What is the story about?
Renowned clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Dr. Orna Guralnik sits down with three different couples over the course of eight months as she attempts to counsel them through various problems.
At first glance, the premise of Couples Therapy seems bizarre and downright manipulative. The idea of a accomplished psychologist sitting down with couples over the course of many months, discussing marital problems in front of cameras, sounds like the lowest point of reality television (and could also remind others of a certain Oprah Winfrey). Yet this is where Couples Therapy scores. Thanks to the unobtrusive set design, the cameras are hidden in such a way that the participants cannot see them. The three couples come with their own set of problems: long-term orthodox Jewish couple Michael and Michal struggle with communication problems; Tashira and Dru are struggling to raise two kids on their own and save their relationship; and gay couple Matthew and Gianni struggle with the emotional fallout of Matthew's addiction to drugs and alcohol. It's a cocktail of emotions to sit through for half-an-hour at a time, and if the season premiere feels tough to sit through, it only makes you wonder how a psychologist could actually deal with this outpouring of trauma over and over again.
Perhaps the show's biggest masterstroke is that, in the middle of all this, it decides to switch focus to Dr. Guralnik herself. She is an eminent name in the field of psychology in New York, and has various publications to her credit. Yet, at the end of the day, the show also reminds viewers she is human, after all, and there are moments in her interactions with her clinical adviser Dr. Virginia Goldner, where her carefully-composed facade threatens to crack and reveal the frail human beneath the "superhuman" psychologist. It is in these moments where Couples Therapy transcends its reality-show trappings and becomes an absorbing bit of television. I was not sure about its premise at the start, but now I really want to know how these couples get through their problems with Dr. Guralnik's help.
Music & Other Departments
Tori Lancaster's production design is unobtrusive, which makes this perfect. Maria Rusche's cinematography is decent.
The conversations between Dr. Guralnik and the couples are the main highlight.
This show is about mature themes, so this is not for everyone.
Did I enjoy it?
I found the episode compelling.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. This docuseries will keep you hooked, if you can overcome the few attempts at turning this into a reality show.
Season 2 of Couples Therapy premieres on Voot Select on April 19, 2021.