‘Shrinking’ is too cute on its own, but Harrison Ford saves the day

‘Shrinking’ is too cute on its own, but Harrison Ford saves the day

“Ted Lasso” teammates Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein join Jason Segel in an Apple TV+ situational comedy about a therapist-turned-villain.

Jimmy Laird, a wealthy therapist who works at a pristine clinic somewhere in Pasadena, is frustrated. His patients complain about his spouse, friends and talkative baristas. But to everything he hears, they don’t react in the same way: Jimmy’s mentor, Paul Rhodes (Harrison Ford), to the fury of his younger colleague Empathize and summarize what he is going through in his two simple words. All therapists are exhausted by stagnant cases and should do their best not to “judge”.

Jimmy doesn’t listen, just as the patient pisses him off. Instead, he becomes what Paul calls a “psychological vigilante” and begins bullying patients. He brushes past boundaries, threatens, and usually seeks to facilitate their breakthroughs with his own breakthroughs. Jimmy’s cheating technique is the essential half of “Shrinking,” his new Apple TV+ comedy from co-creators Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein (both of “Ted Lasso” fame). , this series does a great job of setting the stakes for such an endeavor. : I understand the urge to take a hasty approach to therapy while outlining why Jimmy’s assertiveness defies the tenets of modern psychology. It turns out that there are risks in taking away the autonomy of people, not just patients.

But the “shrinkage” is overturned by the other half – the frivolous half. Half a 2000s sitcom. The half that wraps bad behavior in a warm, fuzzy blanket and keeps you looking cozy and nice. Apple’s fanatical successor to “Ted Lasso” hooks up the same brand of quirky kindness that outshines dark reality.Instead of football coaches applying him believe In the new sports system, grieving therapists map their problems onto patients in pain. As a casual play, the relentless charm of 30 minutes of comedy hums aggressively. The episodes are well-constructed, the production oozes with a homey yet expensive style, and the indie-his-rock soundtrack inspires melancholy and joy in equal measure. The more specific I think about “shrinking” and Jimmy, the more infuriating it becomes.

But hey, who can criticize a man whose wife just died? That heavy backstory underpins Jimmy’s bad choices early on after her death sends him into a year-long spiral. Supplement for: “Mid Air” by Paul Buchanan Introducing the memory of a deceased loved one is first-class emotional manipulation and is retroactively considered illegal for all movies and TV shows released after “About Time.” When you’re at rock bottom and ready to embrace the light, the show begins.

Doing so means engaging with characters that never feel like real humans. Overridden, over-acting neighbors and friends who are always kind, always love each other, and always (ultimately) do the right thing. There’s Liz (Christa Miller), a retired friend of the family who lives next door. She loves gossip and hates people (or at least pretending to be her). She bakes bread all the time, except when she’s polishing rocks. She is casually mean to her husband, but in a “funny” way, always by his side, which has become her signature personality: her first foil, Gabby (Jessica Williams) ) soon becomes her best friend (of course). Gaby is one of her three therapists at Paul’s clinic and a close friend of Jimmy’s late wife, Tia. But despite her close bond (and Williams’ charming performance), she’s rarely been more than a utility her player.

There’s also Brian, a real estate attorney and Jimmy’s best friend. Michael Urie tries to cheer past the “gay best friend” stereotype. , an underutilized source of real struggle). These sweet people are very spot on – as long as you can put up with their contagious goodness – but they always overdo things with one line, one laugh, one gesture. The “shrinking” strain of heartwarming humor is so intense that it drives some into cardiac arrest, yet its success ultimately comes down to its two leads, Jimmy and Paul. Both are therapists. Both have struggled to connect with their daughter. Both are having trouble connecting to each other (or at least pretending to be). Given the father-son dynamic, some biographical overlap is forgivable, but it’s hard to excuse the shortcomings of one when it’s seen diametrically opposed to the strengths of the other.

Jimmy may be exhausted by his patients, but spending time with Jimmy himself will tire the fitness guru at Adderall. ” and not wearing pants – it’s often difficult to separate an actor from his role, but ”Shrinking” can send both of them over the edge. Despite receiving it, Jimmy often confuses his feelings with the patient’s needs. A lot of it is done for humor (which works!), but a lot of it is also unreasonable. (Maybe you don’t ask veterans to reveal their repressed war traumas because you had a bad day?) While it’s all well and good to understand that therapists are human too. , no one should be in a session with this. Man — nor are there many obvious benefits to getting to know him at home. of Close friend.) By the end of the season, we get to see how some false traits fall into his whimsical state, but more permanent aspects of his personality emerge. (Some people may have a higher tolerance for the dude-baby dad type.)

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford in Shrinking

Courtesy of Apple

and Siegel. It was easy to invest in an actor’s whims after a breakup (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is still a gem), but buying Siegel for the role is hard. He’s too nervous to abandon his daughter Alice (Lucita Maxwell) for a year. “Shrinking” smartly tries to jump over this picture of Jimmy by starting when he’s on the upside, but Siegel still has to sell it. Chick. Away from his professional crusade and sent into full sitcom mode, Jimmy can be funny. There’s a scene, but it’s a laugh-inducing one.) And yet, even so, his grief proves more frustrating than loving.

Jimmy clearly isn’t the same winning lead as Ted, but you know who doesn’t need shades and a Southern twang to embody our new TV hero? Harrison Ford. Paul is witty, open-minded, and has just the right amount of energy (compared to his over-extended acquaintances). Although he was going to follow Jimmy’s sweet shot coldly, Paul ended up balancing out the whole show. Find out why for one-on-one scenes with Ford and nearly every cast member as you make plans, give Alice some secret advice like grandpa, or run into her. Liz at a restaurant. Even if Ford doesn’t act like everyone’s dad, he juxtaposes his own gravity to create big moments, like when Paul sings Sugar his Ray, or cracks an indifferent exterior to make tender scenes resonate. make it possible. (We all cry when Ford cries.)

Without Ford, “Shrinking” might have been excruciating, but with him, I could happily revisit episodes just to enjoy the actor’s spark. I may be the only one who suffers from empathy fatigue when it comes to sensitive types. , I wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe drop the cuteness down a few notches. Otherwise, any judgment is fair game.

Grade: B-

“Shrinking” premieres in two episodes on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 27. New episodes are released every week.

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