Togetherness – “Houston, We Have a Problem”

Season One, Episode Four

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Grade: A

From the get-go, Togetherness has been about the struggling marriage between Brett and Michelle. They’re both good parents who are raising young children successfully, but there is a lot more involved that isn’t all fine and dandy as it may seem. In the bedroom, they’re not having sex and that’s a fear that everyone has when they get married. Sure, everyone thinks, “that won’t be us,” but as the tale as old as time goes, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Every episode, Brett and Michelle are trying to break out of their cold spell and do new, exciting, different things for each other to arouse them. Michelle tried to take control and spank Brett while he was on all fours, but that backfired. She then went out to a bar trying to see if she still had that magic touch she once had when she was younger. But up to this point, it was Michelle who seemed to be fighting with herself trying to work up the strength to have sex with Brett once again. In this episode, we see a bit more inside with how Brett’s feeling.

Keeping up with their spontaneous attempts to excite each other, Brett and Michelle go out to a fancy dinner and he even surprises her with a hotel room for the evening. Sure, it’s not very spontaneous to plan the entire evening, but it’s a great gesture that Michelle can appreciate, except for the fact that once this all begins to happen, she starts dreading the fact that they’re going to have sex. She dreads it to the point where she calls her sister from the bathroom to maybe brainstorm a way out of it, but Tina advises her to get in the bedroom and screw her husband. Michelle finally forces herself back to the bedroom. She’s walking on egg shells, fearing what’s going to happen next, but Brett senses her tension and assures her that it’s fine if they don’t have sex and just watch television all night long. Michelle’s reaction absolutely killed me while watching it. It was like a huge boulder was thrown off of her shoulders as she sighed in relief, with remarks of how amazing an idea that was. How could you not feel for Brett at this moment?

But to Michelle’s credit, she does attempt to have sex with him because she feels it’s important. And we know it is, so they try their best but it was like watching a couple have sex for the first time. Everything was awkward, there was no rhythm, and Brett was so nervous that he couldn’t finish the deed and jumped out of bed in a rage. To his defense, Brett has every right to be frustrated and angry. His wife isn’t attracted to him anymore, they haven’t had sex in however long, and he knows that it’s more of a chore than a desire for her at this point. But then Brett drops the bomb on Michelle that he’s not even into her anymore either, and how he just wants to get it done because it’s what should happen. He admits it’s not easy having sex with the same person for ten years. It’s a lot to take in and it’s a seriously painful discussion for any married couple to have, but at the end of the day they’re going to do everything in their power to avoid divorce.

I very much like Brett and Michelle a lot. They’re good people and it’s clear they’re both trying their best to keep their marriage afloat, but they’ve hit such a speed bump that it’s going to take a lot for them to get past this obstacle. Can a sexless marriage succeed? Up to this point, they haven’t really addressed the problem head on, but now it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with it. Are they going to seek therapy? Some self-help books? Will they be open to the idea of change or are they going to be stubborn and hope things get better without much attempts. I feel like they’ll give it a legitimate shot to seek therapy, but this might be a lot tougher to solve than they suspect.

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Meanwhile, Alex and Tina travel to Texas to pack up her things, which means they get to spend a night in her hometown where they hang out with some of her friends. Alex is still going through the phase of getting over his crush for Tina, and the best thing possible happens to Alex: he immediately hits it off with Tina’s friend Pam. And the friends were right, they made a really cute couple together while they danced on the floor and held each other close enough to show their affection, but stuff enough to show how they were both a bit nervous. What they had seemed genuine, but Tina’s not the kind of girl to have her thunder stolen. As Alex put it, she performed the biggest cock-block in history as she tried to out-dance them on the floor with a stranger, and then got so drunk she dragged Alex to drive her home instead of spending the evening with Pam.

At this point of the series, Tina is the least likeable of all the characters. She’s selfish and she uses people for her own gain without thinking of the consequences. She brings about chaos wherever she goes, but she always gets bailed out by her sister or by the goodwill of people, like Alex. But the end of the episode was sweet when in her own way, Tina apologizes to Alex for ruining his chances with Pam. Tina’s not the kind of person who has a lot of friends because of her personality and the way she’s able to burn bridges based off of her bad decisions. Does she realize that Alex might be the best person in her life? Probably not, but for the time being she does realize she was wrong to hurt a friend. This is growth in baby steps.

So is there hope for our characters on Togetherness? Is George Harrison’s wife right when she said the trick to staying married is just not to get divorced? Can Alex and Tina find romance in the future? You have to assume her thing with Larry isn’t going to last and who’s going to be there for her when it all goes to hell? It’s going to be Alex. Right now, I say there’s more hope for those lost ducklings than for the Michelle and Brett.

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