Ever wanted to sit down with some of history’s most fascinating women and just chat about whatever? The British TV show Psychobitches, which just concluded its first season on Sky Arts to popular and critical acclaim, does just that through therapy-session sketches with the likes of Joan of Arc; Eva Braun; Cleopatra; Judy Garland; Mary, Mother of Jesus; and many, many more.
Thanks to a group of British female comics, women’s history comes to life in a hilarious way.
The cast is an embarrassment of riches. Sharon Horgan as Frida Kahlo sports a live monkey and an impressive mustache and fends off any attempts by the psychiatrist to see either as unusual. (“Might your partner have any unspoken feelings about . . . your appearance?” Frida: “Ha! Have you seen him? He makes the monkey look like Clark Gable.”) In a different segment, Horgan is Virginia Woolf, sitting in the waiting room and running an increasingly anxious inner monologue on whether it’s worse being locked out or locked in. Katy Brand is a riotous Mary Shelley with a bit of a husband problem. (“My monster will shit all over his gay little poems!”)
Michelle Gomez is spectacular as the drug-addicted Mary Queen of Scots, who wants her prescriptions refilled without having to retell all her traumas. Julia Davis is the silent-era Mary Pickford, whose men keep tying her to railway tracks, when they’re not falling into manholes and slipping up in patches of oil. Frances Barber is Catherine the Great and then Bette Davis, who gets into a brawl with Mark Gatiss’s Joan Crawford. Kathy Burke as Mona Lisa brings the trademark smile to therapy.
Each episode is created by a team of writers that includes Morwenna Banks (who you’ll remember almost stealing the show from Steve Coogan in his Saxondale), the producer Pippa Brown, Jeremy Dyson, Crockatt and Scott, Ben Cavey, George Jeffrie and the openly gay writer/actors Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen), Simon Carlyle (Terri McIntyre) and Bert Tyler-Moore (Pete Versus Life).
The first series ended in June this year, but the show was renewed for at least another season. Until a DVD is released, we will have to depend on the internet