fear this could have negative connotations in the long run.


More fun was the turnaround of the hilariously named Dudley, from a complete asshole to Brett in the past, to a paranoid lunatic tearing apart Alex’s trailer (just like Blair Witch, man) to a fellow Dune afficionado. I predict that Dudley will want to produce this puppet show and Brett will balk at having to work with him. Hey Brett, people can change (which I believe is what this show is trying to say overall). Brett and Michelle gradually transformed right out of their marriage. Tina has found a new side that she didn’t even know that she had. And Alex’s life, of course, has changed in every way possible. So why not Dudley? A new Dune puppet show might be just the thing to lift his spirits, It’s certainly done wonders for Brett and Alex.

For Tina, the danger of the relationship with Larry, why it was doomed from the start, was that it was pretty much all she had. No job, no money of her own, no place to live. With the two of them at this crossroads (and Larry being so kind about it, I’m really going to miss him), there is no way for them to go forward. And then what does she have? Of course she drives to Alex’s apartment, because even after their fight, he’s the strongest connection in her life other than her sister. It’s convenient that Alex is also single again right now (Christy’s goodbye note was hilarious), but Tina is going to have to find something else for herself first, before she will be able to spend her life successfully with someone else. The Larry relationship was too one-sided; she is already gaining strength by taking such good care of Frank and finding out what she’s good at. Now, hopefully, she can build on that. Togetherness is showing so much how people are affected by the other people they’re around, but Tina’s journey will be internal. She needs to find out from herself how to make her life work.

For everyone else, though, it’s fun and games, pot lollipops, beige bodysuits, and flirting up a a storm. Brett, with his intense knowledge of ’70s rock music, may just be riffing on Bruce Hornsby And The Range, but what’s he’s saying applies to everyone in Togetherness (and as is so often on this show, everyone period). Bruce Hornsby is a different entity without The Range, just like “Just The Range” is without Bruce Hornsby. They may rock just as hard (or, more likely, not much at all), but in an entirely different way.

Stray observations

  • Wouldn’t Alex automatically know it was Tina on the line (although maybe she called his landline)?
  • Man, Brett and Michelle can not communicate at all. Kind of makes you wonder how they managed to have two kids together. Also makes us nostalgic for the Brett and Michelle of the party only a few episodes ago.
  • I really want to see not only the Dune puppet show in actuality (those opening shots are pretty impressive), but Alex’s TV show. So he’s no longer a pimp, but now dresses like death metal royalty, who someone has locked in a dungeon for his sleeping disorder? Alex is becoming more like a Snape-esque hero every second.
  • Natalie was in scrubs, right, so how would she have had wine?
  • Power rankings: I would say that everyone is getting there? Brett (1) is clearly leading the pack by rebounding from getting kicked in the head (props to those catfight girls, they really brought it) to a truly cute meet-flirt. Alex (2) is making headway with his new director and may have found a backer for an unlikely new project. Michelle (3) is finding new strength at work, although she may have made a misstep. And Tina continues to trail the pack at (4), although the break with Larry, much as we like him, can only be a good thing.
  • “Don’t ask people how they are, Brett, if you don’t really want to know how they are!”
  • I once fell asleep right in front of Bruce Hornsby at his show at the Park West or somewhere. Sorry, Bruce Hornsby.

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