Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Treatment: Jesse


Week 1: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele
Week 2: Sunil - Frances - Jesse/Adele
Week 3: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele

Week 4: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele
Week 5: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele

Jesse is one troubled kid. He's cutting school, hanging out at a bar (at 16, no less), sleeping around, selling his Adderall, staying out all night, cursing at his shrink, and being generally difficult. And Jesse's adopted-- he gets to mid-session before he plays a voicemail for Paul: his birth mother has contacted him and wants to speak.

Jesse and Paul relate more like angry-father to angry-son than like therapist to patient. Paul orders Jesse to stop attending to his iPhone. Put it away. Give it to me. Don't make me tell you again. Don't talk to me like that. Paul knows every parental cliche and Jesse reacts in kind, mostly with obscenities, sarcasm, and wise cracks. Paul even corrects Jesse when he mispronounces "Merriam" and he gives Jesse a mini-lecture on the history of the Merriam Webster Dictionary. This is therapy? The session builds tension-- you think the two of them might fight, and then suddenly the tension breaks and Jesse becomes submissive, or cooperative, or has a moment of genuine reflection. I'm sorry, he says, after Paul scolds him--- out of sync with all the rest of the f* bombs that keep exploding.

Before each episode, there is are snippets from past seasons to help the viewer remember what happened last year. We see Paul sparring with his own therapist, Gina, and he yells at her that he can't keep seeing her to get the mothering he'd never gotten.

So is therapy a fill-in for parenting?

7 comments:

Sarebear said...

This session sounds like it's really disjointed, and one of the must unrealistic.

Jen Daisybee said...

Therapy is not a subsitute for parenting but the parenting of many does result in the need for therapy. A sad fact about our society.

Anonymous said...

Hurry up and catch up with your TiVo, Dinah! I want to know what you think of the Frances (therapist) episode. Not to spoil anything, but Paul comes to her for a prescription med and it's interesting to watch how she "screens" him.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon from directly above.

OOPS! I mean Adele--that's the therapist's name. Frances is Debra Winger in your other post.

Paul said...

OK. Now I'm going to have to add HBO again.

While therapy should not be a substitute for parenting, it sometimes is, and there are dysfunctional therapies. What I like about In Treatment is that it doesn't shy from dysfunction.

I wonder, does the US version still stick to the script of the original Israel version? Or are they past that?

Anonymous said...

@Paul--the US version is now past the Israeli version, according to what I have read.

Dr. Psychobabble said...

"So is therapy a fill-in for parenting?"

I ask myself this question on a daily basis.