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In Treatment - Byrne vs. Hamm Smackdown!

Posted by Miss Ess, September 17, 2009 06:37pm | Post a Comment
When I was watching the Golden Globes last year, I eagerly anticipated the Best Actor in a TV Series - Drama category. I had tuned in pretty much just for this moment: to see Mad Men's Jon Hamm get up there and make an acceptance speech. After gorging myself on two season's worth of the delicious Mad Men in record time, I was 100% sure that he was a shoe-in to win.

Surprise! The Golden Globe went to Gabriel Byrne for In Treatment.

in treatment

From that moment on, I knew I had to check out In Treatment...I mean, if you can beat Jon Hamm's tortured, pefectly reined in depiction of Don Draper as far as acting goes...somethin's up.

In Treatment Season 1 is finally out on DVD and I've been watching it here and there for the past fewin treatment weeks. The reason I've been moving so slowly on it is there's a whole lotta show...as in, one half hour, five nights a week...9 discs worth of show! Is that some kind of record or something?

Anyway, the show is great. I have to say though, if you don't enjoy slow moving character studies, this is not the show for you. It's simply about a therapist and his patients, one patient per half hour episode, five nights a week, with the fifth night reserved for Paul (Byrne)'s own session with the fabulous Dianne Weist as Gina, his therapist.

What's so good about this show to me is that it is all about details and slow reveals. You might think a show that is this seemingly simplistic would be dull as tombs, but for me at least, there is great pleasure in the writing and the layers to each character that slip off weekly like the skin of an onion. I applaud its creator, writers and directors for working so deftly and interestingly within such spareness.
in treatment
So, after having a good gander, do I think the Emmy is deserved? Well, yes, because the show really allows Byrne to act subtly, to keep a great deal of emotion boiling just below the surface -- moments are registered much more in his expression than verbally, and that takes en pointe skill and precision, particularly to keep such a conceptionally bare show interesting. He also is the only actor who is in every single episode of this epically produced series, so he's got a whole lot of material to get through and does so with ease. But do I think he should have won over Jon Hamm's tour de force as Don Draper...? Nah. I think Hamm's performance is one of my favorites in TV history. But both Mad Men and In Treatment are finely acted, worthwhile and compelling television.

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Mad Men - Crazy Like a Fox

Posted by Miss Ess, October 10, 2008 03:02pm | Post a Comment
I think I'm in looooooooove.mad men cast

I've just started watching Mad Men Season 1, and I am already obsessed with it-- the aesthetics, the smart writing, the subtlety and the way the show plumbs the depths of its own artifice. It's a bit spine-tingling.

I know I am a little slow to get to this. I had been avoiding all the press about this show up till now (cause I knew I would get to the DVDs eventually and didn't want to ruin it) so it is all new to me still, and if for some reason you have not caught on either, it's about time. The show, as everyone knows by now, is about an ad agency in the early 60s, but it's more about the internal lives of each of the employees, centering around shadowy alpha male Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Tmad men office casthe sets, styling and camera shots are extraordinary, very filmic.

It's a visual feast as well as an intellectual one. The show's storylines are juicy and complex -- all those nice, satisfying layers that the best writing adds to characters. It's amazing and intriguing to watch each one's veneer shatter, to see the underbelly and reality of the early 60s in America. I can't recommend this show more highly!

And for once can say I like a show that's not trash! I can respect myself in the morning! What a relief.

I know I am not alone in this. Check out what Brad had to say about it here, and BillyJam here. I just couldn't resist adding my own excitement to the bunch. Oh yeah, and they just won a slew of Emmys too...I guess I really am the last person to catch on!

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