Part of the team that created the popular comedy-drama-sports series “Ted Lasso” joined forces with the famous American actor Jason Segel and released a comedy-drama series that I found quite irritating for the same reasons as the series about an American who ended up as a coach English football club. “Shrinking” is an equally sweet series, a lemonade based on the tradition of American sit-coms from the eighties and nineties, of course with a modern touch, which tries to be cynical and ironic, but from the beginning it is so forced, filled with all possible clichés and somewhat childish.
And while, for example, Ricky Gervais filmed a brilliant, at the same time incredibly cynical and dark, but also feel-good warm series “After Life” on the topic of the struggle with pain after the death of a loved one, this is the complete opposite. The main character of this series, psychotherapist Jimmy Laird (Segel) also simply cannot come to terms with the death of his wife and cannot move on with his life. A year has passed since his wife died in a car accident, and he is still a complete wreck. He completely abandoned his relationship with his teenage daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell), and when he begins to break professional and ethical barriers with his patients and tell them what he really thinks and what he thinks they should do, there will be big changes not only in their lives, but also with himself.
And although Segel is the perfect choice for the role of a good-natured scumbag who obviously does everything he does wrong, very quickly everything started to fall apart for me from this excessive moralizing and turned into bland pathos. Unlike Gervais’s Tony Johnson, Segel’s Jimmy is not spiteful and cynical, but he tries to be good to everyone. Almost like Ted Lass, he is one of those ultimate good guys who, because of his goodness, often suffers and suffers, and in fact he is a character that is hard not to love, but because of the constant moralizing and some forced, completely forced positivism, this series annoyed me quite a bit.
And almost all the characters here are very similar in character to Jimmy. So is his boss Paul (Harrison Ford seems to be having a good time playing a grumpy old man in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease) and his colleague Gaby (Jessica Williams) also act as people whose job it is to give others advice on life while theirs is chaotic and seem to make one wrong decision after another. There’s also Jimmy’s neighbor Liz (Christa Miller), who basically took care of his daughter while he went down a path of self-destruction and self-pity, whose husband is the same guy who played the neighbor in “Married Waters.”
What would the series be without a gay friend, so Jimmy’s best friend is lawyer Brian (Michael Urie), one of those clichéd and feminized homosexuals from American TV series of the nineties such as “Will and Grace”. Everything here screams of clichés, sweetness, spilling wisdom and that irritating patronizing, so that even the occasional humorous moments are lost. Just like “Ted Lasso”, “Shrinking” is a series that appeals to the audience’s taste and tries to provoke an emotional reaction in the viewer according to some calculated formula, and such a somewhat calculated and actually insincere approach has always gotten on my nerves.