So, there was this, this and this. More would have been offered, too, had the sun not been mere minutes from rising. But work was in my future and at least a few hours of sleep were required for me to be a functioning human being the following day.
“In Treatment.” I’m in love. Actually, I’m in more than love. If “In Treatment” was a person, I would run away with it and marry it in a Las Vegas wedding chapel without question. No family. No friends. We could start a life. Maybe change our names and never look back.
The problem? Much like those tweets suggested, I am fairly certain I don’t know a single person who I think might actually enjoy the show. As my dear friend Frank wrote me earlier this week after stumbling across my mini declaration of love online, “‘In Treatment’ could be the most boring show ever ever ever ever ever ever. Yuck.”
And I don’t blame him. Honestly, I don’t. It’s completely dialogue-driven. It’s set in a psychiatrist’s office (and that’s it — no fireworks and/or neat scenery to gaze at when the moments get boring). It’s so layered and so thick that some, if not most, would tune it out after sitting through the first five minutes of an episode. And in order to really appreciate it, you have to try — you have to let the show engage you in a manner that the typical, “I just want to sit down and watch television” TV-watcher simply doesn’t want to deal with (why do you think “30 Rock” can’t get anyone to watch it? The jokes go over everyone’s heads as quick as they leave the actors’ mouths). It’s no wonder it appears as though “In Treatment” has had its plug pulled after a mere three seasons, really. People just don’t want to be bothered.
Me? Those are the precise reasons why I love it.
But, you see, this is the joy of Netflix: In today’s world, you can find a television show via the Internet that you would have never had the means to find before (I’ve never been in a household in which HBO was part of a television cable package) and completely lose yourself in it. Technology now allows us access to a seemingly never-ending library of not only great television, but great movies, documentaries, concerts, etc. If there’s a television show tailor made for our tastes, we can now find it almost anywhere (and by the way — I am utterly convinced that God said “I am going to make a television show that exactly one person in the world will love and no one else will enjoy it, and that person will be Colin and that show will be ‘In Treatment'” after realizing how enthralled I’ve become with this show).
It’s exhausting, I know. Without giving too much away, each episode runs approximately 30 minutes, but here’s the catch: In an unprecedented move, a new episode aired five days a week. That’s right. Nine weeks. Five segments. That’s 45 episodes a season. Each episode is a day (presumably the day the show originally aired), such as Monday, 9 a.m. or Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Each day is a new patient. So, for instance, it takes two weeks to get through two episodes regarding whichever patient has an appointment on Mondays. The acting from both psychiatrist (a brilliant Gabriel Byrne) and his cast of patients (which features a pre-“The Kids Are All Right” Mia Wasikowska, mind you) is nothing short of incredible, considering how the show is completely conversation-driven. It takes a lot of skill to keep an audience engaged when all you have is a couch, a chair and two actors for 28 minutes. And I mean A LOT. OF. SKILL.
The show was essentially lifted from “BeTipul,” an Israeli form of the program that came before this American adaptation. My favorite writer on the planet (and someone I quote constantly on this blog), the Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes served as an editor on a handful of the show’s episodes. And it’s quick. Upon receiving the first disc of the first season in the mail, I sat down with the first week’s worth of episodes and literally could not pull myself away from the television after each episode ended, thus keeping me up in the wee hours of the morning, finishing five 30-minute episodes and throwing the Netflix package back in the mail so another disc could be on its way.
But it might not be your thing. I can fully understand that. A show I hold in equal regard, “The Wire,” is another program I’ve tried to force on people, only to have them throw it back at me in disgust. Some people don’t want to think when they watch television, and that’s fine. So, I’m not going to make grand proclamations about how you ought to cancel all of your plans this evening and buy the first season to watch (though you should); or how I feel that anyone who can’t get into this show is just too stupid to appreciate it (though that’s probably how I feel).
Though what I will do is say this: Man, it feels good to fall in love with a television show again. It’s been a while. As we all know, I tried with “Breaking Bad.” I even got halfway there with “Dexter” about a year ago. “The Hour” was somewhere between good and great, though when you only offer up six episodes a season, it’s hard to use the word “love” when describing it. “In Treatment,” on the other hand, is a fantastically (i.e. brilliantly) structured television show that now makes me kick myself for not trying to find it sooner.
Word is that there is some inclination to try and keep the show alive through the Internet now that HBO has given up on it. If that occurs, we might just have to devote an entire day to “Arrested Development” and “In Treatment” episodes over here at “TV Without A TV.” Either way, it is becoming increasingly hard to contain myself as I wait for another disc that will continue to take me through all the characters’ twisty and turn-y lives via half-hour psychiatrist sessions to arrive in my mailbox.
And to think that none of this could have been possible without the phenomenon that is TV on DVD. What would we possibly do without it?