Jason Segel’s character in Apple TV+’s new dramedy Shrinking breaks every therapist’s rule from the very first episode. But apparently it’s OK! because he’s funny and it seems to work every time.
The series, which began streaming today and is co-authored by Segel and Ted Lasso’s Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, covers similar themes to the football comedy. But Shrinking sees grief and other issues through the lens of a therapist who can’t help themselves.
We’re about to ask you what you think of the premiere. But first, a quick summary of Coin Flip.
At the beginning of the episode, we see our main character, Segel’s Jimmy, interrupted by his worried neighbor Liz (Christa Miller of Cougar Town) during a late-night backyard pool party filled with drugs, alcohol, and the company of two young women. Jimmy reluctantly ends the “party” just as the sun is rising, then goes in to watch his teenage daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell of Generation) clean up a messy kitchen. The separation between father and daughter becomes clear in their brief and awkward conversation.
When a sweaty and hungover Jimmy later arrives at work, we get a montage of his seemingly shallow and predictable clients. Finally, Jimmy, fed up with giving his client Grace (Saturday Night Live’s Heidi Gardner) an ultimatum: either she leaves her “emotionally abusive” husband or she stops coming to Jimmy for therapy. Grace is surprised by this and simply says “OK” before walking out the door without further explanation.
After the unexpected outburst during Grace’s session, Jimmy joins his colleagues Gabby (Love Life’s Jessica Williams) and Paul (Star Wars’ Harrison Ford) in the break room and rants about his patients. Later that day, Gabby asks him to see her last patient as a favor. Reluctantly, Jimmy agrees to give up his planned bubble bath and home alone viewing (for the first time, he admits what just doesn’t seem possible) to do during Shawn’s with Army Veteran Shawn (CSI: Vegas’ Luke Tennie) to record session, Jimmy visibly yawns which upsets Shawn enough that he leaves.
GOOD TIMES | The next scene begins with Jimmy reliving a memory with his wife Tia, who we later learn has died. After Liz warns him that he needs to pull himself together and fix his relationship with Alice, Jimmy makes her breakfast. She decides on overnight oats and eyes him suspiciously, but at least he tried, didn’t he?
Jimmy’s first session of the day is with Sean, who returned despite telling his parents that Jimmy “sucked crap.” (I gotta love his honesty.) Jimmy promises Sean he’s “good at it,” ironically, when his phone rings and he picks it up mid-session. It’s Grace who left her husband as Jimmy demanded. He excitedly hangs up to tell Sean that he “got her out of this shit,” but Sean doesn’t seem impressed.
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT | Next, Jimmy has the “brilliant” idea of taking Sean to a gym for a bit of exercise, hoping the exercise will release his pent-up anger. Although Sean’s bruises look awful afterwards, he seems to be enjoying himself. The two have a heartwarming moment afterwards, but then it’s interrupted by Jimmy, who rushes to leave after spotting his “best friend” Brian (Michael Urie from Ugly Betty). (Why didn’t he want to be seen? We won’t find out in this episode.)
Later, after learning that Jimmy’s wife died in a car accident, we watch him try again to make up for his recent shortcomings with Alice. She appears grateful for a second, but then admits his efforts aren’t enough to make up for his horrific behavior after her mother’s death. “You walked around like it happened only to you for so long, but it happened to us. It happened to me, and I took care of it myself because I had to,” says Alice. (Ouch.)
A WIN IS A WIN | Later, when Sean tries to be patient instead of hitting a guy he meets on the street, he calls Jimmy, who runs over. They celebrate this victory by deciding to go to Alice’s soccer game. As they race through the city to make it in time, they encounter many obstacles (fences, hills, traffic, oh my).
Just as they arrive, Grace’s disgruntled husband Jimmy approaches and punches him in the face. For his part, Sean defends his shrink by beating up the guy while everyone watches; The police finally lead him away in handcuffs. Jimmy ends up with an ice pack, a bloody nose, and a thank you from Alice for showing up.
Now it is your turn. How did you like the premiere? Do you like Segel in this role? Rate it via the poll below, then post your thoughts in the comments!