Thursday, January 31, 2008

TV diary: better Treatment

HBO's In Treatment -- which is trying to become the first scripted late-night sensation since, I don't know, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in the 1970s? -- got a bit more absorbing last night with the introduction of Wednesday regular patient Sophie, a teenager sent to therapy because of suspicions that her bizarre accidents are actually the result of suicidal tendencies. The first session between a shrink and patient is one of the most worn-out situations in TV and movies, as Tuesday's In Treatment episode with Blair Underwood showed. The patient is always skeptical and even contemptuous of the therapist, who calmly accepts the hostile comments and finally throws out a question that puts a dent in the patient's armor -- just before saying, "I'm sorry, but our time is up." Doesn't anyone on TV ever go into therapy expecting to get some good out of it? But at least Sophie (Mia Wasikowska) was amusingly hostile, peppering the therapist played by Gabriel Byrne with questions such as "Are you this much of a pain in the ass with your daughter?" and "Why can't you just act like a professional?" Maybe the cliche works better with teenagers, who naturally like to test authority figures, rather than adults like Underwood's character. At any rate, hump day seems to be the best day for this series so far.

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