One look at the cover of the Image miniseries Getting It Together evokes the opening credits of the hit ’90s sitcom Friends. No doubt this will appeal to fans of the TV show — a show that somehow gains new fans every generation. On a personal note, I have never been on board with Friends, which centers on a group of people finding themselves in situations that I never believed in. Although there was the attempt of exploring relationships on a dramatic level, it is a sitcom first and foremost, and one that hasn’t aged well.
Thankfully, Getting It Together, which is very current in terms our relationships with social media as well as ourselves in an openly sexual way, nails what I think Friends misses. Set in San Francisco, Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s indie rocker sister and roommate. However, when the romance crumbles due to Lauren sleeping with one of her bandmates, social shockwaves occur within Sam, Lauren and their friend group.
As a miniseries originally published as four issues centering on a bunch of twenty-somethings in the midst of messy social interactions, it is surprising how layered the book is, from both a writing and artistic standpoint. Co-written by Sina Grace and Omar Spahi, every character has their own flaws they are wrestling, from the central relationship between Lauren and Sam that can’t seem to resolve without arguing, to Jack constantly hooking up with guys during one-night stands and thus not really connecting.
Although the decisions of the characters are not always the right ones, including a drug-induced sequence that affects everyone (more on that later), the drama doesn’t present their situations in a dark or clichéd manner — there is humor in nearly every scene, but not so much that they become too comedic or feel forced. The banter between everyone, which often consists of conversations about sex, sounds truthful, even if the drama is about people who are really truthful to one another and even themselves.
As a dialogue-heavy piece of storytelling, credit must be given to Jenny D. Fine, who knows how to draw a visually dynamic book. Although the characters drawn in a simple and loose style may not be initially appealing, there is enough expression to get across their emotions. As grounded as the storytelling is, the artwork is very heightened in how it uses sound effects to express the music of Lauren’s band, whilst the panel layouts are constantly changing, especially during the third issue, where everyone is on drugs and thus nearly every page is like a psychedelic warp.
Although the three principal characters of Sam, Jack and Lauren get their own arc, whilst most of the supporting cast has their say, including the band’s drummer who got into a fight with his girlfriend due to him masturbating to porn, the final issue doesn’t give everyone a final resolution. Issue #4 – drawn by Sina Grace, who has cleaner line-work that complements M.X. Struble’s flat coloring – solely focuses on Lauren after leaving the band to make a name for herself as a solo artist. As charming as the whole issue is, it does feel like a weird epilogue that doesn’t give everyone closure. Even Lauren’s fate seems ambiguous, whether this is intentional or not.
Despite its odd detour towards the end, Getting It Together is an enjoyable dramedy where you get to spend time with interesting twenty-somethings, even if they mess up big time.
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