TV: Shrinking (Season 1)

By no means an endorsement of therapy, Shrinking is nonetheless light, breezy fun that adds more value to Apple’s increasingly impressive lineup. This comedy revolves around a Pasadena behavioral therapy practice, where spiraling hot mess of a therapist Jimmy Laird (Jason Segel) is still grieving his wife’s death. A year after the tragedy, Jimmy is still checked out on booze, women, and drugs, much to the consternation of his neglected daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell), upbeat colleague Gaby (Jessica Williams), and crabby mentor Paul (Harrison Ford). Jimmy has devoted his life to helping others, even if he can’t help himself, but things finally change when, fed up with his own wheel-spinning ruts as well as his patients’, he shakes up his methods both at work and in his personal life.

Shrinking isn’t terribly deep or innovative, but it’s a decent vehicle for Segel’s peculiar charms and even more so for the great supporting cast that surrounds him. Ford’s cynical, cranky sarcasm and Williams’ spirited energy are great foils for Segel’s goofy hangdog antics, creating a great dynamic in the office—not that I would recommend anyone getting therapy from them. Around this trio, an unlikely but personable supporting cast blooms, headlined by Christa Miller’s nosy next-door neighbor Liz and Jimmy’s frenetic best friend Brian (Michael Urie). But there’s fine comic timing and team chemistry from the whole ensemble, including Maxwell, Heidi Gardner, Wendie Malick, Ted McGinley, Lily Rabe, and Luke Tennie. It’s definitely more interested in generating dramatic tension than making it believable, and the season’s final moment is a jarring tonal shift, but I’m happy to continue with this one so long as it serves as a vehicle for this agreeable, talented cast.

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