Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When we get behind closed doors...

Last night HBO premiered the half-hour drama In Treatment, which will run five nights a week for nine weeks, with each episode depicting a therapy session in almost-real time (one character every Monday night, another every Tuesday night, etc.). Based on the first episode, I'm willing to commit, mainly because of Gabriel Byrne as the therapist and because the premise, borrowed from a highly successful TV show in Israel, is intriguing -- even though Monday's patient isn't very interesting so far. One moment I did like: At the end, when the patient runs out of the office in great distress, Byrne starts to follow her but stops short at his own door, as if he's afraid to cross the threshold. Is he a prisoner of his profession? It struck me that most of my favorite TV series show what goes on behind closed doors. The Sopranos, of course, also had the voyeuristic appeal of letting us spy on therapy sessions, and the The Wire lets us see what happens behind the scenes not only in a police department but in a big-city mayor's office and, now, in the offices of a major daily newspaper. That may be why I don't care for reality shows (it's not voyeurism if the participants are actually performing for the camera) or sci-fi series (in an entirely fabricated universe, there's not as much tension between the scenes set in public and those set behind closed doors). And this might explain why, given my druthers, I'll take a movie or TV series with a lot of sex (private) over a lot of violence (well, at least garishly public violence like shoot-outs and car chases). But maybe we all have our own kinks and perversions to explain our TV-watching habits.

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