MENTAL on Fox- Yay or Nay? - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

MENTAL on Fox- Yay or Nay?

May 27, 2009 by  

Last night Fox premiered it’s new summer drama, MENTAL. The show received mixed at best reviews, but I liked it. Pilots are always WAY too heavy handed in characterization, and shows like this are always worth a couple of episodes, if for no other reason than to let momentum build.

For those of you who missed the episode, but are thinking of watching online (or when FOX re-airs the pilot on Friday night at 9PM), here is a general premise:

A maverick doctor from the UK (by way of small town Vermont, USA), becomes ‘head honcho’ in a psych facility in Los Angeles. His unorthodox methods are popular with his patients, but he meets resistance from other staff members.

Chris Vance (of former Prison Break “Whistler” fame) headlines as the new Director of Psychiatric Services, Dr. Jack Gallagher, and he’s a little unconventional to say the least.  Cast in point – his first set of business upon arriving is to take of all of his clothing. But don’t change the channel just yet (if you were going to, that is), because it’s not that FOX has gone Skinemax on us, it’s just one of Dr. Gallagher’s ‘methods’ for ‘relating’ to a patient.

And in this case it works. The patient, Vincent, responds, allows himself to be soothed, and Dr. Jack introduces himself. Throughout the episode, Jack encourages Vincent to begin creating art again (and how does he find out that Vincent is an artist? Only by breaking into Vincent’s sister’s house!). Again, a little unconventional…but hey, it works for HOUSE right?

Here’s a look at the rest of the cast:

  • Nora Skoff (Annabella Sciorra): Nora is the hospital administrator. We find out she has had a past relationship with Jack, and she is also a cancer survivor. She publicly can’t approve of his methods, but they are the reason she hired him.
  • Dr. Veronica Hayden Jones (Jacqueline McKenzie): Veronica was the heir apparent to the job, but was passed over for Dr. Jack. She runs a day-rehabilitation clinic. Jack doesn’t necessarily approve of all of her methods, so there will be some professional tension there. She’s married, so hopefully there won’t be any sexual tension there.
  • Dr. Carl Belle (Derek Webster): A smartly dressed chief of residence. Toward the end of the episode, it’s implied that he wants Jack on his side with pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Jack thanks him for the offer. I’m guessing there will be some professional tension there too, probably in the form of who is really the ‘boss’ of the next two characters.
  • Residents Dr. Chloe Artis and Dr. Arturo Suarez (Marissa Ramirez and Nicholas Gonzalez): Two young (and pretty) doctors. Their characterization read that he’s a flirt and she’s stuck up, but IMO, that didn’t quite translate. Hopefully they will not be so ‘cardboard cut out’ in the next episode (Airing Tuesday, June 2nd on FOX). I liked that Dr. Jack sent them on a mission.

Here’s what worked for me…

  • Dr. Jack: I think his motives are good. He wants to help people. And he wants to help people help themselves.
  • Jack’s phone conversation with his sister, Becky. That has possibilities. I think we can all agree that whatever her issues are, his being in LA is not a coincidence.
  • “Reality is loud, messy, and full of surprises”.

And what didn’t…

  • That zipper on the head thing with the Pavlov bell at each commercial break.
  • The patients were a bit too quick in self-diagnosis and admit their issues.
  • They way they set up the sympathy for “Grayson” and then made fun of him for the way he “stores”.
  • The conversation between Nora and Veronica. WAY too forced of dialogue and characterization. That was uncomfortable for everyone.

It wasn’t a perfect episode, but I’m willing to give this show another shot. What say you? Did you watch MENTAL? Did you like it?  Should we continue to cover the show on GMMR this summer? The comments are open so let us know.


15 Responses to “MENTAL on Fox- Yay or Nay?”

  1. Lisa (aka lmr) on May 27th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Despite initially saying to myself that the doctor with unorthodox methods was just too House for comfort, I actually enjoyed the show and am looking forward to more. It could also be a bit of desperation on my part for something new in this between period before many summer shows return.

