Psychiatry was an early arrival in Spicy World. The first few spanking toons in the genre, in 1954 and 1955, were ‘boss spanks secretary’ scenarios, but the situations diversified as the cartoon digests established themselves, and March 1956 saw the first known spicy psychiatrist in this offering by George Morrice:
‘I never realized that this was all I needed!’
Despite all that specialized medical expertise, it seems the efficacious remedy is actually quite ordinary and everyday. It’s such a beautifully simple piece of wryness that often no caption is deemed necessary: the doctor’s professional qualification on the wall says all that needs saying.
Unusually, you can find the very same joke in non-spicy humor, like this toon by Frank Modell (1917-2016) in The New Yorker:
And in Spicy World, spot the difference:
The girl is younger, more buxom and more exposed, because her physical charms are part of the appeal of the toon, but the set-up is otherwise identical: couch on the left, armchair on the right, and the doctor’s notebook and pen lying abandoned on the floor after he realizes what treatment is required. Did the spicy cartoonist, George Troop, take Modell as his model? Having no publication date for the New Yorker toon, I can’t say; Troop’s is from January 1960.
To reinforce the point about the redundancy of a caption, look at the utterly witless over-elaboration of this late entry from 1973:
But that’s not to say that the words can never have any useful function, even if they don’t serve to add an extra layer of wit or otherwise complicate the joke. Here’s a case in point:
The spanking will only do her almost as much good as a conventional consultation, he says. So it’s an occasional psychiatric procedure rather than a routine one:
Not every patient needs it, and not every analyst will do it, either:
We’ve seen before how spicy toons took care with doctor-patient situations not to imply anything that might be construed as medical misinformation. Likewise with psychiatry: it might not matter all that much if a young woman were discouraged from getting a job as a secretary for fear of being spanked by her boss, but it would be terribly irresponsible for a humorist to put off someone in genuine need of treatment!
And that’s why, when the psychiatric spanking joke is elaborated beyond its most straightforward form, it often moves the procedure into the province of amateurs, who may be reading up on the subject, but find an alternative way of using the textbook,
or who may, like so many of the male denizens of Spicy World, simply have an ulterior motive:
For some recipients, it’s explicitly a misapplication of modern methods,
and for some givers, it’s explicitly an old-fashioned alternative to be used when those modern methods fail:
But here’s a curious phenomenon from 1966, illustrated not so much by the model Loris Bradley as by the digest editor putting words into her mouth:
It seems that sometimes, just sometimes, the desire for a good spanking is the very reason the patient is consulting the analyst to begin with.
An opportunity for the doctor, perhaps?
Or, perhaps, in slightly different circumstances, a risk!