While everyone was distracted by all that plague business this week, Netflix was preparing their ultimate gamble: a sexy murder mystery show about ... Sigmund Freud. There was almost no publicity surrounding the series (unimaginatively titled Freud) that recasts the father of psychoanalysis as a dashing, crime-solving hero, almost as if they were hoping to slip it past us unnoticed. To be fair, that would be appropriately Freudian.
If fast-paced action and slick seduction aren't exactly the images that name conjures, that's normal, but when you think about it, it's not too hard to imagine a detective story starring ol' Siggy. Mindhunter and Psych are things, right? It wouldn't be ridiculous for him to be solving crimes by identifying signs of mommy issues. What is ridiculous is vag-stabbing, which happens in the first 10 minutes.
Instead of anything resembling coherence, Freud's main role in the action is discovering that he possesses some vague superpower that allows him to induce psychic visions via hypnotic touch. (The psychic then solves the crimes, not him. There's also a Hungarian witch. It's just ... a whole thing.) This is shown to be ironic because in his day job, he's struggling to convince his colleagues of the power of hypnosis, to the point of just faking it. It's strangely painful for those of us who have studied psychology, because while Freud was absolutely full of shit, even he abandoned hypnosis when it immediately failed to work for him.
Listen, nobody was expecting Freud, But He Fucks to be historically accurate, but they keep referencing his work in this weird funhouse-mirror way. Another character, a military officer haunted by past misdeeds, experiences glove paralysis. That was a real thing that Freud studied, but he typically attributed it (like most things) to jerking off, not war crimes. What they do get right is the cocaine, as Sexy Freud never goes anywhere without his trusty vial of cocaine mixed with water. The psychic visions also tend to feature a lot of obviously Freudian imagery like canals (get it?) and horses (which is what Victorian girls had instead of vibrators).
Basically, if you quarantine babies start to get bored of your actual fever dreams, give Freud a shot. It will definitely be weirder.