Ever wonder where characters like Gollum fit in that unused copy of DSM-5 that sits tauntingly on the bookshelf? Well, wonder no more. Produced by Wisecrack, a new web series plunges into the psychology of pop culture figures as a way to illustrate specific behavioral, psychological, and/or neurological issues. Pop Psych’s first episode finds host Tessa Goss drawing a psych profile of everyone’s favorite hairless, albino jewelry aficionado from The Lord Of The Rings. Looking at the way Smeagol/Gollum fixates on his precious, it’s not a far jump to see that the creature suffers from substance induced obsessive compulsive disorder. Goss goes on to explain what OCD is, how it manifests, and how this can be seen in Tolkien’s creation (even before there was an understanding of what OCD really is).
The series is similar to Dr. Andrea Letamendi’s excellent The Arkham Sessions, in which the psychologist and her co-host Brian Ward exclusively look at the psychological make-up of various members of Batman’s rogues gallery as a gateway to better understanding these complicated diagnoses. For those who are interested in psychology and also like familiar touchstones through which to understand them (as familiar as Man-Bat gets, anyway), these two series are excellent resources and a fun way to incorporate learning into one’s pop culture diet. Now all that’s left to do is for someone to recut the As Good As It Gets trailer but with Gollum and the ring in place of Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Get on it, Internet!