‘Shrinking’ Has the Feel-Good Qualities of ‘Ted Lasso’ (No Wonder, It’s Created by Roy Kent)
The Ted Lasso effect is real. When I first heard about Shrinking, a new show dreamed up by Jason Segel (who also stars) and Brett Goldstein (ahem, Roy Kent), I was intrigued.
The cast boasts Segel, Harrison Ford—in fact, this Apple+ series is his first major foray into TV comedy—Jessica Williams and more. It also comes with a similar feel-good-but-it’s-complicated premise: Jimmy (played by Segel) is a therapist grieving the death of his wife and neglecting his teenage daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell), who is pretty much looked after by their next-door neighbor Liz (Christa Miller). Right from the start, it’s clear that Jimmy’s got some growing up to do and he’s going to need to lean on the likes of Paul, the head of the practice where he works (played by Ford), his colleague Gabby (Williams) and Liz.
Under normal circumstances, cue the eye roll at the rinse-repeat—and melodramatic—sound of the plot. But with Goldstein at the helm (who revealed the lessons he learned about plot intentionality from Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis) along with Bill Lawrence (a writer and producer for Ted Lasso), the plot sings. It’s also...funny.
Segel—who is largely known for his comedic performances in films and TV shows like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and How I Met Your Mother—normally gets the credit for that. But in Shrinking, Ford is the scene stealer. He’s the voice of reason, the friend who’s there, but he’s also the guy who keeps his work and personal life separate and delivers line after line about that boundary with his signature wit, grouchiness and charm.
Other stand-outs: Miller as the mom-next-door. She can be harsh and unforgiving, but she is there and you love her for it. Michael Urie is also at his best as Jimmy’s long-neglected best friend. He effortlessly mixes heart and humor while playing pickleball(!) in one of the earlier episodes in a way that harkens back to his Ugly Betty era. It’s nice to see him return to the small screen.
Bottom line, this show had me laughing out loud, but also eager to see how the story unfolds. (Apple+ has dropped just two episodes of the series so far—new episodes are released every Friday.)
PureWow Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I need to see more, but so far Shrinking has captured my attention. Maybe it’s the charming comedy cover on a show that largely deals with grief and getting through it; maybe it’s the cast (cranky or not, Harrison Ford will always be dreamy to me). Either way, I’m sold and, as a Ted Lasso placeholder, it’s just the right fit.
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