Web Therapy

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Web Therapy TV Poster Image
Bone-dry therapy spoof pokes fun at adult problems.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's goal is comedy, so real healing isn't part of the therapy process. Jokes also make light of infidelity, incest, and other serious topics.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dr. Wallice tends to be self-absorbed, giving her patients only three minutes per session and using the time to mainly talk about herself. She also belittles her patients (and her husband) and cares more about making money than she does about listening to their problems.

Violence
Sex

Sexual innuendo, with jokes about sex, extramarital affairs, sexual harassment, incest, etc. Suggestive descriptors like "touching," "groping."

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking on camera, plus jokes about getting drunk, etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this online therapy spoof skewers serious adults problems, including adultery and incest, with deadpan comedy. A recurring storyline involves infidelity/romance between the doctor and one of her patients. There's also some social drinking with descriptions of drunken behavior.

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What's the story?

After developing WEB THERAPY -- an innovative new "modality" for dispensing talk therapy via short, three-minute sessions on the Internet -- Dr. Fiona Wallice (Lisa Kudrow) launches her practice online and builds up a roster of interesting clients (played by various guest stars). Each episode consists of multiple sessions, with additional on-camera snippets that capture a bit of the doctor's home life with her husband (Victor Garber).

Is it any good?

Web Therapy was actually adapted from the Webby Award-winning series of the same name, combining extra scenes with short segments that have already aired online to critical acclaim. So what you’re seeing isn’t exactly new. But the expanded format does add a few more worthy characters to the mix, including Dr. Wallice’s long-suffering husband and her uptight mother, played to perfection by Lily Tomlin.

The humor here may be too dry for some, and the static format (which mimics the windows of Apple’s iChat) certainly limits the range of laughs. But when you consider that this series is largely improvised, it’s really downright impressive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about deadpan humor, particularly when it's applied to serious topics. How could making light of sex and alcohol (without the aid of a laugh track) send a mixed message to some viewers? How do you know it's supposed to be funny?

  • Does this series play as well on television as it did on the web (where it originally aired)? How does the format drive the structure of each episode?

  • Could web-based therapy work in real life? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages? How have advances in video technology changed the way we communicate?

TV details

For kids who love laughs

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