Shrinks are supposed to possess an uncanny insight into the human mind, but that doesn’t stop them from being trainwrecks themselves much of the time. Perhaps it’s the fact that they supposedly possess this great gift that enables their smugness, or maybe it’s just that Tom Cruise was right and the whole thing is a fallacy.

Either way, shrinks from TV and movies can grate on an audience’s nerves like few other depicted professions. It must be all that talking. Always with the talking.

Dr. Melfi – The Sopranos

While it’s easy to claim that Melfi’s presence, while not exciting, served as a sort of moral compass to a show that lacked one in most every other arena.

That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t make her character suck any less. She played something of a robotic character, serving as a stone cold judging machine while every other character existed as impassioned people striking out to serve their own interests.

Her flat, flirtatious relationship with Tony Soprano was an interesting device, but wasn’t much to watch. She was an alcoholic with an annoying voice, which makes her similar to most every other character on the show, but with much less violence and far fewer malapropisms.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there’s dysentery in the ranks.

Dr. Leo Marvin – What About Bob?

Dr. Marvin? Dr. Leo Marvin?

The sensational author of the life-changing book Baby Steps makes Frasier Crane look like a fun, vibrant individual. He named his kids Siggy and Anna in a nod to Sigmund Freud, and that’s not even the most obnoxious thing he does.

His dumb bucket hat, sandals and socks, and the vacation house at Lake Winnepisaukee are all strikes against him, but the real tipping point is when he tried to tie Bob to a tree and blow him up with dynamite. That’s just terrible behavior.

He’s a sourpuss surrounded by a lovable family, and he doesn’t manage to appreciate the walking wonder that is Bob. It’s hard to tell where the smugness of Richard Dreyfuss stops and the smugness of the character starts, but I guess that’s just the result of good casting.

Frasier – Cheers/Frasier

How very droll, Dr. Crane.

Frasier is perhaps the least masculine man this side of professional ice skating. I’m guessing that because his brother is the same way, it’s genetic, but we’re not here to look at reasons why these shrinks suck so much, but just whether or not they do.

And he does. His world revolves around Alaskan salmon, free trade espresso, and wine vintages, so it’s not like he’s a grounded guy. He’s not malicious by any stretch, but he’s so prissy it’s almost hard to think he’s of this world.

All his enjoyment seems to exist in a smug, smug place that revolves around smirks far more than laughter. And he hangs out with women named “Roz” and “Daphne,” which leads me to believe that he might be a character in Scooby-Doo.

Finally, he sings his own theme song, and it’s terrible. TERRIBLE.

“Dr.” Tobias Funke – Arrested Development

Tobias Funke is so terrible that he goes all the way around to being awesome again. He was one of the most respected shrinks in the Boston area until he decided to move to California to try his hand at acting. Unfortunately, he moved to Newport Beach, which is not all that close to Hollywood.

Also, Dr. Funke is perhaps the biggest moron ever to grace a television screen. He cannot please his wife, on account of the fact that he’s a raging homosexual, he can’t accept a hair transplant, and most of his acting credits are along the lines of “Frightened Inmate #2,” a role for which he constantly recited the line, “I ain’t going to squeal, man.”

Basically, all the reasons that Tobias Funke is terrible have almost nothing to do with the fact that he’s a psychiatrist. In fact, he seemed to be a pretty esteemed one. But he wasn’t nearly as hilarious as when he was a struggling (read: failing) actor.

Sean Maguire – Good Will Hunting

We get it, Sean. You’re damaged. You’re soft-spoken until you are pushed too far. You can bench press more than Matt Damon can. And, like Matt Damon, you are a little overqualified for your station in life.

He’s a great shrink, it would seem, but he’s a little Robin Williams-y, which is to be expected when you’re a character played by Robin Williams. Granted, he doesn’t break into any stupid voices like “gay man,” or “black man,” but he’s so soft-spoken that it makes you think he’s going to kidnap you in his basement.

I never thought I would say this, but maybe Robin Williams could have played him with more gusto.

Wow. That sounds weird.