Togetherness Recap: Michelle’s New Rival

Amanda Peet as Tina, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle. Photo: HBO


Geri-ina Season 2 Episode 6
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Welp, Togetherness heads, I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now: Togetherness has been canceled. What a bummer! This is such a great show, but I guess it just didn’t get the ratings that HBO wanted. Let’s all take a minute to pour out a 40, or if I want to be more accurate, let’s pour out a kale smoothie. Okay, now that we’ve mourned, it’s time to move on. I don’t want to dwell in the sadness when we have yet another great episode on our hands.

As you’ll remember, last week’s “Just the Range” was a doozy: Larry and Tina broke up, Brett is getting involved with a woman named Natalie, and Michelle doesn’t have any idea. Let’s just dive right into “Geri-ina” because we need to discuss how things might play out going forward.

We open with Brett alone at Alex’s apartment, talking to the mirror as if it’s Natalie. Did I mention that he’s hella naked and Alex walks in on him? Because that’s what happens. Brett tells him about Natalie, and I like how Alex isn’t criticizing him for having fun. That doesn’t mean that Brett doesn’t feel guilty, but maybe hanging out with someone new will help him decide what to do about Michelle. I love, love, love how Alex isn’t judging him and just listens. #TrueFriend.

Speaking of Michelle, she and Tina are discussing their issues, too. Brett is still ignoring his wife and, medically speaking, Tina has a geriatric vagina. So, everything is juuuust great! In all seriousness, Tina is ready to find a bae, so she’s on Tinder. Girl. Friend. Tinder is where you go when you want peen on delivery instead of DiGiorno (a.k.a. getting off with a vibrator or dildo). Nevertheless, I wish her all the best with this Tinder mess. While Tina is swiping through dudes, Michelle gets a phone call from one of the other charter-school members. Anna is hosting a meeting for a fundraiser. Huh? What?

So Tina and Michelle head to the restaurant. The meeting is already over. Michelle asks Anna what’s up and Anna is like, “Why are you late, babe? I emailed you.” Naturally, this means she didn’t and she is super shady. I feel bad for Michelle here. Not just because her life is falling apart, but because she really is a pushover — or, at least, she is seen as a pushover. Her tiny baby voice makes her a perfect target for someone like Anna, who acts all sunshine and lollipops, literally, but is actually a backstabber. Is this what it’s like to be on a school board? Just like high school? If so, I’ll just home-school my kid. My husband can cuss him out when I’m feeling annoyed.

Meanwhile, Brett and Alex go to meet Dudley to get the Dune play off the ground. Brett is not happy that Dudley wants to be involved, but he’s open to giving it a shot. The trio go to Alex’s place and run the play. Is it just me or is this play kind of trash? I commend the papier-mâché, but it’s an embarrassing project. None of them see that, so they are figuring out ways to make it better — sorry, you can’t — and as they’re coming up with new ideas, Alex’s landlord tells them that he needs to move out. All because of this Dune garbage. LOL.

Later that night, Tina goes to meet up with her Tinder date and he doesn’t look like his profile photo because he photoshopped it. He is a dick about it, too, which makes her go, “I don’t want to start off with a lie.” Then he’s like, “You’re profile pic is from when?” And the answer is … a Coldplay concert from 15 years ago. Timeout: Amanda Peet is forever beautiful, whether it’s 15 years ago or today. This guy is a nightmare. Is this what Tinder dating is like? Because if so, I’ll just stay at home and watch Wahlbergers and live that single life.

Back to the school stuff. We see that the fundraiser is going down at Anna and her husband’s house. Tons of rich people are there; Anna is basically wearing, like, a Vera Wang gown. I hate this woman. And it seems like Michelle hates her too — finally! — so she has Tina make a diversion, so she can sneak upstairs and find that email on Anna’s laptop. This is the worst idea. I get that Michelle wants to fight back, but what if she gets caught? Then she’ll be that weird lady who goes through people’s emails. When you’re not comfortable standing up for yourself and your husband basically tells you to STFU, I guess you get aggressive about the wrong things. And because Tina is ride or die, she agrees to the plan. Her diversion? She sings “Man in the Mirror.” Michelle finds the laptop in Anna’s bedroom and goes through the emails. Just as she suspected, Anna never included her on the email. I knew it! I freakin’ knew it! The way Anna was all about firing that contractor and then hiring her own guy was totes suspicious.

Michelle confronts Anna by the outdoor pool and it’s pretty much a disaster. Anna gets all mean girl and is like, “This school wouldn’t be shit without me.” Then Michelle is like, “I looked at your emails.” WHAT?! Michelle, don’t lead with that dirt! Anna is not having it: She says that her friends will fund the school entirely and she doesn’t invite Michelle to meetings because Michelle is ineffective, crazy, and incompetent. Tell us how you really feel, Anna! Michelle snaps and shoves her into the pool, then Michelle and Tina run out of the party. Not the way I would’ve handled things, but I applaud this. Anna is an asshole.

Brett and Alex are packing up Alex’s belongings. Alex gets a phone call; it’s a million-dollar offer to do a TV show for two seasons. WHOA! Amazing. Of course, Brett is quasi-weird about it because of the Dune project. Classic Brett. Just be a supportive friend and say, “Yay! So glad you finally have the career you want!” ARGH! It’s two steps forward and one step back with this guy. I will admit, though: I agree with Brett that Alex’s TV show sounds like hot garbage. But Alex knows that! He’s not dumb; sometimes you have to do terrible, well-paying gigs to have a career as an actor.

Brett pops by Natalie’s place. Are they dating now? Does she know that he’s separated? They never talk about it, so … no? If that’s the case, it’s shitty and unfair to her. Hmm. Anyway, he made her a T-shirt about the Range, which is kind of cute.

All in all, “Geri-ina” is a pretty solid episode. I’m still wondering about Michelle’s character arc this season, though. It’s just not that interesting to watch her be so focused on the school. I’m not saying that she needs to be out there hooking up with guys, but it’s weird that her feelings about her troubled marriage aren’t explored more. (Or her feelings about anything else, for that matter.) As I mentioned in my “Advanced Pretend” recap, a Tina/Michelle buddy episode would greatly benefit her character. She is the most underdeveloped of the gang, and we don’t know much about her. And because she is so prone to not speak up or be aggressive — the pool shoving was a total Tina-inspired move — it’s hard to get a handle on her end of the marriage. I know that Brett deeply loves her. I know that he is working on being less selfish and a better communicator. He has Alex to help him along — and heck, he even has moments with Tina. But now that Tina is on her own journey, Michelle has no other friends. There is so much more to her character. When will we get to see the rest?

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Are you shipping Brett and Natalie? Do you also think this Dune business is terrible?

Togetherness Recap: School Bully