Dr. Joyce Brothers, the first television psychologist, died today, May 13, 2013. For decades she gave advice all over the TV airwaves, on her own program and others. She also appeared often as herself in guest roles on TV series.
According to CNN, “America saw her often on television, not only giving advice but making fun of herself. On one episode of the ABC smash hit ‘Happy Days,’ she counseled Fonzie’s dog, Spunky. She made a vocal appearance on the animated series ‘The Simpsons’ in the memorable ‘Last Exit to Springfield’ episode. On an episode of ‘Frasier,’ a show about one of TV’s famous fictional psychologists, she took Frasier Crane’s place in a commercial about nuts. Brothers also appeared on shows like ‘The Love Boat’ playing a character, often a doctor.”
In another pop culture reference, Dr. Brothers was the subject of one of my favorite commentaries by Saturday Night Live correspondent “Roseanne Roseannadanna” (Gilda Radner). As you may recall, Roseanne’s shtick was that she would respond to a letter from “Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey,” and then would go off on a tangent about an alleged encounter with a celebrity, always focusing on some small, gross detail. In this case, she told about how she found herself sitting next to Dr. Joyce Brothers in the sauna at a health club. The psychologist was oblivious to the fact that she had a drop of sweat on the tip of her nose that wouldn’t fall off, even when she shook her head to and fro. So Roseanne yelled, “Hey! Doctor! Flick that sweat ball off your nose! What are you trying to do? Make me sick?”
Roseanne then closed the segment by singing a little Thanksgiving song inspired by the incident:
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing
Please look down upon the Roseannadanna household
Bring peace to our fathers, good health to our mothers
And please don’t make me sweat like Dr. Joyce Brothers
Watch it here:
“Roseanne Roseannadanna” tells of her sweaty encounter with Dr. Joyce Brothers in a sauna on Saturday Night Live (Nov. 18, 1978)
Or if you don’t have time to watch, here’s a transcript.
- Dr. Joyce Brothers dies (cnn.com)