Too many channels

Normal People, the hot adaptation of an Irish novel about a young couple struggling through their late teens and early twenties, dragged forth memories of old relationships that never made it for me, a great means of assessing the partnership you’ve been sequestered with. Same with HBO’s Run, about a couple brought together on what seems to have been an old dare. Or Outlander’s frantic loves-of-a-lifetime race across centuries and continents on Starz.

These nightly ventures could almost substitute for the couples therapy many may need since things shut down mid-March. Or which they may have been undergoing before being forced to shift to the added awkwardness of Zoom calls.

They may also pose a blueprint for a bit of national therapy,


The first time I went to a therapist’s office, I felt trapped. My partner of the time seemed to have made a specialty of couch talk. I canceled our second appointment because I realized the relationship wasn’t worth the weekly charge … to me.

One time I tried a phone session. It didn’t feel right. I missed the room I’d sit in with my therapist, the light and sounds from outside, the way such elements played within my head to soften the shouts and yowls that arise within during therapy.

Too bad there’s so many channels now that we can never again agree on the cathartic entertainment that might pull us together as a nation. We can’r even agree on the need to somehow do better.


Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.