October 23, 2017

Author: Dr. Craig Pohlman

‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Has Lapped ‘The Walking Dead’

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • October 23, 2017
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There, I said it. With three seasons under its belt, Fear the Walking Dead has become an exceptional show.   Meanwhile, The Walking Dead has floundered. Just as few movie sequels improve upon their predecessors, few TV spinoffs are even comparable to the original programs that spawned them (like Frasier, The Jeffersons, Star Trek:  The […]

AMC’s ‘Preacher’: A Psychologist Analyzes the Villain

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • September 13, 2017
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Psychology of Preacher’s Killer Villain Combine Buffy the Vampire Slayer with any Quentin Tarantino movie and you’d get AMC’s Preacher. The show is absolutely bonkers. Its motley crew of characters includes angels, demons, gangsters, assassins, vampires (and vampire slayers), religious fanatics, and Adolf Hitler. Like Tarantino’s stuff, it’s whacked-out funny, punctuated by shocking bursts of […]

A Psychologist’s Perspective on The Bachelorette Finale

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • August 9, 2017
  • 0
Bachelorette Breakdown: The Season Wrap-Up By: Dr. Craig Pohlman and Dr. Melissa Miller This season of The Bachelorette is over and Rachel Lindsay seems to have found love?  She seemed to have more affection with Eric and judging from their teary goodbye it appeared that she wanted Peter.  Instead, she ended up with Bryan (and […]

Home Sweet Hometowns: The Bachelorette Breakdown Week 7

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • July 18, 2017
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This week’s episode of The Bachelorette took us along as Rachel traversed the country (Baltimore to Miami to Madison to Aspen) on hometown dates with her Final Four.  She has a good group, devoid of any villains.  This season, Melissa Miller and I have been providing show analysis (be sure to listen to our discussion of […]

Spider-Man: Homecoming — Hero or Zero?

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • July 14, 2017
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How Heroic is Spider-Man? A Psychologist’s Answer I’ve always found Spider-Man’s name confusing.  Since the main idea is that he’s a teenage superhero, why isn’t he Spider-Boy?  After all, Clark Kent went by Superboy when he was in Smallville.  Admittedly, more accurate options for Spidey would be clunky:  Spider-Adolescent, Spider-Youth, Spider-Teen.  The only way I […]

Blew My Mind Podcast: Best of Bachelor/Bachelorette

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • July 5, 2017
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Season 13 of The Bachelorette featuring Rachel Lindsay has provided pure entertainment, drama, and intrigue. Being in the middle of the season has us reminiscing over our favorite moments from past Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons. Listen in as Shrink Tank contributors and co-authors of the Bachelorette Breakdown series, Dr. Craig Pohlman and Dr. Melissa Miller as […]

Which Beatles Album Is Your Favorite? (POLL)

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 29, 2017
  • 0
Battle of the Best Beatles Album Fifty years ago this month, June 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  This Beatles Album was a seminal piece of art for the 60’s, ushered in the Summer of Love, and influenced countless musicians in the decades since.  Many fans and critics still consider it […]

Bachelorette Breakdown: Week 5

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 28, 2017
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Week 5 of The Bachelorette Just over the horizon, Rachel Lindsay can now see the finish line of her season and, of course, the Final Rose.  Each week she has steadily and assuredly narrowed the field of suitors, and this week was no exception.  This week’s two episode line-up took us from Hilton Head to Norway […]

How Heroic is Wonder Woman? A Psychologist’s Answer

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 12, 2017
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I really wanted Wonder Woman to be good.  I partly felt like DC deserved a winner after a rough stretch of late (see Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman).  But mostly I wanted this character to be done right, especially in our current cultural and political climate. Wonder Woman was good.  Really, really good.  It […]

Which Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Song is your favorite? (POLL)

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 2, 2017
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Fifty years ago today in the U.S., on June 2, 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  It remains a shining achievement and many fans and critics still consider it the best album in history. The Fab Four continued the experimentation they had started with Rubber Soul and Revolver, including the adoption […]

Bachelorette Rundown, Week 2

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • May 31, 2017
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Rachel Lindsay soon will come to be known as the greatest Bachelorette EVER.  There you have it, my bold prediction.  She became a fan favorite a few months ago when she almost made it to the finish line with Bachelor Nick Viall.  Now she is in the driver’s seat.  She’s already made history as the […]

Disintegrating Truth and Disintermediation: Truth in the Age of Trump

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • May 23, 2017
  • 3
Donald Trump, as both a candidate and now as president, has played so fast and loose with the facts that it has called into question how we as a culture think about important issues of truth. This article is one of a four-part series that explores the aspects of Truth in the Age of Trump. […]

Blew My Mind Podcast: Four Word Movie Lines

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • May 16, 2017
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Many of the best movie lines ever are oh so short!  In this episode, host Craig Pohlman and guests Dave Verhaagen and Rachel Kitson discuss mind-blowing, 4-word lines from some great movies:  This Is Spinal Tap, There Will Be Blood, and The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King.  Blew My Mind is […]

