Tuesday, January 04, 2011

In Treatment

I don't watch much TV but these past few days I've been riveted by a series on HBO called In Treatment. I'm sure most people know about it but I came to it only recently and with little expectation only to be completely stunned. The series centers around a therapist, Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) and his sessions with a group of five patients as well as his own therapy with a former mentor, Gina (Dianne Wiest) to repair a faltering marriage. Both Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest are seasoned, spectacular actors but what I've really enjoyed are the narrative arcs of the therapy sessions and the individual portrayals of the patients. Because the whole episode is based in a room and is centered pretty much just around two people talking, dialogue and the enactment of a character are what drives the show and the performers have done a great job fleshing each individual out. I particularly enjoyed watching Mia Wasikowski as Sophie and the relationship that is sculpted over the course of the series as she and Paul spend time trying to help her. There's a tenderness that plays over Paul's face as he interacts with Sophie that echoes something very human and Gabriel Byrne brings this out so well. I don't want to gush all over this page but watch the series if you get a chance. Most of prime time television is choked with entertainment contrived to make us laugh at its gags or be shocked by the antics of individuals who bear no relationship to our lives, people we cannot really relate to being paid to do things that almost never happen in real life. In Treatment is exceptional because it brings alive the potential of human connection by making us watch ordinary people talk to each other. The prospect that mere words, and a kind, compassionate ear, can help repair broken lives is almost too much to resist.

10 Comments:

OpenID adnan. said...

I just started watching this yesterday!

5:00 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

That's an interesting coincidence! How do you like it?

7:01 PM  
Blogger ..aisha said...

Nice! The therapist...he's a phenomenal actor and i like the fact that they have to really act out the words and emotions.

thanks for sharing! :D

Oh..and I know they are not similiar but there are some short pakistani dramas that are based on social issues as well..

- Talluq
- Libaas
- Manzil (pehli doosri teesri etc)

Good watch for some..and some just make your stomach turn.

3:45 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

Aisha: Thanks for the recommendations. Will see if I can find them here.

9:59 AM  
OpenID adnan. said...

okay, so i'm in about 9 episodes now. 9 and a half.

i don't think i like the main character. not the actor, but the character. for a psychologist/psychiatrist he's fairly unaware of himself. well, either he's unaware or he's very manipulative.

4:27 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

Adnan: it's interesting that you say that. I was reading reviews from viewers on amazon.com and a psychologist, or someone who claims they were, had written in saying they found the therapy style annoying and too dramatic. I can see how this would be true. Real therapy is probably longer and more drawn out, more patient in a way with the needs of both the individual and the process. A half hour slot on TV is insufficient to portray all that and I guess the producers felt compelled to throw in all the hooks and angles to speed things up and maintain dramatic tension. I don't imagine this anything like real therapy.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Aisha said...

I've been intrigued by this show FOREVER- I will definitely check it out now!

BTW- would love to add you to my desi blogger directory if your'e interested! :)

7:41 PM  
OpenID adnan. said...

perhaps i dislike him in part because he sounds like me sometimes. i often find myself asking "what do you mean when you say 'blah blah blah'?" to understand the deeper motive behind what someone is saying.

5:03 PM  
OpenID beanay said...

I've been meaning to watch this show. I only saw a clip of it in class once. I don't have cable though...maybe I'll just have to netflix it. As someone doing this sort of work, it'll be interesting to see how it's portrayed. Most movies and shows portray psychotherapists very poorly, but I've heard good things about this show. Many of my colleagues watch it for fun.

2:54 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

beanay: it's probably nothing like the work you do but i enjoyed watching it. gabriel byrne and dianne wiest are great.

6:57 PM  

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