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'Mental' nostalgia recap: Romance and brain surgery don't mix

Season 1 | Episode 7 | “Obsessively Yours” | Aired Jul 10, 2009

As the saying goes, if you love someone, subject them to invasive brain surgery. Wait, what?

That’s the premise of Mental‘s seventh episode, “Obsessively Yours.” A former patient’s wife wants to crack open her spouse’s head when she really should be looking into her own, while Jack gets his second love interest in five episodes, in the neurosurgeon who might be doing the cracking. As for us, we’re a bit sad as we reach the halfway point of this quirky series that we love.

First, here’s Jack appearing out of nowhere to give unsolicited relationship advice to Chloe and Arturo, who do actually still work here. Both of them are newly single and want to know why they can’t keep a romantic partner; he suggests they got into psychiatry due to a fundamental belief that all people are “totally screwed up,” including themselves. Then he gives them more research to do, before heading off to play chess with random people.

Veronica is irate that her former day-clinic patient, Craig Peters (Rob LaBelle, Supernatural), is now worse than he’s ever been and slated for brain surgery—thanks to another shrink located by his wife, Mimi (Nina Siemazsko, The West Wing). She can’t understand how Craig regressed so badly or that Mimi would jump to such an extreme measure. Jack agrees that this particular surgery is still in the experimental phase, and does her a favor by poking around to see if Craig really knows what’s about to happen to him. He even brings his own visual aid. Yay, cantaloupes.

Veronica meets her boyfriend, Ryan, for lunch so she can complain about Jack taking over (never mind that he’s protecting her). She also grills him about why she’s never seen his apartment. Maybe because you two are having an affair? And Arturo gets summoned to the country club so Carl can continue to treat him like a minion. We forgot how pleasant it was not to have this guy around.

Back to the hospital, Craig has balked at surgery, much to the fury of the ridiculously named Dr. Zan Avidan (the underappreciated Jaime Ray Newman, Eureka). Dr. Avidan argues with Jack about which one of them is right, and says he should “leave the medicine to the real doctors.” That doesn’t stop her from going out to dinner with him after work. Which in turn does not stop her from dripping with disdain every time they interact otherwise.

On the flip side of the situation, Mimi tells Veronica that she’s just trying to save her marriage. As she rants, Jack eyes her up like the wheels are turning in his brain … wheels that gain traction when Mimi waltzes into his office and starts flirting with him. Arturo claims that she did a lot more than that to him, and poor nurse Malcolm gets caught up with her too.

So the potential nymphomaniac, the neurosurgeons, and the psychiatrists all sit down to decide what to do about Craig. Jack chooses this as a good time to tell Zan his suspicions about Mimi, and she agrees to help him. Together, they’re able to tell her about and locate the brain tumor that’s causing her issues—but now she’s the one who doesn’t want surgery.

To sway her, Jack takes her on a date to the world’s worst bar to show her all the guys she definitely does not want to sleep with. The tumor is quickly removed, the now happy couple is reunited, and Jack gets a second date with the neurosurgeon who only seems to like him some of the time.

We’d say the real winner here is Craig, who gets his wife back without having his skull split open. As for everyone else—they’ve now either been dumped or their husband has found out about their affair—well, this episode just goes to show how they all need a lot of work in the relationship department.

There’s something romantic (in a warped way) about Craig and Mimi’s story; he loves her so much that he’s willing to submit to a risky procedure and she just wants to beloved. Jack is pseudo-Cupid, helping them find each other again. (Note to self: Chris Vance would be top of the list if Rob Thomas decides to make a third incarnation of Cupid.)

But when it comes to the staff of Wharton Memorial, Mental turns more toward the cliched side. You’ve got two solid actors playing the parts, but the flirtation between Jack and Zan goes from zero to a hundred so quickly that it doesn’t feel authentic, despite how charming they are, because we hardly know her and he knows just as little as we do. Plus, hooking him up with two women—and let’s not forget Nora’s admission that she’s still attracted to him—over seven episodes? We know Jack is ridiculously good looking, but let’s relax a bit.

That said, underneath all that flotsam is a message about loving yourself and the ones in your life for who they are, and there’s a certain sweetness about that. Even if a cantaloupe had to be harmed in the making of this episode.

Mental is available on DVD.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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