Blew My Mind Podcast: Three Word Movie Lines

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • May 4, 2017
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It’s been said that when it comes to writing, “Brevity wins.”  If that’s true, then we’re all about WINNING!  In this episode, host Craig Pohlman and guests Dave Verhaagen and Rachel Kitson discuss mind-blowing, 3-word lines from some great movies:  Forrest Gump, The Big Lebowski, and Marathon Man.  Blew My Mind is where Shrink Tank contributors discuss their personal experiences […]

Logan’s Laura vs. Stranger Thing’s Eleven: Psychological Comparison

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • March 14, 2017
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My oldest son, Josh, recently binge-watched the first season of Stranger Things.  After seeing one of the ubiquitous trailers for Logan, he remarked that the Laura character reminded him of Eleven (who topped my list of 2016’s best heroes).  I thought that was a pretty astute comparison, so much so that I had to get […]

La La Land and (500) Days of Summer: Separated at Birth

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • February 28, 2017
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So what if La La Land didn’t actually win Best Picture?  I was only about 30 seconds in when it became one of my favorite movies ever (that song-and-dance tracking shot in a freeway traffic jam?!  BRILLIANT!).  It didn’t take much longer for it to remind me of one of my other favorite movies, (500) […]

How Heroic is the Lego Batman? A Psychologist’s Answer

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • February 17, 2017
  • 1
Like a large segment of the global population, I enjoyed The Lego Batman Movie.  Although it is unmistakably a spin-off of The Lego Movie, I was surprised by how much of a Batman film it was.  Case in point- Lego Batman dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) stemming from the murder of his parents.  This […]

The Walking Dead Mid-Season Premiere (POLL)

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • February 13, 2017
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Season 7 of The Walking Dead has resumed and, unlike previous seasons, a lot of viewers just don’t care that much.  After a compelling back half of Season 6, the dramatic introduction of Negan in the Season 6 finale, and an emotionally wrenching Season 7 premiere, this show has been in a major slump.  The […]

Steve Bannon and Nefarious Advisors from Movies

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • February 9, 2017
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In 2016 Donald Trump raised eyebrows and blood pressures when he named Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, as the CEO of his Presidential campaign.  Now Bannon is President Trump’s Chief Strategist.  Breitbart is, according to Bannon, “the platform for the alt-right,” and concerns are mounting over what kind of influence Bannon exerts in […]

This Psychologist Prescribes Eggnog

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • December 24, 2016
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Every year when the holidays roll around I am perplexed by a question:  Why isn’t everyone drinking eggnog, in large quantities?  For the uninitiated (and apparently there are a lot of you out there), eggnog is a rich and sweet beverage made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and a smattering of other ingredients like […]

Heroes and Villains: Best of 2016

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • December 22, 2016
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Looking across the pop culture landscape, several noteworthy heroes and villains took center stage in 2016.  Below are my 10 picks for each, listed in no particular order (and for comparison, here were my 2015 picks).  Last year I started writing about my Heroism Quotient (HQ) and Villainy Quotient (VQ).  I regularly rate pop culture […]

Blew My Mind: TV Series Premieres

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • November 18, 2016
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Strange Psychology: Profiling the MCU’s Newest Hero

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • November 14, 2016
  • 1
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has added another superhero- Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme.  Somehow this movie comes off entertaining and fresh despite retreading elements such as the Himalayan trek origin story of Batman Begins, the reality-warping sequences of Inception, and the smug protagonist of Ironman.  Which brings me to Stephen Strange.  He goes through the […]

Heroes and Villains: Negan from The Walking Dead

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • October 22, 2016
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My wife, Jen, and I have been devoted fans of The Walking Dead since it debuted back in 2010. Not wanting any spoilers, we have avoided the comic book series on which it’s based. So neither of us knew much about Negan, the big bad who made his first appearance in this season’s finale. Characters […]

A Psychological Look at Nick from Fear the Walking Dead

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • October 19, 2016
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Fear the Walking Dead hit its stride down the stretch of its sophomore season.  A big reason any television series clicks is having compelling characters.  Fear now has several, and my favorite is Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), a junkie turned zombie apocalypse survivor extraordinaire.  In addition to his battles with inner demons and frayed family […]

Aliens: 30 Reasons to Watch 30 Years Later

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • August 19, 2016
  • 0
Aliens was released in the summer of 1986. Unlike so many movies in the sci-fi, action, and horror genres, this one stands the test of time really well. Why? Let me count 30 reasons (with input from fellow Shrink Tank contributors): James Cameron’s pitch-perfect direction that balances action, tension, drama, and a dash of humor Excruciatingly […]

The 30th Anniversary of Aliens

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • August 10, 2016
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This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Aliens, one of the best sci-fi horror movies ever made. It solidified Sigourney Weaver’s A-list status and made James Cameron a brand-name director. It also freaked out audiences around the world. I was there in a theater with my friends, cheering on the Colonial Marines […]

