Shrinking Season 1 Review – a life-affirming comedy series from the Ted Lasso gang

By Adam Lock
Published: January 23, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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Shrinking is wholesome, heart-warming, and hilarious. The show tackles tough topics with respect and just the right amount of sarcasm. It’s a life-affirming comedy series that will uplift and motivate, while Harrison Ford is on another level here, alongside an exceptional cast.

We review the Apple TV+ series Shrinking Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

We’ve all seen the same old, cliched therapy session scenes found in countless films and TV episodes a hundred times before. You know the one, where a patient rambles on about their day and then the therapist asks how each individual scenario made the patient feel.

It’s stale and overdone, but for those who haven’t been in therapy sessions themselves, it is our only understanding of that world. Netflix’s documentary Stutz (directed and starring Jonah Hill) gave viewers a completely different glimpse into that world, one that was inspirational and raw.

Apple Original Shrinking endeavors to emulate that 2022 movie, taking that same out-of-the-box thinking and then just running with it, as a depressed therapist looks to revolutionize the medium in a controversial way.

Shrinking Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The therapist in question is Jimmy Laird, played by co-creator Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother). A grieving father who is in a self-destructive, downward spiral, after his wife dies. He decides to channel his grief into a new, more productive outlet, choosing to completely reinvent his therapy practices. Jimmy starts to tell his patients what he truly thinks, whilst taking on a more personal approach, although he becomes a little too involved in their lives it would seem. This blurring of his own professional and personal life (kind of like the complete opposite of Severance) leads to many monumental changes, some of which are good and as you’d predict, plenty are bad.

Along for the ride are Jimmy’s friends, family members, and co-workers, in an exceptional cast, we are really spoiled here. You have Jimmy’s fellow therapists: Paul (Harrison Ford) and Gaby (Jessica Williams), who are both struggling with their own personal issues themselves. Then at home, Jimmy’s daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell) has become rather distant due to the bereavement, and nosy neighbor Liz (Scrubs star Christa Miller) has decided to fill in on mothering duties after Alice’s mother died. The cast concludes with Jimmy’s number one patient, Sean (Luke Tennie), and best friend Brian (Michael Urie from Ugly Betty fame).

As the series progresses, we get a chance to explore each character’s own personal demons and intricate flaws. But the main plotting focuses on Jimmy’s grieving process and his outlandish tactics at work. These self-destructive tendencies lead to much drama and all the many characters and subplots intertwine in a satisfying manner. Of course, Jimmy’s strategies work on the odd occasion, but also fails dramatically as well, leading to much hilarity.

Is Shrinking season 1 good?

Shrinking is an absolute joy to behold, a life-affirming slice of TV that scores big in both the wholesome and hilarious sub-categories. This is what you’d expect from co-creators Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso) and Bill Lawrence (Ted Lasso and Scrubs). This isn’t their first rodeo after all, and the whole creative team work their magic to create a heart-warming and comedic offering, one that addresses the many intricacies of life in general. The whole cast of characters are messed up in their own unique ways, especially the therapists, and this theme is explored with sarcasm and heart.

The writing is top-notch, but it is the characters that really grip you. The casting is perfect, these are actors and individuals that you are rooting for from the off. People that you want to spend time with as they meander through their eventful lives. You know you are in safe hands with Jason Segel, whilst Harrison Ford just knocks it out of the park. The Hollywood veteran is on another level here, truly in a class of his own. He plays a well-meaning, wise therapist with apparent ease, yet he brings vulnerability and relatability to the role as well. The other cast members all get their chance to shine, but Ford sticks out above the rest, providing my favorite character in the series.

You know you are on to a winner with such a great cast in front of the cameras and a stellar team behind the scenes too. Whilst the concept is cleverly crafted to heighten the two main areas of this series. The exploration of grief and self-improvement tick the emotional aspect of the show, whilst the depiction of therapy and the wacky scenarios Jimmy ends up in provide the humor. It’s a winning combination that works perfectly within this Apple TV+ series. What more could you ask for?

What did you think of  Shrinking Season 1? Comment below.

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