The Eagle Rock of ‘Togetherness’ is a post-hipster L.A. scene
Yes, Randy Newman, from the South Bay to the Valley, from the Westside to the Eastside, everybody loves L.A. these days. Television especially. In this recurring feature, L.A. Stories, we look at what TV is saying about the City of Angels in 2016.
HBO’s dearly departed relationship dramedy “Togetherness” wasn’t set, like most L.A.-based TV shows these days, in the bearded, barista-infested, gluten-free enclaves of Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz.
This gem of a series, created by multi-hyphenate brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, took place in Eagle Rock, the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood that’s the last stop before you hit Pasadena. It’s an area shared by young families, artists and people pushed out from the center of the city to more affordable environs.
Jay Duplass knows the territory well, having moved to Eagle Rock eight years ago with his wife, Jennifer, and their then-newborn child. (The couple now has two kids.) Duplass immediately latched onto the area as a way station on the edge of the huge city, a relatively placid place he could retreat to after spending the day working in Hollywood.
It’s the place where hipsters go to die or raise kids – which some people consider the same thing.
“It’s overwhelming when everyone I meet is involved in film,” Duplass says. “So when I cross the 5 and go over the hill on the 2, I leave the world that I work in and now get to go to the world I live in.”
Here’s a snapshot of that world as seen on “Togetherness,” with comments from Jay Duplass.
Brett and Michelle’s house, 5131 N. Maywood Ave., Los Angeles
The show’s primary setting, home to married-with-kids couple Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey).
“One of the things I’ve noticed about Eagle Rock is that it’s the place where hipsters go to die or raise kids – which some people consider the same thing,” Duplass says. “You will notice a migration of Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz hipsters when they have children and they realize, ‘We can’t live in this two-story walk-up. We need a house and a yard!’”
Peekaboo Playland, 2030 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles
This indoor playground is a popular spot on the birthday party circuit. If you have children and live in the neighborhood, you know it well. Plus: Free coffee for adults!
“When we moved to Eagle Rock, we had been in L.A. for three years and the city still felt sprawling and hard to understand,” Duplass says. “But once we settled in and started regarding our neighbors, literally, as our friends and sort of curating our experience, we started to feel at home.”
“Living in Los Angeles, you cannot let the city just have its way with you or you will just be in traffic and miserable and crying and screaming and maybe shooting people,” he adds. “Living here is not like New York, where you can let the city wash over you. You have to place a stake and say, ‘This is where I want to be,’ and then start building a community.”
You cannot let the city just have its way with you or you will just be in traffic and miserable and crying and screaming and maybe shooting people.
Tritch Hardware, 1620 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles
This family hardware store, known for its helpful, hands-on service, has been in Eagle Rock for generations. Jeff Tritch, a member of one of those generations, appeared in a “Togetherness” first-season episode.
“Eagle Rock has a small town within a city feel,” Duplass says. “There’s one of everything and you can walk just about everywhere. When we shot at this hardware store, there really wasn’t much of a question about asking the guy behind the counter to be in the episode,” Duplass continues. “Mark and I like casting real people in our projects. It just makes the scene feel more authentic. And, I’m sure I was thinking maybe I could get a discount the next time I went in there for some paint or something.”
Redbury Hotel, 1717 Vine St., Los Angeles
Brett and Michelle hit a fallow period in their sex life so they come to this stylish boutique hotel on Hollywood and Vine, hoping a change in scenery might jump-start things.
“We dressed the hotel room, adding more paintings of naked ladies,” Duplass says, “but it’s definitely the place couples come on the weekend to have sex. And sometimes, you know, you go to the sexy restaurant and the sexy hotel room and you overload the scenario. It can add to the pressure that’s already there. And that’s not romantic!”
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