"Shrink Rap" S1 / E3
- B Community Grade
In the newest installment of Web Therapy, Lisa Kudrow’s Fiona continues to hammer the people around her — including patients — to invest in her “new modality” with reckless abandon. And if you haven’t had enough of her high-pitched squeaking over the course of the first two episodes, this might be the one that breaks the camels back. That, and the fact that the show seems to be losing whatever mojo it might’ve been holding onto during the whole webisode-to-TV-show transition.
Upon learning that her lawyer husband Kip won’t be able to finance her latest venture, it looks like she’s taken his suggestion and gone to her very rich mother (Lily Tomlin). From inside her posh estate in Boston, Putsy (hooray for that name, by the way) talks with her daughter via iChat windows and exudes an over-the-top amount of blue-blood iciness towards her daughter. In mere minutes, she’s celebrating the thought of her not coming to Thanksgiving, remembering her as a “pudgy child,” and calling her “non-perceptive.” While their exchange is clearly meant to convey the most minimal maternal bond between the two, it also helps posit some plot-related information: namely that Putsy isn’t interested in financing Fiona’s web therapy but is willing to meet up with Kip and give him $100,000 for something work-related.
Calling upon the fact that Fiona has been hell-bent on getting support —financially and professionally — from her former co-workers and boss at the financial firm she recently quit, she’s next in an awkward session with a highly qualified therapist — played by the delightful Bob Balaban (Best In Show, Waiting for Guffman) who the Lochman Bros. have sent to evaluate her new business. In order for Fiona’s foot-in-mouth to reach its necessary apex, that information is withheld until the end of their disastrous meeting. In just a few minutes, she’s admitted her only analytic training came from the Wharton School of Business, where she received her MBA, and called the potential patient "unlikable." When she realizes her potential funding is going down the drain, she all but begs for another session and a chance to redeem herself
There’s a quick check-in with Gina the bimbo receptionist at Lochman Bros., who is strangely hanging outside in a car (on a laptop) while one of her bosses is at an electrolysis appointment. While everyone on Web Therapy is sort of a caricature of an actual person, this wide-eyed dummy is almost too much to bear. And, oh! She’s super slutty, too! So, it makes sense that within a few minutes of talking to Fiona, she’s yelling promises of a blowjob to a man in a nearby car while intermittently detailing the perks of sleeping with her boss.
The show ends on a relative high-note for Fiona because she does wrangle Ted, the qualified therapist from before, for another session. If you can believe it, her modality somehow works on this therapy veteran and he’s suddenly experiencing a breakthrough and babbling about a remembered encounter from childhood involving his family’s nanny named Weezy and his “wee wee.” Talk about spinning out into Crazytown and Cringeville simultaneously. With that, her little venture is somehow legitimized and it looks like funding from her old co-workers might be pouring in any day now. Not only that, but he’s suddenly gone from disapproving of her work to looking for help with his 200 patients, some of which include famous actors and heads of state. It looks like Fiona’s beloved “new modality” might be headed towards the big-time, thanks to a little nonsense confessional.
Just this far into Web Therapy and it already feels like the show is headed into a territory that's alternately snoozy and too nutty. It seems that, rather than explore the relationships at the show’s center, there’s an uncomfortable push to stay acutely focused on the whole “weirdness” of the three-minute therapy sessions. It’s a shame, too, given the talent of the cast and the largely unclaimed frontier the show could carve up.