Episode 1 of The Shrink Next Door begins in 2010 with Dr. Isaac Herschkopf hosting a big house party. The event is a big success but as day turns to night, things take a turn for the worst. A bearded man begins smashing the place up, destroying the basketball hoop and upturning tables.
Back in 1982 we get a look at this man, a stressed tailor by the name of Martin Markowitz. He’s been booked a session with Dr Isaac Herschkopf by his concerned sister, but there’s a problem. His ex, Deborah, shows up to see him.
Phyllis manages to get rid of her but there’s more going on here than simple marital tiffs. Marty appears to have serious psychological problems, especially when a customer by the name of Mr. Abelman shows and questions the integrity of the workplace. Marty starts to have a panic attack, which is reason enough for him to head off and visit the good doctor.
Herschkopf can sense there’s something up with Marty but he remains standoffish, allowing Marty to talk. It turns out his uncle is actually suing him for the tailor company, believing he can take over and do a better job. He’s also stuck with Deborah sniffing around, demanding he sort out the promised vacation in Mexico.
Herschkopf decides to help dispel Marty’s black clouds, encouraging him to ring Deborah and talk to her sternly, laying down the law. The only trouble is, Marty ends up having another attack while on the phone.
After paying for the session, Herschkopf goes one step further and heads over to Deborah’s place. He speaks for Marty and tells Deborah to stay away. Off the back of this, Herschkopf realizes that Marty can be manipulated but spins it in a way that he’s going to be helping Marty from here on out.
Pointing to a colourful cow statue in the window, Herschkopf says “I’m gonna buy those one day.” As he says the words, we cut back to 2010 where Marty buries that very same cow in the backyard.
The Episode Review
The first episode of Thee Shrink Next Door gets things off to a typically subdued Apple Original start. We’re introduced to the big characters, the plot is dripped out with enough comedy and drama to keep things watchable and an all-star cast does well with the average scripts given.
The tone does tend to veer off between comedy and drama, but it’s never quite at the level of dark absurdity films like The Cable Guy managed to achieve so effectively. Still, there’s enough to stick with this one for the time being so we’ll have to wait and see where this one goes.