It’s time to make an appointment with “Shrinking”

Zoe Leone, Associate Arts & Life Editor

For many people, their therapist is their closest confidant. Whether dealing with the good, the bad or the ugly, they’re at the ready to help you deal with your wildest emotions. But what do you do if your therapist is just as unstable as you are?

“Shrinking,” an Apple TV+ original, follows Jimmy (Jason Segel), a grief-stricken man who doubles as both a therapist and a recently widowed father of a teenage girl. As he spirals through poor personal and parental choices, Jimmy receives a brutal wake-up call in the form of his nosy neighbor, eccentric co-workers and a patient who reminds him just how precious humanity can be.

As he starts to rebuild his relationships with his daughter, co-workers and friends, Jimmy starts taking a radically new approach with his patients: complete and unfiltered honesty. While some of his new advice is relatively harmless, his candor leads him into fist-fights, bailing patients out of jail and a possible murder case that will likely unfold in the next season.

Although the storylines can be chaotic, “Shrinking” finds its heart in the relationships between the characters as they grow through some of life’s hardest experiences. One of the particular highlights is between Jimmy and his daughter, Alice (Lukita Maxwell). Their reconnection blossoms as Jimmy puts aside his own grief and relearns how to become a dad again. While they don’t grow in parallel lines, the comfort they rediscover in each other brings a fierce love to the show.

Even though the characters span from 17 years old to their 60s, there’s something about all of them that feel inherently familiar and relatable. Whether it’s crying along to Phoebe Bridgers, accidentally taking too many edibles, eavesdropping on your neighbors or feeling like the future you had planned for yourself has gotten completely derailed, the quirks that make up each of the characters’ personalities have a little something to resonate with anyone.

“Shrinking” was originally the brain-child of two talented creatives that met through one of TV’s best shows: “Ted Lasso.” Bill Lawrence co-created the soccer hit with Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly, while Brett Goldstein initially joined the show as a writer before later taking on the role of the beloved Roy Kent. 

The pair were both independently working on their own projects centered on grief, before ultimately deciding to “smush them together,” Lawrence said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Once the show’s idea was fleshed out, Segel was brought on as both the star and a fellow co-creator. 

One of the creators’ biggest behind-the-camera obstacles turned out to be one of their biggest on-camera strengths: the casting of legendary actor Harrison Ford as the gruff, yet lovable Dr. Paul Rhodes. Rhodes is a veteran therapist who does an efficient job at helping everyone else around him, even as his own life starts to go off the rails. While he manages to offer advice to Jimmy, Alice and the rest of the characters, he grapples with a recent Parkinson’s diagnosis and patching the relationship between him and his estranged daughter, Meg (Lily Rabe). 

Ford’s comedic talent stands out as the series progresses, but instead of overwhelming the rest of the cast, he fits seamlessly in. While the show may feature a mix of actors, they only serve to make each other’s performances stronger. The main ensemble of Segel, Ford, Maxwell, Jessica Williams, Luke Tennie, Christa Miller and Ted McGinley effortlessly come together to form the perfectly imperfect found family that lives at the heart of so many great sitcoms.

While drastically different in terms of storyline, the infectious joy that rocketed “Ted Lasso” to stardom serves to help “Shrinking” shine just as bright. So while the soccer show that could may be wrapping this season, this therapized comedy is only just getting started.