HBO Relationship Report Card: Girls, Looking, Togetherness

With the return of feels-filled dramedies Girls and Looking and the premiere of Togetherness (HBO Canada, Jan. 11), we consulted Toronto therapist Ashley Howe about whether these couples can survive this season’s love land mines

Girls TV Show Lena Dunham Adam Driver

Girls Season 4
Premise A group of 20-something NYC hipsters come to terms with the fact that #thestruggleisreal.
Couple’s crisis Long-distance love
Previously on Girls Neurotic essayist Hannah (Lena Dunham) is leaving the stoops of Brooklyn and her neurotic actor boyfriend, Adam (Adam Driver), behind for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Professional assessment The trick to long distance, Howe says, is not to overthink the time you do spend together. “When you’re visiting, do normal stuff,” Howe says. “Don’t just cocoon the whole time, because that’s not necessarily your world.”
Long-term compatibility Promising: “Sometimes messy and messy work.”

Looking TV Show

Looking Season 2
Premise Originally labelled “the gay Girls,” this hangout show features a gaggle of hot San Fran guys.
Couple’s crisis Office romance
Previously on Looking Video-game designer Patrick (Jonathan Groff) succumbed to the advances of his coupled-up British boss Kevin (Russell Tovey). Whoopsies!
Professional assessment Howe prescribes an emergency de-escalation to restore professionalism to their relationship: “The only time you’re talking is when you’re sober, you’re at work, you’re in a meeting.”
Long-term compatibility Terrible, especially given Kevin’s long-term partner: “Patrick values loyalty, consistency in relationships and trust. He isn’t following through on himself.”

Togetherness TV Show

Togetherness Season 1
Premise Tensions boil when married couple Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle Pierson (Melanie Lynskey) allow Michelle’s sister (Amanda Peet) and their pal Alex (Steve Zissis) to move in with them.
Couple’s crisis Marital doldrums
This Season on Togetherness After 10 years, the Piersons wish their banging was as passionate as their fights.
Professional assessment “Boredom is one of the most universal things that couples bring up. Take sex off the table for a month. As soon as that stress goes down, you start to open up a bit more.”
Long-term compatibility Excellent. “You can have horrible-looking years. Sticking it out—that’s the new story of love.”