Saturday, December 4, 2021

‘The Shrink Next Door’ Recap: Episode 1 “The Consultation”

Apple TV+’s newest series, The Shrink Next Door, premiered today, painting a twisted picture of a patient/therapist relationship gone very wrong.

The series stars Will Ferrell as Martin “Marty” Markowitz, Paul Rudd as Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf, Kathryn Hahn as Marty’s sister, Phyllis, and Casey Wilson as Ike’s wife, Bonnie. Based on true events, and the podcast of the same name, The Shrink Next Door follows the decades-long manipulation of Marty by Dr. Ike.

Episode 1 introduced three of our main players and our setting, New York City, giving a few hints about exactly who we might be dealing with.

Start at the End

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There’s always something so captivating about beginning a series at the end, and that’s just what The Shrink Next Door has done. Starting at a lavish party in 2010, it leaves us wondering just what happened as we see a man who is clearly Will Ferrell’s Martin “Marty” Markowitz beginning to dig a hole and finding blood on his shirt after causing some destruction on Paul Rudd’s Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf’s yard late at night after the party. At the end of the episode, we see that the hole is for some decorative cow statues, that Ike had vowed to one day purchase during his and Marty’s consultation in 1982, where the majority of the episode takes place.

Marty, the Nice Guy

Apple TV+

One star of this episode was Marty’s anxiety. We quickly learned he has an overbearing ex-girlfriend who doesn’t take no for an answer and he’s inherited the family business, a fabric company, from his late parents very recently. Marty can’t really seem to be able to handle either of these things. However, in his first visit with Dr. Ike, he’s a locked box, claiming his life is perfect, despite having a full-fledged panic attack just hours before.

We also learn that Marty’s uncle, Jerome, doesn’t think he’s fit to run the business and is suing him to try and get the company back all while Deborah is simply trying to get Marty to fund her way to Mexico for a vacation. Marty’s outlook on these situations is tragically optimistic.

Marty is clearly a nice guy who allows himself to be walked all over by everyone he meets. He goes out of his way to help everyone around him and doesn’t want to let anyone down. Not his ex-girlfriend, his sister, or even this therapist he’s only just met, which is likely the root of all of his issues. Dr. Ike has promised he can help Marty grow a backbone and stand on his own two feet, and he finally got Deborah off Marty’s back by the end of their double session. That’s a hard bargain to refuse.

Phyllis, the Protective Sister

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While Marty is a perfectly functioning adult, it’s plain to see he relies on his sister, Kathryn Hahn’s Phyllis, heavily. Whether this was cultivated by Marty or by Phyllis remains to be seen, but she fights his battles for him. And she fights them very well. She handles Deborah and Mr. Ableman for Marty and she coordinated the appointment with Dr. Herschkopf for him. Clearly, Phyllis is someone Marty leans heavily on, and she allows him to. This relationship is going to be an interesting one to watch as the series progresses.

Is Marty too dependent on her? Or will Marty get the help he needs and no longer need her, prompting some feelings of loss in Phyllis?

Dr. Ike, the Therapist

Apple TV+

From the moment we first see him in 2010, it’s easy to see something is slightly off with Dr. Ike. He’s living a lavish life, hosting a massive party with Lisa Rinna in attendance, and we know that Marty was in some sort of service position to him. This is obviously a stark difference from the Ike and Marty we meet in 1982 at their consultation.

In 1982, Ike is seemingly a godsend for Marty. He notices Marty’s hesitation to the appointment and works around it, eventually getting Marty to spill all of his worries as they walk the streets of New York City. Ike does get a little pushy with Marty, spurring another anxiety attack after a phone call with Deborah, but Ike quickly rushes him into a nearby business to help calm him down.

The business is one Ike is very familiar with, a custom framer, and again, things get a bit odd here when Ike takes the time to brag about his famous meetings and published articles, but those are celebratory things we all like to throw into a conversation, typically not professional ones, but maybe he has a technique. Marty helps the framer design one of Ike’s frames betters, prompting Ike to compliment his eye, but the look in Ike’s was one of intrigue. Things get even weirder as Ike haggles with the price of the session with Marty, who insists he pays right then and there for convenience.

Ike does eventually pose as Marty’s lawyer to hopefully get Deborah off of him for good, which was truly the seal for Marty to decide that despite his hesitation, he’s all with Dr. Ike.

While he may be a phenomenal therapist, there’s already something clearly lurking beneath the surface with Ike. He likes fame, he’s got a lot of pride, and has a taste for the finer things in life. And now, Marty trusts him, and we know Marty has the backbone of jellyfish. Things aren’t going to stay very good for long …

Episodes 2 and 3 of The Shrink Next Door are available, the remaining five episodes will release on each subsequent Friday until December 17 exclusively on Apple TV+. Stay tuned for our continuing coverage of the series!

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Kaity
Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. Her main fandoms are Marvel, The Umbrella Academy, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, with special emphasis on one vibranium shield-wielding Super Soldier. Contact: kaity@nerdsandbeyond.com

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