Shrinking on Apple TV+

Continuing the discussion from Apple TV+ Recommendations:

Well since @lostcawz brought it up and I was thinking about it too, let’s start a thread.

I’ve only seen the first two episodes, I believe there are four of them released as of today. My wife likes it more than me, enough that we’ll keep watching it but our schedule just hasn’t allowed us to stay current.

I won’t say much because maybe my thoughts will change as I catch up on the existing episodes, but my concern from the first two episodes is how they’ll maintain the balance in a show about “vigilante therapy”. They’re mining the premise of “what if a therapist cut through the bullshit and just said what obviously needs to be said to his patients?” for laughs and sort of encouraging us to root for Jimmy’s (Segel) methods to work. Already in those first two episodes, they’re also already showing some of the dangers of this irresponsible approach, but I wonder if they’ll be able to keep threading that needle. Are we supposed to want Jimmy’s approach to succeed at all? A little bit? Jimmy’s approach with Sean is both breaking through and making connections, but also really irresponsible and putting him and others in danger. I get nervous wondering how the show will handle this.

My other complaint is that I don’t buy Jimmy’s relationship with his daughter Jessica. No spoilers here beyond the premise—Jimmy’s wife died in a car accident and it’s really damaged the relationship with Jimmy and Jessica—but something I can’t articulate about Segel suggests not a father whose relationship with his daughter has been fractured, but an adult who’s never had a child at all trying to relate to a teenager he just met. It actually feels more like another therapist/patient relationship, or maybe a teacher/student, and while parallels to that kind of relationship would be interesting, there’s just no chemistry or sense of history at all that make the father/daughter relationship—even a broken one—feel authentic.

Ive watched all four and think the third and fourth eps are stronger and funnier than the first two. I also think the various relationships including the father/daughter one feel better as the show has gone on. The vigilante therapy device continues as well and I think shows some of the dangers while still being a comedy and getting some laughs. Sort of something a therapist might wish they could do/say sometimes but obviously knows they can’t. I lol’d many times in ep 4 and some of your concerns have a light shown on them, in a good way I think.

Wife and I love this. Maybe me a bit more because I’m such a Scrubs whore and this feels very much Scrubs-y but with mental health focus. Watched the newest ep the other night and it’s still really working. The newest probably didn’t have quite as many LOL moments, but it did have some great ones and the characters are all coming together. Fav new show in a long while.

Ya, missed that there was a thread here…

My first 10 minutes of watching segel almost turned me away. Part of that was i didn’t know what i was watching or what to expect (i was finishing up dinner, wife had found us something to watch - i assumed it was a movie, didn’t ask, and I dont know if she even really knew apart from it was new). And when Ford made an appearance, i honestly thought this was one of those ‘feel good’ movies, and again, i almost petitioned finding something else. But I persisted, and started to be amused.

But it was the second and third episode that cemented it some more. I’m so glad they went into some of the side characters for depth. And for the first time since…damn probably News Radio, i found a work environment where the work was an effective setting rather than the butt of the joke (and wish more comedies would do this). And even Ford is effective in his role (though the writers are really hitting his ‘kid/kiddo’ lines too much, c’mon guys, we get it).

@WhollySchmidt Ya, that’s a good comment on the father/daughter relationship, and I think it’s apt. Still, and again, that’s more depth than comedies typically give their characters, so i’ll give them some leeway there. I think my favorite bits so far (we only gotten to episode three yesterday), was the whole VA sequence with sean/alice/friend, from the “Nope” to alice’s reaction (which was adorably acted), and some of the sequences with jimmy’s best friend.

I’ll also agree that it’ll be challenging to incorporate vigilante therapy into every episode, but i’ll suggest that they might not need to. They’ve already transgressed lines that I really thought they wouldn’t (like Ford identifying and starting to deal with his age), so Jimmy coming to grips with the realities of his therapy approach is something these writers might be able to pull off. And the comedic ground of this nature of work and patients is both very rich and amiable to the quick introduction or removal of topics/characters - so they shouldn’t really need the schtick of the vigilante angle. Really, it’s kinda genius.

I also have pedro pascal to thank for making me think of pasadena as L-ah, and now I kinda love L-ah!

This overlaps with me not buying Jimmy and Alice’s father daughter relationship; I don’t love how everyone is just sort of a peer of everyone else.

Friends and coworkers (and friends that are coworkers) and fathers and daughters and patients and neighbors are all just sort of personalities that they shuffle together from scene to scene—certainly to comedic effect, I do laugh often at this show—but no one seems to actually have a believable role in the world.

I think the Jimmy/Alice thing is still jarring because that’s one where I have the strongest specific sense of what that relationship would look like, and it rings false all on its own. Any other given relationship could be plausible on its own—no reason a coworker couldn’t be a close friend, or a neighbor, or whatever. But when you take them all together, that’s when all these other relationships start to feel artificial and weird. Like really, Gabby and Liz and Brian all on a hike together and everyone’s deep in everyone else’s problems? It’s just weird.

Watched four episodes of this last night. Reminded me of the first episode-and-a-half of Ted Lasso where I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but that feeling hasn’t gone away yet in Shrinking. I feel Shrinking would greatly benefit from a larger cast at either the office or in the neighborhood. The cast of footballers in Ted Lasso brings so much vitality and variety to that show. Brett Goldstein is also a better curmudgeon than Harrison Ford. I think I also am more there for the humor and quick banter in Ted Lasso, more than the feel-good stuff that Shrinking bets hard on. Scrubs was like that for me as well.

Wait, so this isn’t a knockoff of Downsizing?

Still really enjoying this (more so than S3E1 of Ted Lasso). It’s moving along pretty well and the characters are coming more into their own. The caterer investment thing was a little handwavey but fine. Not sure how many more eps there are this season, but I’m going to be looking forward to season 2 whenever season 1 ends.