Yes, we admit it: We’re still thinking about Dr. Peep, the fictional (we hope) cosplaying child psychologist hired by the Kleins to probe the recesses of their daughter Amabella’s mind on HBO’s Big Little Lies. We are, in fact, so unashamedly obsessed with Dr. Peep, we reached out to the remarkable, scene-slaying Kerri Kenney (Reno 911!, Santa Clarita Diet, Bob’s Burgers), who plays her — and is a mom herself — get get her take on the wacky character. (Question #1: Is she for real??)
But first, to catch up any Dr. Peep virgins, this is Kerri Kenney in character — the character that made us forget every other BLL plot twist (what adultery? what murder? what rape? what drowning?), in all her Little Bo Peep glory:
Best thing about @HBO @Big_Little_Lies last night was the child psychologist, Dr. Peep, who does costume play in order to get her patients to talk freely. A bit scary , a bit genius! pic.twitter.com/UwJU5Of8Q2
— BrainTrainMe (@BrainTrainM) June 28, 2019
The character is actually billed as “Dr. Belinda Shea” on IMDb. But in the scene, she identifies herself as Dr. Peep — and baby, that’s what we’re sticking with, from here to eternity.
We asked Kerri Kenney the most obvious question of all: What was her first thought upon reading that scene? Kenney replied with a single word: “Hilarious.” She then elaborated: “My second thought: ‘Did they send me the right script?’ It was such a bold, comedic departure from anything I’d seen on the show before. And I was surprised. Very pleasantly surprised.”
We were dying to know what research Kenney did to tackle the part of a costume-donning, house-call-making child psychologist for obscenely wealthy Monterey families. Kenney said she drew from her own (admittedly quite different) past. “When I was 8, my parents brought me to a child therapist to deal with my parents’ divorce,” she said. “The doctor was 350 years old and her name was Dr. Mold.” She quipped, “The second part is true. The first part is close.”
Kenney continued, “For an hour a week, she silently took notes while watching me play with dolls, and then in the end, she’d offer me a stale cookie.” She added, “Also, [research included] 13 years of parenting.” I think we have a new mom crush, people.
Kenney said that, as a mother, she could relate to Renata Klein (played gloriously by Laura Dern, if you’re not watching) and her desperation to do just about anything to help her daughter cope.
“We parents make weird choices sometimes in the name of love for our children,” Kenney said. “Would I hire Dr. Peep to treat my actual, real-life son? No. Did I once tell him that the mayor had just outlawed sugar on Thursdays after 4 p.m. so he’d stop asking for more ice cream? Possibly. Again… we parents do weird things sometimes.” Amen to that.
We also reached out to psychologist Lisa Strohman, PhD., to get her professional take on the (dubious) wisdom of cosplay therapists. Strohman shocked us when she informed us that, in fact, they do exist. Minds blown.
“Cosplay therapists are starting to be a trend in some areas, but the benefits of helping a fraction of your clients and building rapport may go terribly south if you have [another] client that doesn’t get it. Plus, can you imagine the wardrobe changes that it would take?” she said.
Dr. Strohman continued, “I think that there is something to be said with an adolescent population, that you [as a therapist] are willing to put yourself out there… [it] could lead to some benefit talking about confidence and self-esteem in populations that may not fit in all the time.” However, Dr Strohman added, “Having worked with teens for over a decade I just don’t think they could trust me if I was dressed up in cosplay… it is hard to look away when someone has toilet paper stuck to their shoe, let alone a full costume.”
Our takeaway? Let’s keep all the cosplaying Dr. Peeps on TV — and out of real-life counseling situations, maybe? But we’re definitely not going to miss a single episode that Kerri Kenney’s in. We stan Dr. Peep, hard. And we expect she’ll be popping up in about a gazillion Twitter memes.
I am afraid I am turning into Dr peep. pic.twitter.com/v9VTxkhyGe
— HZM (@zhalih_) June 28, 2019