Synopsis: Meet Dr. Elizabeth Goode, Ph. D (Alexandra Wentworth), a brash and judgmental therapist who uses her own unconventional methods of therapy to treat the elite of the entertainment, sports and music industries. Her unique brand of treating the celebrity psyche has made her the “it” therapist in Hollywood and NY with an undeniably thriving practice. Rosanna Arquette, Andy Dick, Ione Skye, Lea Thompson, Richard Kind, James Denton, David Alan Grier, Greg Grunberg, Monica Potter, Joel Madden, Christopher Lloyd, Jason Lewis, Jonathan Silverman, Jennifer Finnigan, Ahmet Zappa, Trudie Styler, Cindy Margolis and Jeff Goldblum guest star as themselves in this Starz Originals series that the New York Post hails as “unscripted, unusual, funny and real!”
eyelights: Jeff Goldblum. Monica Potter. Ahmet Zappa. Jason Mewes.
eyesores: Joel Madden. the missing reception area painting.
Season 2 of ‘Head Case’ finds the show in full swing: not only had it been renewed with full-length episodes this time (the first season‘s episodes were a mere 11 minutes in length), but a new character has been added and a few minor tweaks were made to improve its overall feel.
Gone is the crying child that was so prominently featured behind Lola’s reception desk. In its place is a strange gorilla/beast with googly eyes and creepy grin. The old painting has now been relegated to the back corner of the waiting area, and is rarely seen anymore (to the extent that it may even have been altogether removed by the seasons’ end).
I preferred the original painting because it was so discrepant, yet technically beautiful. It’s a really nice painting, so I can see why someone would buy it. But it was indicative of Dr. Goode and Dr. Finkelstein’s judgement that it would be put up in their space, given how distressing it might be to patients. But maybe it was too heavy-handed; it was removed.
Another change, less discreet this time, is that the practice has been relocated to a different location. The office spaces themselves are the same, though. For some reason, the office now has no staircase and can only be accessed by elevator, suggesting that it is in a highrise. Who knows… this is not addressed at all; we are likely expected to pretend that nothing’s actually changed.
Anyway, the primary advantage of the new set-up is that the comings and goings of clients can be awkward: now they can be stuck with other people on their way in or out, and they can’t just sneak out of or into their sessions. The disadvantage is that it’s not as casual, and people can’t just wander in off the street as easily as they did – something I kind of enjoyed.
The new character that was added to the show is a disabled maintenance man, Ron Julio (is this a play on Raul Julia?). He doesn’t provide much to the show other than a different flavour, given how little use there is for maintenance in a therapist office, but watching him try to paint with his plunger-arm prosthetic was a real gas. Talk about make-do attitude!
Now twice as long, the episodes feature 50% more celebrity clients and 100% more interpersonal stuff. This is actually a good mix and the transition between 11 and 22 minutes is quite smooth. If one enjoyed the original format, this new one would be equally agreeable. One gets more of the Goode stuff, and the balance between both aspects is just right.
I can’t say that I found the celebrity visits especially interesting this time, however. Even those that I thought would blow me away, such as Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd, left me slightly indifferent. Dr. Goode was always in terrific shape during those bits, as was Lola, of course, but the interplay wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it was in the first season.
However, the backstories were more developed, and all in a pleasing way: Dr. Goode and her sleazy suitor, Jeremy Berger, get back together again and get engaged in an unusual fashion (prompting Dr. Goode to get all wedding-crazy), Dr. Finklestein’s surprising personal life gets dragged out into the light, much to Lola’s dismay, and Dr. Goode’s family cause problems.
It all adds up to a rather enjoyable season. There aren’t any outstanding episodes, however (hence why I didn’t rate them individually); they’re pretty much all of equal value, with the Joel Madden one being slightly weaker and Dr. Goode’s bachelorette party being my favourite. It’s not a phenomenal show, but it’s all Goode fun. And that’s enough for me to look forward to Season 3.
Date of viewing: April 12-28, 2013