Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Binge Club: Togetherness

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Welcome to our new series looking at the good, the bad and the obscure of on-demand viewing. Each week, we'll choose a series from various New Zealand streaming sites and determine whether they're worth watching.
A scene from Togetherness, starring Kiwi actress Melanie Lynskey.
A scene from Togetherness, starring Kiwi actress Melanie Lynskey.

It should be a bit too dark, a little too grim, a touch too ordinary. After all, this suburban family drama featuring our very own Melanie Lynskey examines the kinds of things that are probably going on behind a white picket fence somewhere near you.

An unsatisfying marriage, mysterious men tempting affairs, unemployed dads reliving their youth, friends crashing on the couch a little too often, family members who really just need to get their shit together, others who should just give up on the booze.

Read more:
Binge Club: Younger

But, like its biggest comparison Catastrophe, Togetherness features enough filthy jokes, hilarious banter and slapstick comedy to cut through the serious mid-life issues that it seems determined to tackle.

A scene from Togetherness.
A scene from Togetherness.

Lynskey plays the bored housewife perfectly, Mark Duplass shines as the mid-life crisis dad, and Alex Pappas is great as his cuddly best friend. But what really makes Togetherness perfect binge material is Amanda Peet. Remember her? No? She was in The Whole Nine Yards with Bruce Willis back in 2000.

Still no? Doesn't matter. With her smeared make-up, she's constantly ruffled, occasionally confused, drifting between relationships, jealous of her sister's family but always, always refusing to think before she speaks. She steals nearly every scene she's in.

"Do you see this smile?" she asks at one point? "I'm dead inside."

Written by the Duplass brothers Mark (The League) and Jay, the good news is season one is available now on Neon, and you can easily rip through the eight half-hour episodes in a weekend. I did. Season two is playing on SoHo right now.

The bad news is that HBO has cancelled Togetherness after those two seasons. But that shouldn't put you off from watching. While further seasons were mapped out, reviewers say everything works out in the end. Sort of.

For fans of: Transparent, Life in Pieces, Girls
Better than: Modern Family, Dr Ken
Not as good as: Catastrophe

- NZ Herald

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Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Schulz has interviewed some of music's biggest names during his career writing for various entertainment publications in New Zealand. He is a Herald and TimeOut feature writer who covers music, movies, TV and games both online and in print.

Read more by Chris Schulz

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