Appointment Television.Posted: February 22, 2008
The central figure is shrink Paul Weston. (No, not this Paul Weston.) A fresh half-hour episode every weeknight at 8:30 Central on HBO shows us that day’s appointment with a different one of Paul’s patients. Monday night lets us in on the weekly session of Laura, seriously effed up, promiscuous, and in love with Paul. Tuesdays are for Alex, Navy bomber pilot carrying a payload of guilt for killing a schoolful of innocent Iraqi children by mistake. If it’s Wednesday it must be Sophie, teen Olympic gymnastics hopeful who’s been sexually abused by her coach (and maybe others). On Thursday we get couples counseling, as Paul referees Jake and Amy going for each other’s thoats. Friday is for Paul’s appointments with senior shrink Gina, because after that week, Paul needs to talk to someone, too.
You have to be able to tolerate a show that’s all talk, no action. But it’s good talk. The patients draw you in, just as they draw Paul in. And if they draw Paul in a little too much for his own good (and theirs), they may be drawing us in a little too much for our own good, too; the show’s addictive.
When I started watching, I didn’t think I could or would commit to it every single night. And after the first few, I still thought that. I thought, “Hmm, that was pretty good—not great, but pretty good—I could live with catching it when it’s convenient.” But each night, 8:30 would roll around (as it is wont to do), and I had to tune it in. Here it is Week Four, and I haven’t missed a single episode.
I had wondered whether anyone was watching this show other than me and the few other devotees who are discussing it over at Television Without Pity. And I still don’t know what the ratings are like. But at least the Tribune critic is into it. Maybe it’ll catch on.