HBO’s Togetherness Is ‘Putting the Comedy Ahead of the Tragedy’

Melissa Moseley/HBO

2015 Preview | Premieres Sunday, Jan. 11, 9:30/8:30c, HBO

Married people always think single people have it made—and vice versa. On HBO’s Togetherness, a new half-hour comedy from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, the grass isn’t especially green on either side. “I think we feel like the grass can be green occasionally,” says Jay. “But in our experience, there’s a lot of drudgery and a small percentage of magical moments—and that’s how this idea started.”

Behold, the faces of ennui: Brett (played by Mark) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey), a longtime couple living in L.A. with two young kids. Exhibit B? Michelle’s free-spirited but secretly desperate-to-settle-down sister, Tina (Amanda Peet), and Brett’s high school buddy Alex (Steve Zissis), a struggling actor tormented by unrealized potential. When Tina and Alex become the couple’s houseguests—simultaneously and unexpectedly—it startles everyone out of their status quo. “It’s fun to explore how adding people to a dynamic changes it,” says Mark. Over the course of eight episodes, each member of the foursome will test boundaries both personal and shared—oftentimes finding humor in the emotionally charged situations. “All we’re really doing is putting the comedy after the tragedy,” Jay says. “It’s cringe, then giggle.”