Couples Therapy Annie and Mau

BBC’s Couples Therapy: you need to watch this real-life series for many reasons but mainly for this particular pair

Posted by for TV

BBC’s Couples Therapy is the new, standout real-life series exploring modern relationships. If you haven’t watched it yet, allow us to introduce you to the reason why you should. 

Yes, TV at the moment is full of some truly stellar dramas but what about when you want something a little, dare we say, lighter?

Watching comedies is one thing but sometimes, all you really want is to close your laptop after a long day, lounge on your sofa and switch on a show complete with someone else’s problems. Call it disassociation, call it first-class reality; we call it great TV and Couples Therapy most certainly takes that accolade.

Tuning into someone else’s therapy sessions may not seem like the most enthralling watch, but trust us, after a few minutes of switching the first episode of Couples Therapy on, you’ll be racing to reach the end.

The premise is simple: what goes on in the four walls of a couples therapy room? The US series – which first aired on Showtime – follows Dr Orna Guralnik as she guides couples through their problems, confrontations and revelations. The same couples come in week after week, and while it’s probably not the show’s intention, you do come away from watching with favourites. 

Couples Therapy Annie and Mau
Annie and Mau in BBC's Couples Therapy.

One couple in particular has left quite the impression on viewers and even after watching both seasons, many still only have season one’s Annie and Mau on their minds. Married for 23 years, we first meet the couple as they talk to Dr Guralnik about Mau’s birthday.

He’s angry for a reason we don’t yet know but Dr Guralnik wants Mau to zoom out and expand on the problem. He explains:

“So what I want is to have zero responsibility, to have all the sex I want without any … any work on my part of any kind.

“Like, zero work, zero thinking about it and it has to be both spectacular and enthusiastic and genuine.”

Why is he talking about his sexual appetite, you may ask? Well, Annie has gone to lengths to plan Mau’s birthday surprise – a dominatrix, a threesome and other sexual events were all on the cards – but it’s left a sour taste in his mouth. 

Couples Therapy
Mau is the husband that's got everyone talking in BBC's Couples Therapy.

In a bid to satisfy his desires, Annie is instead met with an infuriated husband who essentially states that he appreciates the gesture but he can tell Annie’s heart isn’t in it so his birthday is effectively ruined. What a guy, right?

“Every year, it’s a trap,” Annie puts her hands up to Dr Guralnik.

You may think you’ve stumbled into a modern New York-based soap opera but actually, Annie and Mau are the drama that you just can’t seem to wrap your head round.

You think Mau’s anger and frustration (at the littlest things, may I add) is limited to Annie, but oh no, Dr Guralnik isn’t even safe from his dramatic monologues. “I’m just wondering if you’re aware of how quickly you move to devaluation. Do you know that?” she asks him. 

“I think that I don’t care how quickly I move to devaluation,” Mau says, rubbing his eyes in exasperation.

“I’m noticing that even in the way that I’m speaking to you, it’s very hard to get it right,” Dr Guralnik says.

In the second episode, Mau and Annie wait to go into the therapy room when Annie asks him to behave himself. “Maybe someone has to be the bad guy,” Mau responds. “Otherwise people can’t define themselves – they’ll just be lost.”

“Please, we had one deal,” Annie pleads but the tone is light, signalling that the past two decades have likely been full of the same conversations.

Mau would say they’re sexually incompatible, Annie explains to Dr Guralnik. Having sex every day is much like eating or sleeping, Mau says, and in his eyes, asking for sex three times a day is not a problem.

As the episodes unfold, we learn of trauma on both sides of the relationship, but even when it looks like Mau could be turning an emotional corner, his joking manner drowns out the revelations that Dr Guralnik is working towards. 

At 15, Mau dropped out of school and around the same time, entered into a relationship with an older woman. He was gone for days and nobody worried as to where he is but it’s something he laughs off.

“That’s upsetting, we can’t joke that far,” Dr Guralnik says sternly. “That’s non-negotiable.”

You grow to like, hate and get annoyed with all the couples in the show, and like with Mau and Annie, you will almost always be at the point of “just dump him” but as if like magic, Dr Guralnik therapises like a breath of fresh air.

It’s quite unlike anything else on TV at the moment – reason enough to binge it in its entirety, we say.

Watch all episodes of Couples Therapy on BBC iPlayer now. 

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: BBC

Share this article