Laura, Week 7

Well, Laura doesn't come to see Paul this week because it is a holiday, so he spends the time with his kids.

Paul is at his desk and his daughter, Rosie, comes in. She tells him her older brother is being an asshole. Paul says he is going back to school soon, can't they get along? Rosie complains that he washed her iPod when he did laundry. Paul makes a joke. Rosie is not amused and say she can't live without her music. Her phone rings and she busies herself texting.

Paul complains that texting seems more important than anything. He marvels that she types so fast. Rosie complains that it is private. He asks about the acronyms she is using. A friend has texted that he misses her so much. Rosie says he hasn't a name -- then says his name is Noah. Paul asks if he is from school; she says no. Rosie says she met him at the center, he was treated there. Paul asks how old he is and she says 18. She talks about how amazing the songs he writes are and that he works at Kinko's. She's trying to get him a better job. Paul observes she is good at that, helping people, but that sometimes people can help the most by setting boundaries. She thinks he is worried that she is sleeping with him, but she says he needn't worry. Paul wants to know if he has a record  because of what he did. Rosie says she has to go. 

Rosie says all he wants to know is the basic facts. She tells what she would like him to ask -- like is he nice to you? does he make you feel better about your life? She says she wants to talk with him about stuff, but he makes it hard. Rosie asks if he knew she were going to do something stupid with another guy, he'd try to stop her, right? She says like if she were going to take off with him, like take off to Rome? He looks upset and asks how she knows. He asks how she knows about Rome and she says she called Kate's cell phone and she heard Ed call her babe. She says here Paul is trying to stop her from making a mistake but he is letting Kate be with another man. Paul says they are trying to work it out. Rosie says do it, fix it. "Another man is taking your wife to Rome", she says, "isn't that extreme?" "Tell me you will fix this", she cries.

Rosie leaves.

Ian comes in and asks where his pillow is. Paul gets it and asks if he is set to go.  He asks Ian if he'll hang around until his mom and Max get back, that Max would love to have him come to see one of his games.

Why no morning patients, Ian asks. Paul says he has had a few patients leave. Ian asks how that is for him. He and Ian start to talk about Ian's old girlfriend. Paul asks if he is dating anyone now. Ian says no. Paul is curious about how many girls he has been with and Ian says four or five. He says they never last more than 3 months. Ian says he was cheating on his old girlfriend and Paul is surprised. 

He asks if Ian and Rosie have talked about what is going on between him and Kate. Ian asks what kind of stuff and Paul says they have been having problems. That these are issues they really have to work on. Ian asks if Paul slept with  someone else. Paul says no, then Ian asks if Kate did. Paul says it is him, that he met someone but they are not having an affair.  Ian asks if she is a patient, which Pal denies. He asks his dad f he is miserable or happy. Is he in love with her? Paul says he isn't sure. He says he and Kate are trying to work it out. Ian says maybe it's for the best, that they have been married a long time. They start to squabble. Ian asks what he wants him to say, does he want him to please not go. Ian says he understands that Paul would get tired of how she looks at him, how she is always disappointed, what a martyr she is. Paul then defends Kate. Ian asks if it is impossible for Paul to imagine that he is genuinely on his side. Ian tells Paul this it isn't about him, it's about Paul and what he wants.

 The conversations Paul has with his kids, especially with his son, don't ring true to me. Maybe because they do not align with my experience with divorce and teenagers, but it felt off to me. Rosie seemed closer to what I know as normal teenaged behavior.  Or maybe it is Paul who is off because he seems more therapist than parent with them, inquiring of each of them as he might a patient. 

What we do learn is that indeed Rosie knows what has been going on and she is angry with Paul. And Ian, though he doesn't know about Kate's affair, sees Kate as a problem and wants Paul to act, probably because he himself hasn't. 

I am disappointed that this episode is part of the series, that it breaks what we have come to expect. Or maybe my disappointment is that Paul is really too much the therapist with his own children and that is why this episode, though about family, takes place in his office, where we see him work. Hmm, I'll have to think about that.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.