Tuesday, February 05, 2008

In Treatment, week two: Alex

Talk about the latest episode of "In Treatment" (and any previous episodes, but not upcoming ones) here. One thought from me, which I had as I watched it (and therefore not colored by stuff I've seen down the road): this show takes place in real time (each week of the season is a week in Paul's life), which means Alex has been a very, very busy man over the last seven days.

10 comments:

Theresa said...

A busy man indeed! Flying to Baghdad, seeing the place he bombed, feeling nothing, and flying back. Sheesh. Gives me jet lag just thinking about it---no wonder he wanted coffee. I didn't like this Alex episode as much as last week's, but that sure was a crazy story about his father and grandfather.

Pete said...

Alex has a real agency problem. He prides himself on his personal drive, but that's the only thing he takes responsibility for. He has turned himself into a human implement so he can blame--or "credit"--others for things he has done. It's a coping mechanism for him to grapple with the things he has done (or wants to do) but wants no responsibility for: the bomb, leaving his wife, etc.

Bobman said...

He has turned himself into a human implement so he can blame--or "credit"--others for things he has done. It's a coping mechanism for him to grapple with the things he has done (or wants to do) but wants no responsibility for: the bomb, leaving his wife, etc.

Sure, I think they've made that part pretty obvious, but why did he really want to leave his wife? Because he's subconsciously punishing himself over the bombing? Because he's such a perfectionist and it really does bother him that she grinds her teeth? Something else?


Another question - are we to assume that Paul has many other patients that we just don't get a view of? If so, I hope they're a lot "easier" than these four.

Stacie said...

I think this show does an excllent job of depicting how ALL clients are difficult, Bobman. Therapy is hard, ugly work.

David J. Loehr said...

As someone with a theatre company, I've been intrigued by the theatricality of the show, or at least the writing. We're currently developing a project that would work something like a series that you came to see in person, a new story every few weeks. (Which could, of course, be adapted for television someday.) So we've been watching this closely to see what they're doing, how they're doing, etc.

But aside from the clinical interest in the technique of the show, I can't say it's really engaged me yet. I think it might be a little too stage-y, too closed off, and clearly--if only a week has passed--they haven't thought through their timeline very well.

I also think the repetitiveness of the concept is going to be tough for them to get past. It's one thing to have a concept of interconnected storylines, but another when each of those storylines unfolds in the same setting, in the same method, day after day, with the only real variation being the setting on Fridays.

That said, I'm enjoying some of the performances, and on the whole, I've found it far more entertaining than Tell Me You're Watching Me (And Not Because You Like to Watch).

Bobman said...

I think this show does an excllent job of depicting how ALL clients are difficult, Bobman. Therapy is hard, ugly work.

Fair enough. I give therapists all the credit in the world; I find it hard enough to deal with the psychoses of people I know, let alone complete strangers.

Eric said...

I'm guessing that the time problem is mostly a hangover from the translation from the Israeli series. It would only take a few hours for the Israeli "Alex" to drive to Gaza or the West Bank or Southern Lebanon and back.

Alex is still the character that feels most like a literary creation to me, rather than a real person. I'm not sure if it's the writing or the performance. (Frankly, I don't find Blair Underwood slightly believable as Simon Elder either.)

Dan Jardine said...

The story Alex told about his father is a variation on the WWII concentration camp short story "The Shawl" by Cythia Ozick. As chilling a tale as you will ever read.

Oh, and I liked the Laura ep yesterday more than this one. I like it when she turns the tables on Paul, he really looks like he's squirming. When Alex tries it, Paul shuts him down easily. Alex is not really a match for Paul, perhaps because there isn't the element of sexual tension.

dez said...

The story Alex told about his father is a variation on the WWII concentration camp short story "The Shawl" by Cythia Ozick. As chilling a tale as you will ever read.

A variation of that showed up on an ep of "M*A*S*H*" as well.

I like that Alex thinks he's smarter than Paul, yet Paul manages to get Alex to reveal aspects of himself he probably thought he'd had complete control over. He keeps outclevering himself in his efforts to stay above Paul's therapy techniques.

M.Chavez said...

And it's also in Schindler's List - with a mother and her baby