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TV’s Most Memorable Shrinks

Besides the fact that they’re both set in New York and air on Monday nights, there aren’t many similarities between Gossip Girl and Bored to Death. So we were surprised and amused to see that recent weeks have seen each show shake things up with the same type of new character —  a shrink. While Chuck tries to seduce (and then get some real help from) the pretty therapist on Gossip Girl, Sarah Silverman guests on Bored to Death as a woman whose idea of mental health care involves demanding foot rubs from patients. This serendipitous convergence of Brooklyn and the Upper East Side got us thinking about some TV’s most memorable administrators of the talking cure, both real and fictional. Our top 10 are after the jump; add your picks in the comments.

Frasier Crane, Cheers and Frasier

Frasier Crane — who, between Cheers and Frasier, was on TV for two entire decades — is the prototypical TV psychiatrist. An erudite and pretentious soul, Frasier was a child prodigy, theater geek, and frequent target for bullies. Sadly, although he goes on to attend Harvard, the bad luck continues into adulthood. By the end of his tenure in Boston, he’s split from his second wife (Bebe Neuwirth’s also-memorable Lilith), tries to kill himself, and loses custody of his son. Frasier finds him relocated to Seattle, where he reconnects with his father and brother, and his deep, soothing voice makes him perfect for the job of radio shrink. Things are generally much less depressing from there on in; his biggest concerns on Cheers‘ genteel spin-off are his strange occupation, declassé dad, apparently cursed love life, and various upper-crust social events in which Frasier would like to be included.

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