The Witch on the Mentalist

I was, frankly, speechless.  It was so bad.  So, so, bad.  So bad I’m having to kick Robin Tunney out of The Craft in retrospect.

Edited to add: Wow, there seems to be a ton of people googling this episode.  If y’all are looking for more information on the episode and a more serious discussion about it as it pertains to paganism, check out the discussion at The Wild Hunt.

11 thoughts on “The Witch on the Mentalist

  1. There was some disagreement on this topic on my sofa. One person maintained that it was so, so bad. The other maintained that the character was supposed to be a charismatic self-deluder who had put together a unifying system out of dribs and drabs of this and that and pieces of knowledge picked up any old where, so the bad things were actually appropriate. Based on the show so far, I think the second person is giving the writers too much credit, but it’s a theory.

  2. nm, I have to agree that your second person is giving the writers too much credit. And I have, week after week, given the writers too much credit, thinking that this was a smart show that has just not yet found its footing, but I’m now starting to think that it’s a dumb show that fakes it well.

    The thing is that she kept saying that she was Wiccan. Even fluffy bunny newbie Wiccans know the Wiccan rede and are pretty firm about doing no harm. If she were just an evil witch (or witch who seemed evil) without the whole Wiccan religious stuff–say she were an actual devil worshiping evil-doing witch–that would have been one thing.

    But the central tenant of Wicca is the Rede and, if she weren’t going to abide by the Rede, she wouldn’t have called herself a Wiccan. And anyone who did twenty minutes of research on the internet (or perhaps asked their old pagan co-star [Fairuza Balk]) would have known that.

    Rustmeister, I hear you, but you guys have movies. Yes, on TV, gun owners are pretty much portrayed as slack-jawed yokels and killers, but in the movies? Y’all are the heroes.

  3. It’s not a favorite, but I kind of like the show. THat being said, I acknowledge the flaws.

    Robin Tunney sucks. But I’m surprised you’re considering retroactively kicking her out of “The Craft” for this— This is a Sir Laurence Olivier performance next to her work in that lousy Schwarzenegger flick she was in.

    The biggest flaw is that it’s kind of derivative. Let’s look at the elements: You’ve got a team of people working together to solve a problem, and the team revolves around a socially retarded guy who says and does things no one else would even consider and figures it all out simply because he’s more observant than anyone else.

  4. Oh, come on. If you’re going to call everything that comes after Sherlock Holmes derivative, you pretty much can’t do a mystery series at all, and almost no mystery novel either.

  5. This is the message that I left on CBS. Com. I was very bothered by the episode. I have a good since of humor and so watched the show would be funny and they would explain how everything was a big misunderstanding. I was wrong it was completely insulting and irresponsible.

    What was CBS thinking with this week’s episode of The Mentalist? I really thought that this was a great show and looked forward to watching every week, but this week’s episode has changed that. This weeks episode was ill informed, no I take that back it was just ignorant. It was degrading and insulting to anyone who is pagan. “Wicca is just a silly lifestyle” I believe that’s what one of the shows characters said. Could you be any more insulting? Pagans and those with alternative beliefs fight against reticule everyday and then CBS perpetrates even further ignorance. “Witchcraft malarkey” I believe is another quote from the main character. Everyone involved in this show should be ashamed.

  6. NM, but don’t you think it’s a little too similar to House and CSI and such? I do sometimes.

    Monica, I was expecting that she’d get mocked for having religious beliefs. They’ve already established that they’re willing, at least a little bit, to make fun of religion. But I certainly didn’t expect them to go to such ignorant and insulting lengths. I was really shocked. I mean, it’s just not that hard to find out some general stuff about pagan beliefs–especially Wicca–and come up with something that rings true, even if it pokes fun.

  7. Now, see, I thought the other characters’ reaction to the self-styled witch was pretty realistic. As you say yourself, most people do ridicule alternative beliefs; why should fictional cops be any different? The witch character herself, though, and her purported belief system — ugh! I’m no Wiccan, but even I can tell how off the mark that all was.

  8. Well, I don’t find Jane nearly as unsocialized as House, who is on my list of unbelievable physicians along with the entire cast of Gray’s Anatomy. And I don’t find him as strange as Grissom. In fact, I think the way Jane is actually pretty well socialized and sociable and has an enormous sense of humor about the way he plays people and how they react to him is this show’s individual wrinkle and strong point. My biggest problem with it generally, as I’ve said before, is how stupid they make Lisbon. She’s a head of a unit of criminal investigators, and if I can figure the clues out she certainly ought to be able to. OK, Watson is slower than Holmes, but she ought not to be that slow.

  9. nm,

    I was referring to House actually, since we’re in the TV medium. Of course, that was based on Holmes too, so…

    Of course, I could also be talking about Fringe, where a brilliant but socially retarded scientist happens to be more observant than the rest of his team… Or Eleventh Hour, with a slightly less socially retarded Holmes with his Watson-ish female sidekick…

    This is the greatest problem with Mentalist. Not only is it derivative, but it feels like we watch the same show every night.

  10. I agree. It’s one thing to use the same basic formula. Without that, we’d have few stories, but it does seem like you can watch the same show every night of the week, just with different faces.

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