My current television fascination is the European Borgia (not to be confused with The Borgias) — I want to be Césare Borgia, move to Barcelona, and ask Dame Eleanor Hull whether this program offers a realistic depiction of the culture of the time, and to what extent human nature and the conditions of life for most people have, or have not changed since then.
However, on the recommendation of Hattie I have also seen some episodes of In Treatment and I am horrified. This is supposed to be a realistic show about psychotherapy but the characters, including the therapist when he sees his own therapist, are amazingly devoid of self-awareness, and they lie constantly. I would not even say they were deluded, I would say they are alienated, dishonest and self-serving. Are modern people really like this? Is this how they assume others are — and is that why I have difficulty understanding so many people?
The year 1500, when the Borgia show is set, is more overtly savage and people are devious for political reasons, and many characters are conflicted, disturbed, or both, but everyone seems so much more whole. I was always taught the present was better and the past, especially this past (with the Inquisition and all), was worse, but where I live there were people broken on the wheel in the 18th century and burned at the stake, with crowds watching, in the 20th.