I said before that I am not good with therapy. I actually have a background in a therapy-related profession, so I know that I don’t like being in therapy or being a therapist. As much as I don’t want to talk about my problems, I don’t want to hear about a stranger’s even more.
It is therefore somewhat odd how intrigued I am by In Treatment, the HBO show which is really just four (abridged) therapy sessions every week. Good acting and good writing have something to do with that.
I am intrigued by In Treatment, but the truth is that I am really only interested in one of the story lines and that is Jesse, the gay adopted teenager. Jesse absolutely fascinates me for so many reasons–not the least of which is that while I was a therapist-in-training, I worked with gays, teenagers, and gay teenagers. Jesse is a gaping pit of unending need, which brings out something paternal in me. He’s extremely bratty, but also incredibly lovable. Despite everything, he’s just a kid. (Dane DeHaan, the actor who plays Jesse, is amazing.)
Jesse has created a fantasy for himself that everyone wants to leave him, so he acts out to drive them away first. He’s like walking raw nerve, and everything sets him off with the slightest provocation. His therapist Paul has made a lot of mistakes with Jesse. Paul and Jesse have a combative relationship fed by Jesse’s desire to be Paul’s surrogate son. Paul has not really explored the roots of Jesse’s abandonment fantasies or why Jesse pushes people away. No doubt this stems from Jesse being an adopted child and from being a gay son in a working-class Catholic family that does not completely accept him, but is trying. Jesse has two session left this season, and I am curious where the show will go from here.
Music I listened to while writing this: Elis Regina & Tom Jobim “Triste”; Belle and Sebastian “Waiting for the Moon to Rise”; Miriam Makeba “The Click Song”;