The first season of the HBO series Tell Me You Love Me examines the stories of three couples in therapy. There's the twentysomethings on the verge of marriage, standing on the ledge together, afraid to jump, to experience that first moment when the ground might not be beneath their feet and their grip slips, leaving them fumbling, flailing for contact.
Then there's the thirtysomethings, one of whom is eager to become a parent, while the other has unresolved issues with his own parents and the lack of intimacy involved in the creation of life. Finally, there is the couple in their forties, over a decade in the trenches, two children, a house and seemingly no love, no sex, no intimacy, no spark as they rub up against one another. Looming over each of these couples is the therapist, an older woman engaged in her own relationship byplays -- sex and age, past recriminations, forgiveness, atonement. Creator and executive producer Cynthia Mort and the cast offer commentary over select episodes, but the real bonus comes in the realization of how different this series truly is. The lack of score, beyond that which exists in the scenes, might shock some viewers -- it's like watching a comedy without a laugh track. The starkness, the nakedness of it mirrors the exposure of the couples. Mort, in her first commentary, addresses the idea that the series is about couples struggling to remain together, so there are no break-ups, at least nothing permanent. It's as if divorce is not an option -- not yet. Grade: A