Small Screen Sound Off: Acting alone, together

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Esther Povitsky and Benji Alflalo face the troubles of living alone in their early 20s together

BY
COLUMN EDITOR


Freeform’s newest comedy series, “Alone Together,” features two wannabe, young adult , Los Angeles comedians who are trying to figure out their lives. The two friends are codependent and uncomfortable, creating realistic circumstances and superficially quirky scenarios.

The show is produced, created and starred-in by Benji Aflalo and Esther Povitsky, who are known for their roles in “Pauly Shore’s: Vegas is my Oyster” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” respectively. How they met in real life is similar to how their characters on the show met — with Aflalo heckling Povitsky at The Comedy Store, a famous comedy club in L.A.

The actors play exaggerated versions of themselves, carrying out life post-high school without having gone to college. Benji lives with his semi-famous older brother and sister, while Esther mooches off of their fame and, mostly, their fortune.

The show is hilariously uncomfortable. As I watched Esther attempt to pose in her jean shorts and sports bra at a pool party, surrounded by significantly prettier girls, I was transported back to my awkward middle school years.

“We’re the ugliest people here,” Benji says, laughing at Esther’s poses and staring at the crowd of typically beautiful Californians.

The awkward duo finds themselves in new and odd situations, from taking road trips to attending real estate galas in the hopes of getting Benji’s stereotypically hot and dumb older brother, Dean (played by Chris D’Elia), to notice Esther. Nothing works out in the end how it was expected to, though, leaving room for frustration and confusion between the friends.

People continuously accuse them of being in a relationship and tell them that they are mentally unstable. This causes a complex of blame as they reliably jump at the chance to call others unhealthy.

Their friend Jeff (played by Edgar Blackmon) is often the butt of those accusations, when in reality he is the sweetest and healthiest of the friend group, which is probably why he is not around as often as the other two, and why they seem to always forget about him.

“We’re ugly people trying to sleep with pretty people, do you think that’s what Darwin would have wanted?” Benji says in an episode where Esther tries to get Dean to notice her and forget about his stalker-ish ex-girlfriend.

The jokes are delivered on what seems to be a purposefully forced script, ensuring that every dialogue is unexpected and authentic. The duo transform real-life mediocrity into unbelievable hilarity. I have never giggled as many times during a show as I do this one.

As Freeform has already planned on a second season, “Alone Together” will likely only get funnier to attract more attention to the show. In the latest episode, Esther panics about a 3.7 grade earthquake and tries to get Benji’s famous older sister to stay in the house so they can “die together.”

“When I was little, a tornado was 90 miles away from my house,” Esther says, terrified. “Since then, I put all my favorite things in a box so I can be buried with them when I die.”

“Alone Together” airs every Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Freeform, but it can also be streamed on Hulu every week right after the air time.

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