What impressed me the most about the therapy depicted in the last two seasons was that it approximated an actual therapy process better than any film or TV show I had ever seen. And I say that after sitting through nearly 450 American films that depicted some type of therapy when I wrote Psychiatry and the Cinema. In last Sunday’s episode, though, I found myself disappointed that the writers resorted to the standard recovered memory formula that is pervasive in Hollywood cinema. Tony remembersseeing his father cut off the butcher’s finger in the back room of the shopfollowed by a highlysexualized primal scene in the kitchen between his mother and father. To take his father’s place, then, fills him with castration anxiety, and he faints. Isn’t this straight out of a textbook? The one used for psychoanalysis 101? I guess I’ve grown to expect more surprises from the superb writers who work on The Sopranos. To add insult to injury, Dr. Melfi then takes on a didactic tone in which she educates Tony about Proust’s famous episode with the madeleine. Is “hokey” the word we are looking for here? I think so.
The First Five Weeks of Season 3 of The Sopranos