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Stand-up comedians Esther Povitsky (aka Little Esther) and Benji Aflalo co-write, co-star and executive produce Alone Together, about Esther and Benji, misfit platonic best friends who want nothing more than to be accepted by the vain and status-obsessed culture of Los Angeles. Despite their constant bickering, when push comes to shove, they’ve got each other’s back – especially since they have nobody else to hang out with.
Povitsky shares more than a first name with her character, who similarly moved to LA from the midwest to try make it as a comedian but quickly found she didn’t fit in. As Povitsky told Seth Meyers about her own move, “In the Midwest, I’m a seven. On the East Coast, I’m a six. And in L.A, I’m a cocker spaniel…”
Povitsky told Variety that Alone Together started as a short film created “from not being able to get a job.” The short landed her a meeting with Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andy Samberg and his Emmy-winning Lonely Island collaborators Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, followed by a deal with Freeform, who have already renewed Alone Together for a second season.
Since then, things have come together better for Povitsky than her struggling fictional alter-ego: in 2017, she cracked Variety’s annual 10 Comics To Watch list, which has launched the likes of Zach Galifianakis, Amy Schumer and Rebel Wilson over the years. Variety praised her work as a “scene-stealer” as Maya on the Golden Globe-winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and also name-checked her appearances on Netflix’s Love and Lady Dynamite, the popular podcast Weird Adults With Little Esther, and the TruTV series Cocktales With Esther.
On Alone Together, she worked with top comedic directors like Amy York Rubin (SMILF), Daniel Gray Longino (Portlandia), Jay Karas (Parks & Recreation), Kat Coiro (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and Todd Biermann (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia).
The result? As Consequence of Sound wrote, “In a world of cutesy teen shows and formulaic sitcoms with a big, beating heart in the middle, Freeform’s caustically hilarious Alone Together stands out from the pack…” with its “quick-witted dialogue… brilliantly deadpan performances from both Povitsky and Aflalo… and gut-busting sociopathy.”
Or as Uncle Barky said, “Laugh out loud funny… There’d be no hope for the future were every millennial this way.”
Variety also praised the show for the way it “breaks down the construct that men and women can’t just be platonic friends. Although other characters within the show constantly ask Povitsky and Aflalo’s characters why they aren’t dating each other, both are very confident in the fact that they really are just friends. The tension comes between them not because of ‘will they or won’t they’ but from forces all around them as they struggle to find their place in the world — and find romantic partners they are actually interested in.”
Consequence of Sound added, “What’s even better is that Povitsky and Aflalo don’t stop at subverting that trope. Yes, Esther and Benji are platonic friends, but it isn’t simply that they aren’t, and will never be, together. It’s that no one in their right mind, no one with any idea of who these people are or how they operate as a pair, would want to see them together… It’s not a will-they-or-won’t-they, it’s a they-won’t-and-thank-god.”
“Alone Together is easily the best show ever made,” Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone told Deadline when Alone Together was renewed. “If you don’t watch it, you’re a fool. There are four million shows on TV, but this is the only one worth watching.”
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