Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Treatment

"The customer is always wrong."

What is In Treatment?

It's a half-hour drama that airs each weekday on American network HBO, following a therapist, Paul (Gabriel Byrne, pictured above) and his Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday patients, while on Friday he himself goes to see another therapist. It's extremely well done, with the psychological analysis and the complex characters making each episode a treat. I'm a few days behind - currently downloading 1x13 and the show's up to 1x15 - but I've loved every episode so far.

And the cast is excellent. I never saw Melissa George on Alias, but here she works well as Laura on Mondays, whose big secret revealed in the pilot sets off pretty much all the arcs for Paul that make his reactions to the sessions interesting to see in his own Friday sessions. Tuesdays bring Blair Underwood as Alex (my favourite patient by far), a navy pilot who quickly builds up an antagonism with Paul and has a lot bubbling underneath. Wednesdays bring Mia Wasikowska as Sophie, whose teenage angst is player perfectly as we peer into the life of a talented and damaged young gymnast. Thursdays bring Embeth Davidtz and Josh Charles as couple Amy and Jake, whose couples therapy sessions are my least favourite but still hold a lot of drama.

However, the series is about Paul, and Fridays are where it all culminates - his struggles with his patients and his family all move towards a climax as we, after interpreting a week of hints and expressions, finally get to see what's going on in his head. His sessions with Gina, played by the excellent Dianne Wiest, are revelatory both in their (non-romanitic) backstory and their dynamic. We see that, despite being a therapist Paul will never be able to properly analyse himself, and routinely falls into the same holes his patients do while when facing a therapist.

Another favourite is Michelle Forbes as his wife, Kate. She appears with less regularity, but her character is full of fire and Forbes brings it full force every time we see her. She gets a great showcase in 1x09, one that made me fall in love with the character and hope she comes back with much more regularity.

The writing, acting, directing of this series all get top marks from me. There's something about this series, and how it's avoided more buzz and notice I don't understand. It's challenging to keep up with, but wholly rewarding. I have half a mind to track down Betipul, the Isreali series it's based on, just because waiting 1-2 days in between episodes is agony.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay you posted something! This post is pretty cool :)