Title: Shrinking (Season #1)
Released: 2023

Fix: grief, therapy, single dads, sarcastic teens, wacky neighbors, found family, Jason Segel, Harrison Ford, that Ted Lasso feeling
Platforms: Apple TV

Apple TV Summary: 

Jimmy is struggling to grieve the loss of his wife while being a dad, friend, and therapist. He decides to try a new approach with everyone in his path: unfiltered, brutal honesty. Can he help himself by helping others? Will it bring him back into the light?

FYA Summary:

Jimmy has been an absolute trainwreck since his wife died. It’s amazing he’s kept his therapist job because he barely drags his drunk and/or high ass into the office. And he’s definitely not managing to show up as a friend or a father, but luckily his next-door neighbor is feeding his teenage daughter and making sure someone is at her soccer games. One day while counseling a patient, Jimmy decides to give them the tough love advice he really should be giving himself. But seeing his patients follow through and actually make changes in their lives starts to inspire Jimmy to begin living again himself. 

However, Jimmy’s new methods aren’t exactly conducive to healthy doctor/patient boundaries and cause friction between him and his colleagues, and issues for his long-suffering daughter, Alice. But because this is from Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein (two of the writers and producers behind Ted Lasso, one of the greatest shows ever), it’s an endearing story that manages to be equal parts funny and touching, with stellar relationship-building. 

Familiar Faces: 

L-R: Luke Tennie as Sean and Jason Segel as Jimmy

Initially, Jimmy struggles to get new client, Sean, to open up. Sean is a young veteran with PTSD and anger issues, but once Jimmy introduces him to a safer way to let out his aggression, they begin to bond. Jason Segel is perhaps best known for his work on Freaks and Geeks or How I Met Your Mother, but I loved him best in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Three words: Dracula puppet musical. He gets to use some of that same physical comedy here, while also struggling to make similar human connections. Luke Tennie has only been acting for about six years, and this may be his first big break, considering the cast. As Sean, he is so lovably vulnerable, you just want to give him a hug, or an ice cream cone, or a couch to sleep on. But he also gets the distinct pleasure of calling Jimmy on his bullshit.

L-R: Harrison Ford as Paul and Lukita Maxwell as Alice

Harrison Ford is on our TVs in TWO SHOWS right now. What a time to be alive. He brings that signature Ford grumpiness to this role, while also being wise and extremely funny. Paul has the sweetest relationship with Jimmy’s daughter Alice. He strikes a unique balance between therapist and surrogate grandpa, while obviously doing a little making up for the years he wasn’t around for his own daughter (played by recurring guest star, Lily Rabe).

Alice is one of the more accurate portrayals of a teenager I’ve seen in a while. She wears everything from your early aughts closet and is frequently distrustful and sneaky, passive-aggressive, and a sad kid who misses her mom and is angry at her dad. But she gets to share snacks with Harrison Ford, so it’s not all bad.

L-R: Jessica Williams as Gaby and Krista Miller as Liz

Hi, it’s my favorite characters on the show. We’ve seen Krista play a similar character before, on Scrubs and Cougar Town, but she manages to make bossy and bitchy funnier than anyone else on television. But as Liz, she gets to be a little more nurturing as the neighbor who helps look after Alice, and also, a recent empty-nester who finds herself at loose ends. She and Gaby were both friends of Jimmy’s wife, Tia, and Gaby is also a partner in the therapy practice with Jimmy and Paul. She is reliably hilarious and a massive scene-stealer. I first noticed her in Booksmart, but she’s also been in Love Life and one of those Fantastic Beasts movies.

Not pictured but equally great: Michael Urie as Brian, Jimmy’s longtime best friend and everyone’s lawyer. Does everyone on this show actually need a lawyer? Probably, yes. Urie is so funny and adorable and just an effervescent presence. 

Couch-Sharing Capability: Big Sectional Sofa

The relationships are so great that it almost feels wholesome enough to call it a family show, but that really depends on how comfortable your family is with drug and sex jokes. I’m a pretty lax parent of a 16-year-old, so this is one we all enjoy. Han Solo’s got jokes. Who can keep that from their kid? Don’t like people seeing your cry-face? Then you may be better off enjoying this one on your own with a box of kleenex.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Hydroflask

Booze is absolutely not necessary here, and if you’re shocked to hear me say that, you won’t be once you see the cautionary tale of a grieving widower trying to go to work still drunk from the night before. Gaby would urge us to stay hydrated, preferably with a laughably giant water bottle. However, the case for edibles can also be made here.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Cheaper Than Therapy

Given the creative team, it should come as no surprise that I love Shrinking the same way I love Ted Lasso. It feels like a warm hug. And I don’t know about you, but watching great characters build something together is my favorite kind of TV. I won’t deny that I am cynical enough to be surprised that they just may have captured lightning in a bottle twice. 

And I hear you right now. You really just don’t want to add another streaming service. I GET IT. There are so many now, it’s maddening. But you’re not gonna get this kind of bang for your buck anywhere else. Since Shrinking is a 30-minute show with ten episodes, it can be binged in a day, thus providing a perfect day of self-care. And a month of Apple TV costs way less than a copay. Throw in Ted Lasso (if you haven’t already), Mythic Quest, and that Lee Pace sci-fi thing, and then come back and tell me if I was wrong. 

Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.