We’re left with more questions than answers at the end of the premiere of John Ridley’s American Crime. Of course - we’ve only just begun. Yet, we start to realize that each main character has complicated secrets that must be uncovered in order to make sense of what’s happened. For me, as not just a viewer but also a psychologist, meeting these characters for the first time is a lot like having a first session with a new patient in therapy. There are relationships gone wrong  - similar to Russ (Timothy Hutton) and Barb (Felicity Huffman). There are things like Carter’s (Elvis...

I find it pretty shocking that the well-respected SNL would vet a skit that pokes fun at something that’s spreading terror across the globe. “Take care of my daughter…. death to America?”  Come on. Not funny at all in the face of the recent attacks, beheadings, and immolation, as well as the missing UK and Canadian teenage girls who seem to have disappeared to join ISIS. Can’t most of us too well imagine what the parents and loved ones of those who’ve been killed or gone missing must be going through?  I think we can.  So, why, SNL? The only possible...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 7 — Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) is a mad man full of envy. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be so bent on getting rid of Don Draper. And, he wouldn’t be making unilateral decisions to be sure no one gets in his way. Contrary to what the soon-to-be-deceased Bert Cooper suggests, Cutler’s not a leader, a team player, or anything like that.  Ultimately, he wants to be the very thing he accuses Roger of when he announces the McCann merger: King.  Anyone who gets in the way of a King? Well, it’s “off with their head”, so to speak. Like a ruthless dictator,...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 6 — Doing it her way has never been easy for Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss). For subtle but understandable reasons to me as a psychoanalyst, Peggy needs Don and yet hates herself (and him) for it. She’s just not as self-assured as she thinks she should be. Then, again, neither is Don Draper (Jon Hamm). They share this. Especially, where love comes into the picture. Episode 5 ended with Don triumphantly flagging down a cab … the line “everybody knows you’ve been stepping on my toes” from Waylon Jennings’s song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line,” playing...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 4 — The 60’s were the era of re-defining what tells us who we are. The country was at war in more ways than Vietnam. Women fought stereotypes at home and in the workplace. The Black Panther movement empowered marginalized citizens. This country’s cultural revolution was a sign of just how much oppressive status quos would be challenged. People like Don Draper (Jon Hamm) live under similar but internal oppressive beliefs originating from childhood trauma. Don’s is the dark specter of “the unwanted boy”, now being repeated at Sterling Cooper and Partners. Will Don survive being...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — It could have been the perfect day. For the first time in his young life, Bobby has his mom along for a field trip and he couldn’t be more excited.  It’s all going so well, too. “Me and my mom are having a conversation,” Bobby tells his teacher on the bus. He’s a very happy little boy. He’s staking out a special spot for just the two of them (“No you can’t sit here. That’s my mom’s spot.”). All Bobby wants is a special place in Betty’s heart and today he thinks he just...

MAD MEN REVIEW: SEASON 7 EPISODE 5 — Jealousy can do it. Megan (Jessica Paré ) is taking matters into her own hands. It’s now tit for tat. She’s decided if she’s going to be with Don (Jon Hamm), she’ll be the one with the power. She’s done with being pushed aside and left out. In fact, she’ll make Don feel exactly the way she’s felt since she married him – a beautiful accessory but ultimately inconsequential. Yet, is she successful? The jury’s out on that one – at least for me as a psychoanalyst. But she’s certainly trying. As soon as...

  MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 5 — Could there be a more gruesomely horrifying image than Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) presenting his severed and bloodied nipple in a box as a gift to Peggy? As the paramedics are carting him off, he yells: “Get out while you can!” What’s gotten into Ginsberg? The new computer isn’t what’s really driving him crazy. But, his fantasies about it are certainly a place to start. In Ginsberg’s mind, the computer is imbued with special humanoid qualities; anthropomorphized, we could say. The computer is making people do things. For example – trying to make men turn homosexual and...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — Good relationships take trust and trust allows relationships to strengthen over time. As we’ve watched Don Draper over the years, we know he’s lied to the people in his life for complicated reasons. After suffering a series of humiliating defeats in Episode 3, it’s painfully illuminated to Don that the people who know him – from his wife Megan to his partners at SC&P – don’t trust him. Don is forced to face the reality that trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Trust (and love) require being open to the hard work...