When one thinks about millennial culture, humor is one of the first things that comes to mind. Whether it be self-depreciating or absurdist, millennials love to make light of the darkness that seems to overtake the world. Freeform’s newest comedy is the perfect example of this, taking two twenty-somethings and telling a coming-of-age story for the modern era. While it may not take itself too seriously, “Alone Together” is a genuine treat when it comes to delivering laughs and connecting with its audience.
Starting with the title, “Alone Together” symbolizes what many members of the younger generations feel; we are more connected than ever as a society through social media, yet people still feel alone in the world. The characters of Esther (Esther Povitsky) and Benji (Benji Afalo) are representations of this concept, but they are also meant to showcase the uncertainty and worry that many feel toward the future. Benji belongs to a wealthy family and doesn’t have to worry about money, but he is still figuring out exactly what he wants from life. He doesn’t try too hard at anything and takes a more nonchalant approach to the struggles and peaks of his life. Esther on the other hand is less-well off and tries too hard to accomplish the goals she sets; she has a lot that she wants to do, but most of the time she ruins things for herself by being overly eager. In many senses, both Benji and Esther act like children who are hesitant to grow up and face adult life; this is a fear that most young people have, especially in regards to giving up the perks of being a child.
Many comedies (and dramas) such as this force the two protagonists together into a romantic relationship whether they fit together or not. Benji and Esther do not fit together at all and they know it; they aren’t soulmates and even their pairing as friends makes you scratch your head a bit, but they does ultimately work well together. They are totally platonic and the series does an excellent job at making this clear while highlighting their differences and similarities. When they aren’t making jokes about their own physical and intellectual shortfalls, they are poking fun at each other. Whether it’s Benji pointing out Esther’s bizarre obsession with teen culture or Esther laughing at Benji’s lackluster love life, the two are shown to be the most unexpected match as friends. Both characters are quite awkward and the writing plays this up and makes both Esther and Benji incredible relatable and endearing. It’s easy to see oneself in them as they use humor to cope with their struggles; going back to millennial culture, many recognize that humor is one of the most common ways that the younger generations cope with their own imperfections, as well as the difficulties of the world.
“Alone Together” works so well because of its two leads in Esther and Benji. Both Povitsky and Afalo (who also serve as co-creators, writers and executive producers) bring their characters to life and encapsulate exactly what it means to be a millennial in today’s society. Esther’s over-the-top personality is the perfect foil to Benji’s calm and cool demeanor; they contrast each other, but they are also so similar that it makes perfect sense that they are best friends. Both actors hit the comedic beats and allow the writing to really shine; this is a series with genuine laugh-out-loud dialogue that still feels grounded in reality. The style and tone of comedy can definitely be traced back to the show’s producers, The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer). Tackling issues of vanity, growing up, uncertainty and even death, “Alone Together” goes above and beyond the expectations one might have from the initial synopsis. It’s a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t follow a serialized format, making it a perfect choice for a show to watch casually or to binge through in one sitting…because that’s the millennial thing to do. However you chose to watch it, this is one show that you will want to get caught up on.
“Alone Together” has been renewed for a second season with the air date to be announced. The first season is currently streaming on Hulu and the Freeform app.