SXSW Episodic Pilot Program Review: Everyone Together (Episode 1) hones a snappy, dark-leaning sense of humour

*The AU Review will continue with its planned SXSW 2020 coverage.  We have been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended.

The description outlined for the comedy series Everyone Together sounds rather typical.  Dysfunctional families from two very different cultural backgrounds subsequently bond and clash in equal measure during a particular event.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

And whilst the events of the first episode play into the basics of the proposed narrative, there’s enough wit and self-awareness for it to get away with its convenient tropes.  The pilot sets up a series ripe with potential drama from the immediate get-go as siblings Lulu and Martin (co-creators Jessica Kaye and Steven Klein) witness their younger, more free-spirited sister, Fern (Emily James), get engaged to Eli (Iman Nazemzadeh), who just happens to be the younger brother of Lulu’s long-time boyfriend, Daniel (Reza Sixo Safai).

It’s all just a little bit complicated and mentally incestuous, so it makes sense that when the episode jumps 6 months on to the planned ceremony of Fern and Eli, Lulu and Daniel are no longer together, and tensions between the siblings are particularly high; it isn’t helped that their parents looks at Fern as the saving grace to their marriage.

The plan for Everyone Together is for each individual season to focus on a particular family event – a novel idea – but, I must say, given just how much drama is evoked in this first 23 minute episode, it’ll be a miracle for any of the relationships to survive long enough to get to the next event.

As stereotypical as the plotting is, and the character outlines for such players as Lulu and Fern are quite archetypal too – Lulu’s a sarcastic, headstrong bitch, Fern’s an optimist cut from the “pixie dream-girl” cloth – the cast all ground their counterpart’s heightened personalities with a sense of realism.  Kaye and Klein are particularly organic in their delivery and chemistry as a sibling duo who have had to rely on each other to survive the suggested volatility of their parents’ marriage, before bounding together as each other’s support system when the birth of Fern earned the affection they never had.

It’ll be interesting to see where Everyone Together manages to place among the current state of situational comedy.  This first episode suggests it hones a snappy, dark-leaning sense of humour that may not appeal to the sitcom traditionalists, but would play well within the landscape of visual programming that honours adult-driven comedy which isn’t afraid to make us like unlikeable people.


Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.