Alone Together premieres January 10th, 8:30pm on Freeform.
By Chris Flanagan
Alone Together can be best described as Difficult People for millennials. How you respond upon reading that sentence will determine whether or not this show is worth your time.
Alone Together follows Esther and Benji, two twenty-somethings that live with Benji’s parents while trying to survive amongst Los Angeles culture. They struggle to make sense of their lives which results in several hilarious moments over the course of the show, most notably in the first episode when Esther “accidentally” joins an escort service. If you’re familiar with shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm or Difficult People, then you have already seen this show. The only difference is that these curmudgeons are much younger. I believe that this premise would work better if either Benji or Esther were more likable, but they almost always come across as self-absorbed whiners that deflect any real responsibility for themselves onto others by pointing out their problems and insecurities. This results in an inability to connect with their characters on any level. This also gives rise to another glaring issue with the narrative in that it is extremely repetitive and overdone. Each episode revolves around one of the two main characters getting themselves into a situation and then quickly getting out of it before episode’s end by placing blame or the attention solely on someone or something else to the extent that they are freed from any repercussions or consequences. The effect is meant to be funny and endearing but instead comes across as one-note and tiresome because it is the formula for each episode.
However, there are truly funny lines delivered throughout the show as well as some solid comedic moments. You can see fairly quickly that both Esther and Benji have a good feel for comedic timing as they interact with one another and even improvise during certain scenes. Their chemistry is great and was the reason I stuck around for more than just two or three episodes, but the show does not do Benji and Esther any favors by often making them the only two people onscreen for long stretches at a time. This could’ve been for a myriad of reasons, but I felt that it ultimately hurt them over the course of the show because their quips and witty remarks lost some of their venom due to a repetitious delivery style back and forth between the two with rarely anyone else involved.
Where I struggled the most with this show was attempting to figure out the best way for others to view it. In my opinion, bingeing Alone Together would not be the answer became of its extremely repetitive delivery of snark to the point where most of it just became white noise as my attention quickly waned. With that in mind, I believe that either viewing Alone Together in bunches or week to week would serve as the best option for enjoying because in spurts this show can be really funny and poignant.
I find that Alone Together is an acquired taste that viewers will know fairly early on if they have the patience for, but it can be funny at times and offers a glimpse from some truly interesting and disturbing perspectives on life. I anticipate this show being successful on Freeform because it will tap into the very audience that most of these viewers are about to become in a couple of years. It’s almost as if they will be watching their own futures in preparation for the difficult times ahead without even realizing it. I enjoyed the show, but it took me awhile to get to that point and while I would recommend watching at least the first two episodes, I feel like there should be some parameters set beforehand on how and when you view it. If that’s the type of show you need, then look no further, but most will overlook this show easily and possibly find it streaming months from now. Either way, I managed to laugh more than I thought I would, but the six episodes provided to critics were more enough for me.
I give Alone Together a C+.