At some point, there needs to be a re-defining of the word entertainment.

For your viewing pleasure

Watching "Scenes from a Marriage" on HBO TV is trying, probably because we're witnessing decent people in pain over their conflicting needs.

There's no one to blame (although I found the husband talk-y, and suffocatingly affectionate, hey, that's just me). But there are no bad guys in this story.

Like watching a car crash

It's hard to watch this series because a 10-year bond is disintegrating, and there's a child involved. The particular sadness is how inescapable, even how predictable the fragmentation is.

Historic inevitability

The inevitability of the break wasn't as apparent in Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes of a Marriage" made in '73. The HBO remake switches genders and has the wife rather than the husband wanting out of the marriage.

The wife, Mira, feels she's made smaller by the union. She works. The husband, Jonathan, is a stay-at-home Dad in charge of everything, head of the household in every way. So, when Mira comes home from work, she feels minimized. Again, no one's at fault.

New-age story

You might call this a very 21st-century story -- you know, married women asking, is this all there is? This is where the inevitability comes in – women's lib and all that.

But coming ahead of this century's story is a painting of the nuclear family made in 1917 by Egon Schiele that you might call an unwitting harbinger of female discontent.

Titled "The Family," it suggests that Schiele saw feminism coming before there was such a thing.

Revealing self-portrait

In picturing all his family members in the nude, Schiele arranged them in a pyramidal form with the husband at the pinnacle on a couch and the wife on the floor staring out sideways into space. His arm is over her.

(Think Mira). There's a child in front of the wife, but her arms are slack. She's in the scene, but you can see by the direction of her eyes that she's somewhere else.

To illustrate how forward-looking this painting of a wife wanting out is, consider a description of it by Schiele's friend and fellow Expressionist painter Anton Faistauer.

Art historian Wolfe-Dieter Dube quotes him in his 1985 book "The Expressionists."

Say what?

Faistauer talks about the wife in "The Family," about how her body is "strongly built," how she is "capable of supporting life," and how her "soul looks out mysteriously."

Schiele originally titled his painting "Crouching Couple" (Kauerndes Menschenpaar). Oddly, he changed it to "The Family" because the model for the wife was Schiele's former lover Wally Neuzil.

As history indicates, Mrs. Schiele was expecting their first child. In the sixth month of the pregnancy, she died of Spanish flu. The child survived. Schiele died of the same flu three days later.

Talk about a precursor, isn't Mira the wife also Nora in Ibsen's "A Doll House" written in 1879? While not the same, parallels are unmistakable. Each wanted out.

Bergman called the difficulties of marriage "the agony of the couple." That'd be a good title for Schiele's family portrait.