Friday, June 21, 2013

James Gandolfini, RIP

I'm pretty sure that David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, said at one time that he had had a lot of psychotherapy. Well, he was paying attention during those sessions because the psychotherapy scenes in that series are top notch. This is the best one.

That's from the second season. Got it, viewer? That psychopath you are living vicariously through is an unredeemable monster who is warping the souls of everyone around him. There's no happy ending possible for A.J., Meadow, or Carmela -- they are all damned. Dr. Melfi is wasting her time trying to help Tony because psychotherapy only works if the patient has a soul. (She figured that out in the last season.)

If we had more psychotherapists like Dr. Krakower, the mental health profession itself would be redeemed. Call things what they are, and don't let anyone else do otherwise.

[Begin transcript]

Carmela: Every marriage has problems.

Krakower: Is he seeing other women?

Carmela: "Yeah, you can make that plural. Yes, he sees other women. I sort of look the other way. I want to help him."

Krakower: "Do you? Moments ago you used the word divorce."

Carmela: "I said I was considering divorce. I may be overstepping my bounds here, but you are Jewish, aren't you?"

Krakower: "Is that relevant?"

Carmela: "Well, us Catholics, we place a great deal of stock in the sanctity of the family. And I am not sure that your people--"

Krakower: "I've been married 31 years."

Carmela: "Well, then, you know. How difficult it can be. He's a good man, a good father."

Krakower: "You tell me he's a depressed criminal. Prone to anger. Serially unfaithful. Is that your definition of a good man?"

Carmela: "I thought psychiatrists weren't supposed to be judgmental."

Krakower: "Many patients want to be excused for their current predicament. Because of events that occurred in their childhood. That's what psychiatry has become in America. Visit any shopping mall or ethnic pride parade. Witness the results."

Carmela: "What we say in here stays in here, right?"

Krakower: "By ethical code and by law."

Carmela: "His crimes. They are, uh, organized crimes."

Krakower: "The mafia."

Carmela begins sobbing. "Oh Jesus." She dabs at her face with a tissue. "Oh so, so what? So what? He betrays me every week with these whores."

Krakower: "Probably the least of his misdeeds."

Carmela shifts forward, as if to leave.

Krakower: "You can leave now, or you can you stay and hear what I have to say."

Carmela: "Well, you're gonna charge the same anyway."

Krakower: "I won't take your money."

Carmela: "That's a new one."

Krakower: "You must trust your initial impulse and consider leaving him. You'll never be able to feel good about yourself. You'll never be able to qualm the feelings of guilt and shame that you talked about. As long as you're his accomplice."

Carmela: "You're wrong about the accomplice part."

Krakower: "Are you sure?"

Carmela: "All I do is make sure he's got clean clothes in his closet and dinner on his table."

Krakower: "So 'enabler' would be a more accurate job description for you than 'accomplice'. My apologies."

Carmela: "So . . . You think I need to define my boundaries more clearly. Keep a certain distance. Not internalize my--"

Krakower: "What did I just say?"

Carmela: "Leave him."

Krakower: "Take only the children, or what's left of them, and go."

Carmela: "My priest said I should try to work with him. Help him to be a better man."

Krakower: "How's that going?"

Carmela: "I--"

Krakower: "Have you ever read Crime and Punishment? Dostoyevsky. It's not an easy read. It's about guilt and redemption. And were your husband to turn himself him, read this book, and reflect on his crimes every day for seven years in his cell, then he might be redeemed."

Carmela: "I'd have to, uh, get a lawyer. Find an apartment. Arrange for child support."

Krakower: "You're not listening. I am not charging you because I won't take blood money. And you can't either. One thing you can never say, that you haven't been told."

Carmela: "I see. You're right. I see."
[End transcript]

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