Shows for Psychology Lovers

As a psych major I love learning new things about psychology or seeing interpretations of mental illness that aren’t cheesy classroom videos. Mental health tends to be on display in the media, especially TV shows. I’ve put together a list of shows that personally remind me of psychology.

The United States of Tara

Tara has dissociative identity disorder; known in the past as mutli-personality disorder. Tara is a mother of 2 and a wife, which makes her DID complicate her life. I’ve only seen a few episodes but my step sister loved it.

90210

Not all of the show is centered around psychology-based topics, but one of the main characters has bipolar disorder and they show her manic episodes and explain them. The actress who plays Silver, the bipolar girl, is really good at not making bipolar look like something it’s not like other media interpretations. On the other hand you get to see the social psychology amongst teens and young adults such as social comparison, cognitive dissonance, etc. It’s a really good show and I cried when it ended.

Legion

This is a new show and it isn’t mental illness that’s being showcased, but superpowers. David, the main character, reminds me of schizophrenia, PTSD, and DID. In the show he was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child. The Loudermilks are literally joined together, reminding me of DID. Kerry lives inside of Cary, and only ages when she comes out. It’s a totally complicated show (it makes my head spin) based off of Marvel but it has almost nothing to do with the comics.

Gilmore Girls

I’ve seen some of the old episodes, but apparently everyone is raving about how accurately mental illness is depicted in the new episodes. Emily and Lorelei go to therapy and the general disarry of their lives feel relatable to many with mental illnesses. Some even reported in engaging in downwards self comparison to the struggling characters.

Jessica Jones

Our main character of this Marvel show, Jessica Jones, has severe PTSD. The scenes where she has flashbacks are intense. She has life-like, interactive flashbacks triggered by visiting the areas where her and her “ex” (it’s more complicated than that) visited. There are crazy events that take place where she has to face this ex and her PTSD gets in the way.

Orange is the New Black

Lolly has schizophrenia and Crazy Eyes has not been officially diagnosed but a plethora of symptoms have been seen on the show. Lori Petty, who plays Lolly said, “It doesn’t mean you can’t be funny or smart just because you have paranoid schizophrenia.” The actresses and creators of the show are obviously dedicated to making this show be an accurate portrayal of mental illness. I have not watched season 2+, but I may now!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

My best friend EATS. THIS. SHOW. UP. I was reading articles for this show and I think this article on Revelist puts the basis of the show the best, “Her obsession with rekindling their teenage flame is the lens that unveils Rebecca’s spiraling anxiety and depression. “This is what happy feels like,” she often tells herself, though her reality is completely opposed to that mantra. Those decisions — ditching her medication and upending her life to pursue a man who’s already in a relationship — unfurls the ferocity of her mental illness.”

Gossip Girl

First off all Blair had/has a bulimia nervosa and she is definitely narcissistic. Eric van der Woodsen is impatient at a mental health facility because he tried to kill himself in the first season. Some would argue that Chuck and Lily are also narcissists, and I definitely believe that Bart is a sociopath. It’s very easy to see all of the social psychology and psychology of personality in these characters, which I love.

Revenge

Revenge shows the main character’s PTSD through flashbacks and how she plans to avenge her father.

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