  2. MENTAL on Fox- Yay or Nay? | Joe Hosting on May 27th, 2009 3:33 pm

    […] the whole story on Give Me My Remote Share and […]

  3. Sara V on May 27th, 2009 3:48 pm

    I only lasted about 20 minutes (online) and had to stop. The acting was a bit much for me. I realize this isn’t best judged in a pilot, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

    Totally agree with you with respect to the zipper-head thing. Ugh.

  4. Ferret on May 27th, 2009 4:58 pm

    I was planning on watching it, but for some reason forgot. I heard pretty negative things about it, but after seeing the ratings (5.6 million) I’m going to watch it on That’s a good number for a summer series (higher than what Dollhouse ever got, and that got renewed).

  5. angiep213 on May 27th, 2009 5:31 pm

    Wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible. It’s watchable, and I’ll be interested to see how the next few episodes roll out. LIke you said, so hard (and more often than not, a little unfair) to judge a show just by it’s premiere. Most great shows started off a little rough/bumpy and took a bit to really find their groove.

    Kudos to Chris Vance for the whole call w/Becky scene. Thought he handled it well without overdoing it, and really – a cute guy tearing up? Well count me in. 🙂

  6. sammy on June 4th, 2009 11:45 pm

    i saw it and i actually liked it!
    but i have a questions, it isn’t LA right???

  7. K.Whistler on August 12th, 2009 10:49 am

    Defintely Yay!!!!!!! Loved Mental, It’s cutting edge in helping people with mental illness is like no other that has ever been on tv before. And Sexy Chris Vance, well he makes me Mental… I hope the show does well in the ratings and I hope Fox picks it up for another season…, It’s alot better than House, and Chris is far better actor than Hugh Laurie…,

  8. Krissi on August 14th, 2009 9:09 pm

    I was on the fence for the first couple of episodes, but the show really grew on me. I enjoy the cast, their chemistry, and the plots. And the subject matter is indeed different; I don’t remember any past series ever dealing with only mental illness. I really hope that FOX renews Mental.

  9. Val on August 15th, 2009 11:42 pm

    I think and would hope they could keep this one coming, as I was also set back a bit but then grew to enjo the cast, and the usual like hate of the few staff. I sure hope Fox decides to pick this show up and create some additional ones, it has a line and a catch to it that draws in the viewer. Enjoyed them greatly even the finale!

  10. Ivy Hofmann on August 17th, 2009 2:49 pm

    I love this show and hope it is renewed. It shines a spotlight on society’s shunned. Mental illness is so often hush hush and the system rarely treats patients like human beings. I think there are more Carls in the system than Jacks.

    Jack Gallagher’s compassion and unique approach to treatment can open the eyes of people who are living with those who suffer from mental illness. The show offers them an opportunity to see and explore alternatives that aren’t spoken of in other venues. Please continue to follow this show and I really hope it will be renewed

  11. Gatorz2u on August 18th, 2009 7:28 pm

    It’s head and shoulders above House, far out but not over the top. a breath
    of fress air compared to Fox’s regular line up.

  12. Tanya on August 20th, 2009 4:37 am

    I love this show and hope they renew it!! *****

  13. Emily F on August 22nd, 2009 10:47 pm

    Hope they renew the show… and move it to a different time slot. I really like it, but wish it was on earlier.

  14. Heather A on August 28th, 2009 9:58 pm

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE FOX…..RENEW THIS SHOW. I think this is a fabulous show and I will be VERY disappointed if it doesn’t come back. I never watched anything on Fox before Mental came along.

  15. jan b on September 14th, 2009 5:45 pm

    A definite yay for me. Refer to what Ivy Hoffman said on Aug 17th. I also live with a person suffering from mental illness — myself. This show is right on and I very much hope that it will be picked up by Fox.