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MENTAL: A Beautiful Delusion

June 3, 2009 by  

Did you guys watch MENTAL on Fox last night?  Are you digging it yet? I so wanted to like this new episode. But I’m not in love yet.  I find that so far, what the show lacks is subtlety. The dialogue and characterizations are so forced, it’s uncomfortable to watch sometimes. So that’s where I’m at – “like”, not “love”. What about you?

A little about the plot. A woman perceives herself to be pregnant and shows all of the physical and psychosomatic symptoms, except for one, an actual baby. Her husband arrives and they find he is just as deep into the delusion as she is, if not more. But no matter how hard you try you can’t create a baby by wishing it. There’s a lot more to it than that. Birds, bees and storks are all involved.

One thing that’s working for the show is Chris Vance as Dr. Jack Gallagher. He’s not too reactionary – a wait and see type of guy, and I like that.  This character is really one of the strengths of the show.

A few thoughts on the supporting cast:

  • Veronica: Yuck! I did not care for that affair storyline one bit. I did like her interaction with the patients.
  • Chloe and Arturo: Zero subtlety there. Which is unfortunate, because what could have been good characters are so far just caricatures.
  • Carl: It was even worse! His ‘threats’ to Nora were hollow. Or maybe they want him to be a completely shallow person. If so…success!
  • Nora: A little better this week for me. I like her interactions with Jack.

What worked for me…

  • Veronica’s husband. He seemed like an actual good guy. Played by Rob Boltin (and, hey, five points to the first person who can tell us which episode of BONES he played ‘Jason’ in!). And the way Veronica reacted in the truck toward him at the end of the episode made me feel sorry for him.

  • Dr. Jack’s search for his sister. I like those “broken down” moments where he can hardly breathe, but he keeps talking.
  • The ‘case’. I was fascinated the whole time. VERY interesting.

What didn’t…

  • That zipper thing at each commercial break. This is the last time I’ll mention it, I swear. But I was kind of hoping it would be out with the pilot. Boo.
  • How, so far, Dr. Jack has made no mistakes. Next week’s promo suggests it’s his BIGGEST RISK EVER! So we’ll see if he ever takes a fall or if all of his methods will be successes.
  • The “Wendy in the Water” segment. It had no bearing on the rest of the episode and felt way out of place. They need to either develop it more or not put those little segments in the episode.

But what is your reaction? Am I being too picky? I mean, it’s June, right? But then on the other hand, am I being too lenient? Is “it’s June” a good reason for poor dialogue? Is this a show that you would have watched even 30 minutes of, let alone two episodes in the fall when the competition is stronger?

For myself, I don’t know. But for now, I’ll sit like a proud parent at a middle school sporting event. There’s just so much…potential there, even if there are a lot of cringeworthy moments along the way.


4 Responses to “MENTAL: A Beautiful Delusion”

  1. tw111 on June 3rd, 2009 5:23 pm

    Wow, I agree with your likes/dislikes… that zipper creeped me out a bit as well.
    And the water thing… pointless filler.
    The set-up C-section was pretty chilling.. I was in suspense until the husband broke down wondering if she would be cut…. good plot.

  2. bryan on June 4th, 2009 8:35 am

    No I think you are dead on with your pickiness! I’m still on the fence with this show…let’s give a couple more episodes and see how it plays out.

  3. Kathy on June 5th, 2009 4:47 pm

    I don’t know if I like the show–probably not, I certainly wouldn’t be watching if there were anything else on. I wonder if the water thing is a way for the writers to show that they realize the patient’s problem doesn’t end with the realization that there is no baby, so to speak.

  4. lonestar on June 6th, 2009 9:18 am

    Nicholle Tom was stirring as Melissa Rainer. It took me a while to figure out who the actress was. I was very impressed. I’ll look for her in other shows.