I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Phil

January 4, 2020
Posted by Jay Livingston

I’ve had that title in my head for years now, but I’ve never written the blog post that goes with it. That’s partly because I don’t think that many people know this nursery rhyme.

I do not like thee Dr. Fell
The reason why I cannot tell.
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

Exactly right. I do not like Dr. Phil, yet I would be hard pressed to articulate the reason why. In order to do so, I’d have to watch a lot of his TV segments, and since I don’t like him, I’d find that unpleasant, so I don’t. Which is the other reason I never wrote that post.

But now we have this photo of the dining room in Dr. Phil’s house.

(Click for a larger view.)

Would you refer a friend to a therapist whose dining room featured cartoonish animal statuary and a wall display of a dozen military-style guns? It’s not a decision you’ll have to make. Dr. Phil has not been licensed to practice since the earlier part of this century.

Also, there are some minor factual quibbles, which William Hughes at AVClub (here) raises and dismisses.

McGraw does not currently live in the California estate, which is now owned by the family trust and occupied at present by McGraw’s son. And there’s no evidence that he had any impact on its decoration, beyond, presumably, footing at least some of the cash for its eclectic collection of guns, “FUCK” paintings, and big giant lips. And yet, we have to assume that McGraw has at least stood in this building in its current state, muttering approvingly of the dining room gun wall, the gaudy Star Wars art, and, in what has quickly become our favorite touch, the legion of small Lego-ish bears scattered around the home, including two who are dressed up like Batman and the Joker, because hey, fuck it, that’s fun.

The larger point is first that sometimes your initial impression of a person, immediate and without rational thought, is right; and second, that you may have to wait a long time — until you see their dining room decor — to know that you were right.