Sunday, March 23, 2008

HBO In Treatment: The End Of Week 8: Why Can't We Be Friends?


Sophie is dropped off by her Mom who is trying oh-so-hard to be nice to her. She sobs while lying on Paul's floor, now angry with her dad. Paul, also on the floor, points out that Sophie holds herself responsible for relationships gone bad. She tells him that she quivers on the beam while doing gymnastics, that she has broken out in an awful rash. She lifts her shirt to show him the rash, apparently flashing him (we TV viewers just see this awful rash on her back). Paul is uncomfortable, Sophie is quick to latch onto that. He tells her how he had a panic attack and a patient had to call an ambulance for him-- the rash, the quivers, they are all from stress, she can control it. At one point he pushes her and Sophie, trying to get him to lay off, says, "I know you want me to have a breakthrough today."

Sophie remains my favorite patient-- she is likable, vulnerable, full of hope and promise, yet so so fragile. Paul will tell his own therapist later in the week that he helps her through their relationship, not the therapeutic process. I think he's right-- Sophie needs a father and finds it in Paul's intense attention. I've already said I don't think he should push her and boundaries for Paul get confused by his need to be liked by his patients. Oh, and just because his panic attack was from stress, doesn't mean Sophie's rash is. He should send her back to the dermatologist.

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Just before the Jake/Amy session, Kate tells Paul she is no longer going to couples' therapy with him. It's not clear if she's leaving him.

Jake comes alone (thankfully, together he and Amy are insufferable). They are splitting, he is damaged. Jake has moved through the weeks from being an angry, controlling, jealous lover to being a sympathetic character. In this session we learn that the rough-around-the-edges Jake is the son of two college professors. He's moved from his childhood of parental disapproval to a marriage with a hotshot wife who mirrors his father's disapproval. OK.
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Paul sees Gina alone. "You slap me, I punch you," Gina says. Yup. He talks about his waning faith in the therapeutic process and he throws more vile at Gina. She lives in this room, she's never lived life, it's a beautiful room, well-appointed, but what does she know about life? She comes back at him with how he knows nothing about her, how he paints her as cold and remote when really she's overly emotional and impulsive and she loved her husband who cheated on her. She cries. He puts his feet up. She tells him to try it with Laura, that maybe everyone else has it wrong with all their ethics, and she tells him to leave.

Everyone's having marital problems. Every cheats. Everyone is angry with everyone else. Why can't they all just play nice?
I know, I know, it's just a show.