Being a psychiatrist means being able to help people cope with life’s seemingly endless crises. However, the new comedy series THE CLINIC shows how one such therapist hysterically manages to create problems of his own. Having premiered its first season of 6 episodes Sunday, January 15th on its official YouTube page (see link below), THE CLINIC stars Jared Scheinberg (who also created the series) as the perpetually immature former child star-turned shrink, Jack Jackson.
Even though he’s now assumed a grown-up career, Jack goes out of his way to make life miserable for his wife Lucy (played by Jared’s real life spouse Christina Scheinberg), and his boss/clinic owner, Dr. Fred Milford (Dave Sweeney). Jack’s more restrained co-workers, Counselor Abby (Sarah Ecton-Luttrell) and Counselor Leroy (Godfrey Taylor, Jr.), also struggle to keep their wits about them as they witness their fellow therapist’s obnoxious behavior. Can they save Jack, the clinic, and themselves, from Jack?
Himself a professional therapist, Scheinberg is obviously nothing like the absurd character he portrays in THE CLINIC. As he began learning about the responsibilities and requirements that come with that occupation, Scheinberg also found out what happens when interactions with people go hopelessly awry.
Looking back on those moments, the series’ star/creator found the perfect starting point for THE CLINIC’s main concept.
“Being a social worker myself, I came up with the idea earlier on in my career when I experienced awkward situations while learning what not to do as a therapist in training,” he recalls. “It wasn’t until a couple of years ago though that I found the right voice and tone for the writing of the show, and we started filming with an incredible cast and crew. Expected to only be a TV sitcom pilot to pitch, we had such a great time filming, (so) we decided to develop it into a web series.”
While there have been other web series that spoof the field of professional psychiatry, plus those often-dreaded yet highly revealing chats on the therapist’s couch (see KIRBY IN THERAPY, BILL THE THERAPIST, FRIENDS IN THERAPY, and the upcoming WORKING ON IT, among others), THE CLINIC significantly differs from those shows in many ways. “I think what helps set the show apart from other web series is its premise, and that we tried to make each episode complete a full story arc, which isn’t always the case in web series,” adds Scheinberg.
With his ensemble of actors brought together through popular casting sites Mandy.com and NYCastings.com, Scheinberg produced THE CLINIC’s three part pilot in 2015. Yet, the process of completing its first season was only beginning. “We started filming almost two years ago, and we filmed mostly on Long Island,” he says. “While working on editing the pilot episode, I started to write additional episodes for a couple of months before filming resumed and ended this past fall.”
An avid fan of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (ADAPTATION, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) and actor/writer Christopher Guest (THIS IS SPINAL TAP, BEST IN SHOW, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN), Scheinberg says that THE CLINIC’s humor will equally win over comedy consumers and psychiatric practitioners.
“Besides hopefully anyone working in the mental health field, I think people who are fans of SCRUBS, FAMILY GUY and THE OFFICE would enjoy watching THE CLINIC, (which are) all shows that I would compare to this web series.”
In a world where there’s plenty to be anxious about, THE CLINIC shows viewers that the act of laughter itself can go a long way towards helping people deal with life’s challenges. “I hope that people find THE CLINIC funny, and (that) it helps people unwind after a stressful day. The idea of THE CLINIC is to show how humor can help heal, and how it doesn’t matter what title we give ourselves,” Scheinberg says of his series. “Whether (we’re) teachers or students, therapists or clients, we can all help each other grow as individuals.”
NOTE: Regarding closed-captioning of the series, Scheinberg says: “THE CLINIC will be closed-captioned in the near future.”