HBO & In Treatment

Watched a few episodes of it last night. I know what you’re saying: “Wait. David – Ashley – willingly watched another HBO show? Considering how often he tears them down, I sooner imagined he’d garrote himself than have another inflicted on him.” Yes, I know exactly what you’re saying. I watched for a few reasons: Josh Charles, Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest. It was a test.

I imagine HBO’s producers tittered at the serial’s ingenious formula – 43 half-hour length episodes, each of which covers, in real-time, one therapy session that is usually with one patient, five or six patients in all. Pure acting, chamber drama, psychobabble, and an excuse to insert more “HBO sensitive piano music.” I’m never going to tire of ranting about this – after American Beauty, HBO has been wishing, yearning, longing, desperate, begging, for another good ol’ American catharsis tale – I only wonder why they keep beating the horse that Six Feet Under killed (and said horse was already dead (that’s not a pun)). Then there was the tripe nonsense of Tell Me You Love Me (picture of rumpled sheets on a bed), and everybody saw through that one. But this is about the music. Why isn’t anybody takling about the music? I’m through being nice. Delicate piano score, whiny sensitive white male musicians… Go to hell. Never come back. Die. Die. Die.

As soon as I initially saw the show’s promotional teaser, I reeled at the level of “HBO” that HBO had acquired. It was too perfect. Shot of a gorgeous young woman, teary-eyed, on the shrink’s couch, saying “I love you” to her therapist. Gabriel Byrne sits across from her, like a male model, and says “I’m your therapist.” I wonder if it’s possible for HBO to exceed the level of HBO that has been attained here. An HBO show that has become nothing more than therapy – has degenerated to such? HBO = contrived catharsis. HBO = people who went to college for creative writing. Shoot higher – focus on the big screen. You’re obviously employing highly ambitious people with at least a ­measurable degree of talent (if only barely). HBO, at least, employs talented actors, and that’s why I keep coming back. I just wish these actors would be more challenged, or would challenge themselves more than they do.

I’d like to see Rob Zombie do a serial for HBO. Now that would be special. I’m through with Hollywood incest, which this network has been promoting for a decade. They need to leave the city. Showtime, of course, is 100 times worse, since their miasma of desperation has been even more potent. I’ve watched them take 2nd-hand writers and actors and attempt to string together an endless parade of hour-long dramas, festooned like a popcorn necklace across… oh, never mind.

Oh! And of course! Michelle Forbes! She will always be my Ensign Ro. She looked so alluring in that uniform. Unfortunately her HBO role as ShrinkWife paints her quite bitterly – which is not to imply that her husband character is any better. They deserve one another (prognostication: …which is why the show will ultimately be about their relationship, and whether or not a marriage can last. Of course, the problem is that they’ll be too objective, as if “Can a marriage work?” is an answerable question).

Let’s indulge in Ensign Ro for a moment.

Postscript:
Dipped into the 2nd season. Noted improvement! They finally realized that lighting can be something more than dull as hell.

PPS:
Still watching that silly 2nd season. Enjoying the tasty crow on my plate.
Good stuff!

PPPS:
Almost done with 2nd season. I’m glad this is happening, so there will be conclusive evidence (ha, sure) that I do not want to dislike these films and serials that I deride with such vitriol. I may enter a scenario with fangs bared only to turn around.

But I still could do without the whiny sensitive white male musicians.

PPPPS:
Ep 31, Mia’s last session. Loved it! Totally a fan! But – – as excellent a job as Hope Davis did wavering on the brink of tears for so long, I longed for release, a sobbing session. It would’ve been orgasmic in this context. Give me saccharine melodrama.

And in closing:
Finished. Anticlimax. But I’m now a big fan! Hope Davis and John Mahoney 4eva. That Alison Pill is extremely talented (I met her once, very confident and professional), but I was underwhelmed by her story arc. Watching Hope Davis begin every episode with sneering sarcasm and ending in teary, sober reality was delicious – still, I wish she would’ve cried hard. Seeing John Mahoney cry hard was something else. And the whole Oliver section was fine, too, just fine, but is too movie-of-the-week to matter that much.

And…
Finished the entire first season. I’m a fool for my initial superficial criticisms. It’s a great show.

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