‘The Shrink Next Door’ Season 1, Episode 5: The Family Tree
We have officially reached half of the The narrowing next door, and things start to get painfully real for Marty and Ike. We’ve also hit the ’90s, a fact evidenced by Ike’s giant cell phone and fluorescent basketball outfit in the opening scene. This is the only time Rudd is about to look like a delicious “Sexiest Man Ever” in this series, and I may or may not have watched him run around the field more than once.
Ike receives a call from someone telling him that his father has passed away. He tears his tank top at the collar to indicate that he is in mourning and returns directly to the game. Ike is a master at suppressing feelings. So when Marty invites Ike and his family to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend, Ike takes the opportunity to distract from his grief by taking over Marty’s childhood home. It’s a setback What about Bob.
Curiously, What about Bob was released in 1991, around this exact time in history. The film features Bill Murray as an impatient puppy-like patient who follows his psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) to his summer home, then adamantly refuses to leave. The film is ostensibly a comedy, but I know that What about Bob is a horror show for all therapists.
But Marty is, as you might expect, delighted when Ike starts to gesture to stay a while. At first, if you put all of Ike-is-Marty’s therapist thing aside, the situation seems like a good time. Marty is a very generous host, offering the master bedroom to Bonnie and Ike as he plans to sleep in the small guesthouse. Bonnie and Ike are lounging by the pool while their daughters have fun splashing around with Marty in the pool.
Unfortunately, the weekend takes a turn when Bonnie mentions how kind and generous Marty is. Ike bristles at the idea, saying that, no, they’re actually helping Marty by coming to visit him. Ike literally can’t admit when someone else shows him kindness. Bonnie seems to know it, but she also gently pushes back her husband’s protests.
We haven’t talked much about Casey Wilson’s portrayal of Bonnie yet, but this moment is indicative of the great job she does. Ike is a form-changing force of nature and Bonnie is the one who knows him best. For some reason, she continues to stand by his side even though she is often puzzled at his actions and frustrated with his “more, more, more” mentality. Wilson gives Bonnie a low-key but curious demeanor. She’s not afraid to question Ike’s motives, but she also allows him to get out of difficult conversations without rushing or challenging him, making her quietly complicit.
When Ike and Marty return to town, Ike immediately begins tending to the Hampton house. The house is in need of updating and updating and, in fact, the property next door is also for sale, and he thinks Marty should buy it! Still, Marty is happy with what he has, and he kindly dismisses the idea. But then Ike changes. He becomes sullen and withdrawn. Within milliseconds, he disengages from Marty, making him feel abandoned and alone and desperate to reconnect. These subtle clues have been strewn throughout the series so far, but Ike is really starting to use these tactics as a form of psychological warfare against his patient.
And even. The show also wants to illustrate that the relationship between Ike and Marty is also marked by good times. A delightful montage on Boy Meets Girl’s “Waiting For A Star To Fall” shows the two men walking around the house and entering the hijinx as they happily paint one of the rooms… and each other .
Too bad Ike has to go and be Ike.
When Marty tells Ike that the house next door has structural problems and his real estate agent advises him not to buy, Ike threatens to go to Jerusalem to have some free space and write the great American novel somewhere. thing. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what he says here. It’s that psychological warfare again; it’s quite an act to get Marty to line up. Marty begs Ike to stay, and he does it because that’s what he wanted from the start. Indeed, he takes a sabbatical leave in order to be able to devote himself fully to his new home.
Ike seeks the catharsis of his own grief in exactly all the wrong ways. Instead of going back up to his own mind and examining the damage there, he’s made his home in Marty’s childhood home – a physical representation of Marty’s own childhood demons in many ways – and begins at the to tear. Despite a small protest, Marty quickly accepts most of the changes Ike wants to make, including redecorating, painting, and even hacking the bathroom. But he draws the line to the tree.
An absolutely stunning cherry tree stands in the back yard of the house. And for some reason, Ike wants him to go. Marty doesn’t. The tree is totally magnificent. She’s the Laura Linney of the trees. It is also Marty’s bond with his mother, who loved the tree so much that she spoke to him sometimes. As Marty firmly protests the removal of the tree, Ike becomes downright hostile and terrifying. He begins to shout Freudian accusations, claiming that the tree is “an imminent great totem pole” of Ms. Markowitz’s “inappropriate desire” for Marty. Marty is stunned.
And then, feeling lost and trapped, Marty cut down the tree. It is a devastating moment.
Here, the episode skips several months to the first anniversary of Ike’s father’s death. This anniversary coincides with the final closure of Marty’s second house in the Hamptons. Fresh out of the ceremony at his father’s grave, Ike steps out of his emotional storefront and goes HAM on the fence between the two properties. Then he brushes himself, gets up and tells Marty that they are going to have a party. Coming from Ike, it looks more like a threat than a good time. And Marty looks worried.
• the record: The grave scene sees Ike whispering to Bonnie about another woman named Pearl. Without context, this moment may have been a bit confusing. Pearl is Ike’s half-sister. And, Joe Nocera tells me that, in real life, Ike’s half-sister survived the Holocaust with both Ike’s parents. In fact, she is the youngest Holocaust survivor in history (!). In the show, it’s clear that Ike feels a strong resentment for this woman as she took away some of her father’s attention and affection as a child. His mother also unwittingly provokes him here by saying that his father did not have it in him to love another boy after the death of Baruch, his first son, during the Holocaust. There is so much generational trauma to unpack here, and one certainly wonders if Dr. Ike has ever had therapy to work on his dense family history. He probably had a crappy therapist if he did it because the man has a poisonous lack of self-awareness.
• Marty’s recording: When Marty sees his niece Nancy’s boogie board in the guesthouse, he hits the nail on the head. It’s a moment without dialogue, and while attentive viewers may remember Phyllis’ eldest daughter named Nancy, this moment is another example of how the show shows a lot, without saying anything. Usually this tactic would be an effective storytelling device, but there is often not enough explicit context for the “show” part to achieve the desired emotional impact.
• recording of Ike and MartyAs the overall tone of this episode is one of impending disaster, Ike and Marty’s painting dance party may seem a bit out of place to some viewers, but it serves an important purpose. If Marty didn’t get Something outside of his relationship with Ike, he would not have continued to engage in the relationship. This episode is littered with examples of the authentic and electric human connection that Ike offered to Marty as their relationship progressed. Granted, Marty was hungry for these things because Ike had effectively cut him off from the rest of the world, but if we look at Marty’s point of view, painting the wall with Ike really feels like a ton of fun.
• Apparently, Ike has no idea how valuable trees are. Beautiful, well-maintained mature trees like Marty’s cherry tree are worth a lot. A LOT. Check out the glorious r / treelaw subreddit if you don’t believe me.
• We briefly see Ike and Marty working on Ike’s novel. Ike is dictating, so we can hear every word of his hacky and icky prose. Surprise! Ike is terrible at writing women. In fact, I’m going to invoke another subreddit, r / menwritingwomen, and say Ike belongs to it. Not all men, but certainly Ike Herschkopf.