Screen Savors: Shrink to the stars

A psychologist with problems of her own caters to celebrities on 'Head Case.'

head case 248 88 (photo credit: )
head case 248 88
(photo credit: )
Dr. Elizabeth Goode has got it bad. A successful therapist to Hollywood stars, she can't get her own life together, no matter how hard she tries. Struggling to get over her last boyfriend - whom she caught with two naked women - in the first episode of the second season of Head Case, we caught recently on a DVD provided by YES, Goode is just no good at it. And surrounded by a wacky collection of office co-workers, things don't get much better fast. We missed the first season, but the second had Goode giving herself a pep talk in the bathroom ahead of heading off to her clinic, where she regularly sees Hollywood stars, who play themselves. "I'm a healer, like the Lord Jesus Christ and Oprah," she tells herself in the mirror in the apartment she lives in alone. "Sure I thought about getting a dog, but you don't see the Pied Piper with a partner." "My glass is not half full - it's half empty," she tells herself before heading out to work, still trying to get over her break-up with her latest beau. "Celebrities have a fantasy of building a castle in their mind - I'm here to collect the rent," she says on arrival at the clinic, which she shares with Dr. Myron Finkelstein (Steven Landesberg of Barney Miller fame), who's just great here as the hanger-on who shares the office, but not the perks, including not having his floors done when the domineering Goode has the office refloored. Goode's also got a wonderful secretary named Lola Buchanan (the incredible Michelle Arthur, seen previously in Fun With Dick and Jane, Goldeneye and Seabiscuit), who somehow manages to keep the whole crazy place working, with a large picture of what looks like a mandrill hanging behind her desk, very fitting for an office that is going ape. ALEXANDRA WENTWORTH never stops for a moment in a tremendous performance as the seriously messed-up Dr. Goode. Addressing Lola and another assistant at a meeting Myron misses, she reminds them: "It's awards season, it's going to be crazy, and if you have any questions about whether someone is famous or not, they are, that's why they're coming to my office." Treating actress Ione Skye for what she thinks is the actress's loose behavior - "he was a homeless man, but with beautiful hair," explains Skye - Goode spends half the time walking out to check on the flowers sent over by her ex, when she's not experimenting with Skye by donning a mask of Governor Schwarzenegger. Meanwhile, poor Myron, turning up late, is told by Lola, showing him the item in the newspaper, that his 2 p.m. appointment "jumped off the Tappan Zee Bridge." "She took me seriously," he says sheepishly. When Skye says she feels like she's in a coffin when she's with someone she's known for more than five minutes, Goode races out to check out the flowers from her ex again, telling her client; "Feel like you're in a coffin." "Send this to his assistants: Thank you very much, I found a bigger dick!" she commands Lola, before returning to the therapy room. Eventually ending the session, she slides into the elevator, crying "I love him so much," with Lola calling to her: "Remember, you have Jeff Goldblum later," as the doors close. Poor Myron, left without any patients to see, turns to a picture of Freud he himself painted he has hanging on the wall. "You're coming back, you know. There's a new book coming out, so you're beginning to be like Lincoln," he says. Outside on the street, Goode runs into a man who's recently broken up with his wife, and the two hit it off, with him inviting her out to dinner. But first there's her session with Goldblum, who after admitting he was to blame for his two break-ups is asked if he ever heard of the word "narcissism." "Oh sure, but what does it mean -- I'm very-self involved," he says straight-faced. When the floor guy arrives to assess the color scheme, he tells Goldblum what a big fan he is, before settling down on Myron's couch, telling him how he fantasizes about locking women up, but all Myron can say is: "She had it in writing not to go into the office." Poor Goldblum, trapped in the elevator with the floor guy, has to put up with his question: "Were those real dinosaurs in Jurassic Park?" Out that night with the fellow she met earlier, Goode finally gets fed up with the woman who's been staring at her all night. It turns out to be his ex-wife, who comes along on his dates, and suggests there's a brunette in the bathroom who might suit him better. No wonder we find Goode at home later, washing her mouth out with Listerine, spitting it out at the mirror, and collapsing to sleep on the floor. Everything about this Starz comedy is just right, from the script, to Wentworth and the other actors, to the guest stars. No wonder it's entering its third season in the States. In an era where TV is full of people on couches, it's great to find one that's played for laughs, and worth watching. Head Case airs on Mondays at 21:30 on YES Stars Drama HD