TV’s Meeting of the Minds: FOX’s New Series Goes “Mental”

The 2008-9 television season has had plenty to recommend. Viewers were introduced to the quirky genius of Dr. Walter Bishop on “Fringe”, the comedic acting chops of Bobby Cannavale on ABC’s “Cupid”, and compelling new series such as “Private Practice” and “Southland”. More recently, FOX launched “Mental” (think Dr. Gregory House as a psychiatrist, only younger, and sans the Yank accent):

Chris Vance plays the lead, and Annabella Sciorra is cast in the “Dr. Lisa Cuddy” role in this take on unconventional mental health treatment. In the series debut (or premier if you prefer), the supporting cast proved only adequate, though the episode guests were strong. Beyond the predictable staff conflict, the clinical methodology advanced by “Dr. Jack Gallagher” will drive this vehicle. If it lands on a strong night after this summer trial, it could have staying power.

It is intriguing that material such as “Mental”, “Criminal Minds”, “Lie To Me”, the HBO hit “In Treatment”, and CBS’s tepid “The Mentalist” has found its way to our screens. Perhaps now that the CSI brand and “NCIS” have enthralled viewers with the forensic details of how the bad guys and girls are caught, audiences are hooked on motive and pyschosis. Or maybe eight years of a Bush II presidency turned us all into amateur shrinks.


Forget Swine Flu: Is Narcissism Epidemic?

As cultural red flags such Twitter, “My Super Sweet Sixteen”, helicopter parents, and fake paparazzi would  imply, narcissism, and the trait narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are not only on the rise, many young American believe the characteristic serves them well in an increasingly competitve world:

Nothing could be further from the truth.


Twitter or Twit? Is Connectivity Dumbing Down a Generation?

Is 24/7 access to video games, the Internet, Blackberry(s), Twitter, and cable t.v. dumbing down a generation of Americans? One author believes so:

My concern is less that young people are not as intellectually-stimulated as their predecessors (today’s youth are probably the most literate generation who ever lived), but that they, particularly the males, will lack certain valuable social skills because of the impersonal nature of their modes of communication.