A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The main positive message is a cautionary one: Be careful to whom you grant power over your life.
Positive Role Models
Marty and Phyllis are tight-knit siblings; their relationship becomes frayed over the course of this drama, but Phyllis' support is one of the things that helps Marty endure. In the role of a trusted professional, Dr. Ike shows repeatedly why he's not to be trusted, a fine example of abuse that masquerades as aid.
The main characters in this drama are vibrantly Jewish; we see religious and cultural celebrations like Marty's bar mitzvah, and a rabbi is a significant character. Most main characters are White but some side characters are people of color; we don't hear much about their lives separate from Marty, though.
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Violence & Scariness
A character seeking revenge smashes objects in a prominent scene: glassware, sports equipment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives. Romance is sometimes mentioned, usually in the context of Marty feeling lonely and wanting to date.
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Language is a part of emotional scenes. Expect to hear "f--k," "f--king," "bulls--t," "goddamn," "ass," "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Financial abuse plays a major part in this drama. We see how Marty pays for Dr. Ike's lavish lifestyle of dinners, parties, travel, an elegant house. Material objects such as artworks symbolize how much Marty has given Ike.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink cocktails at parties. In some scenes, characters appear to have overindulged and get obnoxious and sloppy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Shrink Next Door is based on the podcast of the same name, about a real-life therapist who begins taking advantage of his vulnerable patient, using his money to bankroll a lavish lifestyle over their 30-year relationship. This cautionary tale has one main message: Be careful whom you allow to have power over your life. In this case, the abuse is mostly financial, and this drama clearly shows how the abuse starts with small boundary violations and then escalates. We see the trappings of wealth, including extravagant parties with celebrity guests, expensive artwork, and large houses with lavish decor. Iffy content is sparse: There's a violent scene in which a furious character smashes glassware and furniture, and some party scenes in which characters overindulge on drinks and get obnoxious. Main characters are Jewish, and we watch as they celebrate events such as a bar mitzvah. Language includes "f--k," "f--king," "bulls--t," "goddamn," "ass," "bitch." Though this drama sounds an alarm about trusted professionals who become abusive, family ties are strong and supportive, and ultimately, they allow characters to stand up for themselves.
Is It Any Good?
Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd have terrific chemistry in performances that could have skewed grim, lightening up a chilling premise: Evil sometimes come disguised as the exact kind of help you need. In the beginning of The Shrink Next Door, Ferrell's Marty is obviously a guy who needs a hand. Flummoxed by the big and small problems in his life, easily pushed around by others, prone to panic attacks, he's a great big mess in every way. Urged by his loved ones to seek change with therapy from Rudd's Dr. Ike, Marty's first electrified by Dr. Ike's cheerful pushiness, then, as his boundaries are violated in increasingly shocking ways, he slowly realizes that he's a patsy, not a patient. The story would be hard to buy if it weren't all too real.
The problem, as The Shrink Next Door soon makes clear, is that trouble sometimes masquerades as a friend. From their very first session together, it's clear that Ike is hungering for both power and acclaim, and he shrewdly realizes that Marty is so hard up for support that he's happy to pay for both. Elaborate parties, pricey artworks, access to the rich and famous; Marty foots the bill for everything as Ike worms his way into his consciousness, convincing Marty that everything he does for Ike is really something he's doing for himself. And as Marty is slowly, painfully ensnared in Ike's schemes, it's made clear how vulnerable we are when we go looking for help, and how the wrong person can show up at the right time. With terrific sympathetic actors like Rudd, Ferrell, and Kathryn Hahn as Marty's long-suffering sister, we feel the pain Dr. Ike left behind.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.