A Psychologist’s Take on the Awesomeness of Sharknado

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • August 1, 2016
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A good friend of mine once told me, “Sometimes a bad movie is good for the soul.” Well, my soul is just a little better off after watching Sharknado 4:  The 4th Awakens. This SyFy original movie boasted everything from a pirate ship sailing down the Las Vegas strip to a cameo by Carrot Top […]

The Psychology of Dory: One Heroic Fish

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 28, 2016
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There are three kinds of people in the world right now: Those who have seen Finding Dory Those who are about to see Finding Dory Those who have never heard of Finding Dory or its predecessor, Finding Nemo (and it’s my understanding that those belonging to this third category are confined to the darkest recesses of […]

Strength from Weakness: The Psychology of Superheroes

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 21, 2016
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What makes a superhero . . . super?  The obvious answer is a super power: strength, indestructibility, mental telepathy, shape shifting, underwater breathing, speed, flight, energy manipulation, etc.  But superheroes share other qualities.  They serve a higher calling to help those in need.  Most have alter egos– some way to conceal their super identities.  Many […]

Heroes and Villains: Shere Khan from The Jungle Book

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • April 20, 2016
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The Jungle Book reboot is a total winner for several reasons. It nostalgically retains elements from the original animated feature (“The . . . bear necessities!”), while also taking the concept in new directions. The animals are stunningly rendered with CGI. It’s exciting, funny, sad at times, and suspenseful at others. And the cast is […]

Why Guys Watch The Bachelor

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • March 11, 2016
  • 0
Here are my “guy” credentials. My favorite movies include Die Hard, Old School, and Pulp Fiction. I drink bourbon. I’ve used a chainsaw. The Rolling Stones are my jam. I know how to tie a necktie. So I think I am on firm ground when I say that I am a guy. I am also […]

Lucifer Morningstar from “Lucifer”: Hero or Villain?

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • February 2, 2016
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The premise of the new show Lucifer is that the devil has grown bored in hell so he takes up residence in Los Angeles and becomes a nightclub owner. Played by Tom Ellis, Lucifer Morningstar is equal parts smarmy and smug. He has the ability to get humans to confess their deepest, darkest desires, which […]

Heroes and Villains: Best of 2015

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • December 2, 2015
  • 0
Earlier this year I started writing about my Heroism Quotient (HQ) and Villainy Quotient (VQ). I rate pop culture heroes and villains along several factors, yielding an HQ or VQ (the higher the score, the more heroic the hero or dastardly the villain). Looking across the pop culture landscape, there were several noteworthy heroes and […]

Jane Doe from “Blindspot”: A Hero/Villain Breakdown

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • September 24, 2015
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Blindspot premiered this week on NBC. It’s an ambitious thriller with a premise that’s a cross between The Bourne Identity and Alias. A woman whose declarative memory has been wiped pharmaceutically emerges from a duffel bag in Times Square. If that isn’t strange enough, her procedural memory for things like hand-to-hand combat suggests black ops […]

Heroes and Villains: Eph Goodweather from “The Strain”

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • September 2, 2015
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As a fan of the vampire genre, I’ve gravitated to The Strain, now in its second season on FX. It’s a summer indulgence, and it helps fill a void while The Walking Dead is on hiatus. Last summer’s first season was a bit uneven, but the series has begun to pick up steam (the civil […]

Heroes and Villains: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • July 24, 2015
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Fortunately our family trip to the beach occurred last week, before the premiere of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (otherwise, there would have been a lot more sand castle-building and a lot less boogie boarding). This SyFy original upped the ante with sharks raining down on Washington, DC, including the President (Mark Cuban, of course) and the […]

Heroes and Villains: Jurassic World’s Iniquitous Indominus Rex

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • July 2, 2015
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With global box office returns over a billion dollars (and counting), it’s a Jurassic World– and we just live in it. Though certainly no threat to win a Best Picture Oscar, it’s fine summer fun with adventure, thrills, humor, a dash of romance, and a really nasty villain to stir the pot. Forget the mad […]

Heroes and Villains: How Do They Stack Up?

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • June 2, 2015
  • 0
Humans love stories.  Young children want to be told stories and to be read to.  Kids and adults alike soak up yarns in various forms- books, television, movies.  Videogames offer interactive narratives.  Reality shows (er, “unscripted dramas”), sports, and even politics weave tales that people yearn to follow.  And characters are integral to stories – […]

Sentimentality Is “Justified”

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • April 22, 2015
  • 0
Justified just finished its run on FX in drop-the-microphone fashion. If the finale is still in your DVR or Netflix queue, I’ll be careful to avoid spoilers here. I should mention, though, that apparently U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens was actually a figment of Ron Weasley’s imagination (but I could have part of that wrong). Elmore […]

Sam Smith or Tom Petty: Who Will “Stay” and Who Will “Back Down”

  • by Dr. Craig Pohlman
  • March 31, 2015
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In the lead up to the 2015 Grammys it was publicized that Sam Smith had settled a rights dispute involving his breakout hit “Stay with Me” and the Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Petty and his team asserted that the hook of “Stay with Me” (which actually won two Grammys) was so similar to “I […]