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October 9, 2015

In Treatment: Week Three

by Paul Goebel, posted Feb 16th 2008 9:42AM

Dianne Wiest(S01E11-15) "Are you making fun of me." - Alex

So Paul is now sleeping in his office. It kind of gives you the impression that his profession is interfering in his personal life doesn't it? This show is about as subtle as John Turturro in Miller's Crossing.

The more I watch this show, the more I'm convinced that Paul is the worst therapist ever. Not only is he still seeing Laura after she's made it clear that she's obsessed with him, now he's begun talking to her like some passive-aggressive Svengali. What the fuck the does he care if she's late. Is he her shrink or her father? Freud much?

Maybe I know nothing about head shrinking but I think only a total nutjob would pay somebody $200 to argue with them for 45 minutes. Maybe their verbal sparring is just foreplay for their eventual sexual relationship. If so, that doesn't bode well for the series, since it would turn In Treatment into the lamest soap opera ever.

That ending scene with Alex, by the way, was there to drive home the point that Laura is compelled to help the helpless. Just in case you were watching the show in a cave, with you eyes closed and your fingers in your ears.

I love that Alex brought in an espresso machine. While some people might see it as an effort on his part to control Paul's office, I think it's just a way to guarantee himself a good cup of coffee. However, I'm a complete control freak.

I actually enjoyed this episode. I felt that Alex had actually stopped acting like an asshole and starting just being who he really is...an asshole. What I mean by that is that he is owning his assholeness. By walking out on his wife, he is acknowledging that he knows he is selfish but has accepted it and can only try to be a better person by first giving in to the self-centered prick that he is. This is something that all of us learn to do eventually. By us, I mean assholes and by eventually, I mean when we get married.

My favorite part of the episode was the end when Paul looked like he was going to die from being cock-blocked.

Sophie was particularly funny this week. Her routine in the chair was priceless. I'm continually amazed by the acting of Mia Wasikowska. She seems so natural. It's as if she is telling her own story instead of the story of the character.

So, at some point, Sophie's Dad lived in New York with a woman named Natasha. Could it be that Sophie's father is actually Mr. Big from Sex and the City?

Hearing Sophie actually confirm that she was in a relationship with Cy was much more disturbing than I expected. As a middle-aged man, I was disturbed to think about how hard it must be to resist the charms of a teenage girl, As a father, I was disturbed by the reality that there are going to be people like Cy in the lives of my daughters and as a fan of television, I was disturbed to think that Stabler and Benson were going to bust through the door at any moment.

Jake & Amy:
I found myself getting really irritated by Amy's attitude. Clearly, she was acting glib and trying to pretend that she was fine with the miscarriage but it was getting on my nerves. The episode really began when she started to cry and Jake showed up.

This has to be the most difficult session of the week. I mean where do you begin? Personally, I'm torn between feeling sorry for them for having lost a child and hating them for being so hostile and selfish.

The brilliant part of the Thursday session is how ludicrous it is to watch Paul try and help Jake & Amy fix their marriage when his own is so completely damaged. It must take a special kind of self-control to listen to someone else complain without breaking down and telling them how great they have it.

This session is the only one I really look forward to seeing every week. I guess it's because it helps feed the slight contempt I have for the concept of therapy. I've been to a few shrinks and some were worthwhile, some weren't, but I was always amazed by the number of therapists that exist and wondered if they are all really necessary. I like seeing that even the most expensive ones can have problems that are beyond their own ability to fix.

Paul & Gina:
As if Paul doesn't have enough problems now his prostate is shot? Wow.

It's amazing to me how childish Paul acts in his sessions with Gina. He knows that she's not responsible for Laura's reaction but he can't fight his need to place blame. I guess that's the downside of seeing a therapist who knows you so well. When you try and pretend about certain things, they can easily call you on your bullshit.

At least Paul is smart enough to see his potential for manipulating Laura, too bad he can't stop talking about gynos. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. I just wish he would stop acting like he's so concerned about everyone else. It's his therapy session, he's allowed to think about himself for an hour. If he would just admit he can't help Laura because he wants to bang her he would be much better off.

It was nice to see Paul make some kind of progress when he was describing Laura. You could see him actually start to think of her in a different, more productive way. How great was it when Gina said he didn't seem to upset about Kate. The look on Paul's face was hilarious. Now I see the the advantage of seeing a shrink who knows when you're full of crap. I only wonder when we're going to start seeing Gina visiting a shrink.

Which present would you prefer?
espresso machine19 (23.5%)
little boat10 (12.3%)
sex with Laura52 (64.2%)

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OK--during Paul's session with Alex, Paul placed Laura's envelope close to his side in the arm of the leather chair. In that moment Paul seemed desperate to have Laura close to him. He thought there would be a note in the envelope with the payment, but we all know that Laura would not do that. Why didn't he know it? Laura is definitely several moves ahead of Paul.

February 20 2008 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like most people here I have a favorite too (and second and third) mine is Laura. She comes to each session with an agenda, a way to try and control Paul and his life and mind way beyond her time with him. It would not surprise me to learn that she has done her reaserch in the field of psycology prior to her time on the couch knowing full well how Paul will try to manuver her. We could have done without the last sessions final scene where she gazes back at Paul through the window, much too trite and staged and predictiable.

February 20 2008 at 7:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also, is it just me, or was this review unusually profane for this website?

Anyone who thinks Sophie was "particularly funny" probably should be reviewing a different show. Or seeing a shrink themselves.

February 20 2008 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mel C.

I think maybe you're the one who reads too much into things (not Paul). It seems as though you're seeing all this trite symbolism because you think therapy in general is trite.

I have to agree with the comment that maybe you aren't the best person to be reviewing this show.

February 17 2008 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think I agree with ak. It seems you don't really like the show, and your thoughts about therapy as a whole seem to interfere with watching the show for its own merits. While I agree the show is flawed, some of the acting on it is among the best on TV at the moment, Sophie in particular. It seems to be going somewhere, so I am willing to give it some more rope....

February 17 2008 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Laura: He cares if she's late because he thinks it's her being passive-aggressive about his rejection of her as a worthwhile romantic relationship.

Paul clearly is of the mind that EVERYTHING you do has some sort of subtext to it. You can't be late without it meaning something. You can't bring an espresso machine without it meaning something. Granted, in those cases, it DOES mean something, but it's funny because these are the exact kinds of things Gina says to him and he gets all crazy about it.

Personally, my favorite night is Sophie. It seems more like the therapy I've been through over the years. Paul actually seems like a therapist and not a referee or something. Mia Wasikowska's acting is a huge draw as well.

Funnily, originally I hated the Jake and Amy nights, but they seem to be in 2nd place for me in the week now. They annoyed me with all the bickering and jealousy and suspicion at first, but now there seems to be a lot more to it under the surface.

February 17 2008 at 3:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Malfoy Roark

My favorite stories are Laura and Sophie.

Sophie this week, wow, someone give her an award. It takes a certain something for dialogue to make me uncomfortable but she dished out a full helping.

February 17 2008 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that the only story I am hooked into is Jake and Amy... but somehow my TV seems to end on HBO @ 9:30....

February 16 2008 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

is there even a point for you to do these weekly reviews?

February 16 2008 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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