6 reasons ‘Monk’ is more than just a comedy series

By: H&I Staff    Posted: October 5, 2018, 3:52PM

Monk is the story of a quirky detective who solves crimes despite his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In fact, it is the attention to detail that comes along with his disorder that allows him to be such a good investigator. The series has won eight Emmys, two SAG Awards, and a Golden Globe - but wait, there's more!


Tony Shalhoub felt the original script was too light-hearted.

Originally written for Michael Richards (Seinfeld’s Kramer), Tony had a more serious idea of how OCD should be depicted. Shalhoub insisted writers do a better job of portraying the struggles and suffering that OCD can bring. 

Image: Sony Pictures Television


Mental health professionals are on board.

Variety reported executive director Patricia Perkins of the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation said, “It’s very funny. I have OCD, and that’s my sense of humor.” Perkins said when she surveyed others with the disorder that “some quibbled, but overall, they were thinking, ‘He’s such an adorable character.’” And she noted his OCD was “integral to him being a great detective.”

Image: Everett Collection


It provided comfort.

Monk fan, Emily Standley, who lives with OCD, felt less alone and found a way to connect with her mom about her disorder through watching the show. She says, “while having a TV character to relate to did not even come close to curing my symptoms, it provided some hope and relief to see a character with my illness portrayed in a positive light.” The show went beyond the stereotypes. “There were unique elements about Monk that moved the portrayal of OCD beyond simply having a tidy house and being afraid of germs. And I believe part of this is due to Tony Shalhoub’s careful and thoughtful approach to his character,” Standley said. 

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution


The show raised awareness.

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America “has always supported and appreciated the efforts of the producers of Monk, because they have increased awareness of obsessive-compulsive disorder,” ADAA prexy-CEO Jerilyn Ross said. 

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution


They went beyond the small screen.

Tony Shalhoub and Monk co-creator David Hoberman teamed up with The Anxiety Disorders Association of America to launch an OCD awareness campaign called “Treat It, Don’t Repeat It: Break Free From OCD.” The national campaign uses public service announcements and educational videos and materials aimed at health care professionals, people with OCD, and their families to educate, provide support and encourage treatment.

Image: Anxiety and Depression Association of America


They won awards.

David Hoberman won a Voice Award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration for his and the show’s efforts. Hoberman, who has dealt with his own OCD and phobias, also serves on the board of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.