Shrinking’ review: Jason Segel is the ultimate sad therapist
For Jason Segal, the whole process of creating a show from scratch is like a “rafting trip.” You draw a map, plan the weather, and get your gear from REI, but nothing can really prepare you for what lies ahead.
“That moment happens, where you step into the river and you realize the river is responsible. That’s how doing a show,” he said of his latest series “Shrinking” in an interview. with the Deseret News.
Two of the show’s co-creators, Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence, worked closely together on “Ted Lasso,” a two-season hit that also won a handful of Emmys and a Golden Globe. Segel joined them as a writer, crafting relatable comedy that’s not afraid to tackle mental health.
The 10-episode series isn’t like her other, happier work, like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” He plays a widowed therapist, putting his sad eyes to good use while starring alongside “Indiana Jones” actor Harrison Ford, a solemn shrink.
The first three episodes debuted on Apple TV+ on January 27 and follow Jimmy (Segel), who has lost his wife and is trying to cope while being a father, friend and therapist. He decides to try a new approach – ignoring his training and ethics – by being brutally honest.
An opening montage in Episode 1 reveals a group of Jimmy’s patients. Grace, who is one of them, is sitting on the couch talking about her boyfriend when Jimmy, still drunk and disheveled from last night, takes a break.
“We’ve been doing this for two years, two years of your life,” he exclaims, standing up.
“And you keep telling me how awesome it is.” Well, I saw it. He’s not that great. His muscles are too big, his shirts are too tight – nobody likes that, it’s disgusting,” he says.
The blonde woman is especially surprised when Jimmy tells her that his partner is emotionally abusive and that she should leave him or he will drop her as a therapist. But alas, the therapy is more complicated, and the creators of the series have understood this well.
Jason Segel and Luke Tennie in “Shrinking”.
“It’s usually not one and done. And it’s a process and even with his radical new method of therapy…he’s not saying it’s a solution,” Segel explained. Truth, however, can give way to real work.
Jimmy replaces the typical procedure – “How does that make you feel?” – by becoming personal. Consider how he helps Sean (Luke Tennie), a former soldier, by taking him to an MMA fight room to help him deal with his anger issues.
The first four episodes, which were available for review, build a sense of trust between the two, but it’s unclear at this time if this plays out in therapy.
Embark Harrison Ford
Creators Segel, Goldstein and Lawrence didn’t think the veteran actor would play Paul, the serious but secretly loving therapist.
“You’re offering Harrison Ford something, knowing he’s going to say no,” Segel said, noting that it was still bragging-worthy.
“But then he said yes. It’s like you invited the prettiest girl in school to the ball. And somehow she said yes,” he said. “And then you’re like, freaked out. ‘What am I going to wear? Where do I take them to dinner? Oh, no, I can’t even really dance.
Harrison Ford in “Shrinking”.
Meanwhile, Goldstein, who wrote and starred in “Ted Lasso,” told The Hollywood Reporter that the cast and crew kept asking how they ended up at Ford.
The moment the star arrived on set, he tried “to break down any feelings of dread that might be in the room and treat everyone as equals,” Segel said.
The “Star Wars” alum anchors Segel’s erraticism and stoically provides a voice of reason, easily becoming my favorite on the show. When Jimmy tells Paul about his new approach to therapy, the principled shrink, who is in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, quickly shuts him down.
“Good idea. We’re just robbing them of their autonomy to help themselves, right?” he says in Episode 1. “So what do we become? Psychological vigilantes? Count on Ford to relax in his role as chief of staff.
‘Shrinking’ is darker than ‘Ted Lasso’
Paul is Jimmy’s anchor and Alice, his daughter played by Lukita Maxwell, is his whole heart. While coping with grief, Jimmy abandons his responsibilities as a father, overwhelming the teenager, who gives him an aspirin the morning after his party night and walks to school on his own.
Stepping into Jimmy’s shoes was “a really special journey” for Segel, teaching him the character’s struggles with being a good father. Meanwhile, Christa Miller plays Liz, who is like a mother to Alice, a dynamic that works well on screen.
“She’s a master of comedy and she’s been doing it for a long time,” Segel said of working with her and sharing a vocabulary for humor.
“Cougar Town” fans will see the actress play a nosy neighbor again, but with a more dramatic twist as Jimmy and Liz negotiate who should take care of the troubled teenager.
The moving scenes fit perfectly into the “dark space of grief, loss and trauma” in which Jimmy’s character exists, Goldstein told Deseret News ahead of the show’s release. The tone deviates from the open and loving story of Ted Lasso, an American football coach teaching football in the UK.
“’Shrinking’ is kind of a much more intimate show. It takes place in this small community of neighbors, co-workers and family…just three or four blocks away. And that’s it,” Goldstein said. The most striking difference is that Jimmy “starts in a place of self-destruction”. And it looks like the 43-year-old is the perfect guy to play the role.
Jason Segel: the quintessential sad therapist
For the comedic actor, Jimmy was in his comfort zone, which made it easy for him to put the “dead woman’s face to rest,” as he puts it on the show.
“I’ve always had a lot of issues with anxiety and depression and have asked for help when I needed it, and that’s why I’m still here,” Segel said.
Jason Segel in “Shrinking”.
“I’m sad most of the time,” he joked. “I have never taken life lightly. It worked very well for me because it made me want to write and it made me want to express things. I have a feeling that I am not the only one in this case.
He got his big break in 1999 when he was cast in Judd Apatow’s much-loved series “Freaks and Geeks,” and found more fame through “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Muppets,” which he also wrote.
“So when I write something, I really write from a place that starts with this belief that we’re all probably struggling to understand what the point of all this is,” he said. smiling. “And maybe there’s fun in discovering it together.”
The show is rated TV-MA for some sexual references, violence and gore, multiple uses of profanity, and some crude humor.