Springing from the 2019 podcast of the same name, The Shrink Next Door follows the hapless Marty Markowitz (a game Will Ferrell) as his life becomes increasingly entangled with the psychotherapist (Paul Rudd, smilingly implacable) originally recommended to him by his sister (the excellent Kathryn Hahn). As we have noted before, true crime is at risk of over-exposure (not to mention schadenfreude) as a genre. But when real life goes on yielding stories this crazy and compelling, we’ll go on Musting them.
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We first find Marty chewing at the scenery (an actor’s joke) of the drapery business he has reluctantly inherited from a venerable Jewish fabric dynasty. Kathryn spots this as a panic attack, and not his first, and packs him off to a therapist coming on no higher recommendation than that of their family rabbi. Before long Marty is handing over authority for his life, and the keys to the family villa in the Hamptons, to his eccentric shrink. Fans of the seam of neurotic hilarity (hysteria?) mined elsewhere in New York by Woody Allen will find much to enjoy as the series takes this mad thread and runs to keep up with it over its multi-year span.
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Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal calls this “a richly beguiling tale of near impenetrable darkness.” And Lucy Mangan in The Guardian thinks “the sheer size and nerve of the three-decade scam will keep you going to the end.” But other critics are more, well, guarded. Judy Berman in Time slams it as a “major disappointment”, and its depictions of New York Jewish milieu as “cringe-worthy” (the flipside of hilarious, for some people). The Daily Telegraph’s Anita Singh by contrast dishes out four stars: “It would all seem a tad daft and overblown if it wasn’t for the fact that it all really happened.”
First shown November 2021.