Jason Segel’s character in Apple TV+ ‘s new dramedy, Shrinking, breaks every therapist rule within the first episode. But apparently, it’s OK!, because he’s funny and it seems to work out every time.
The series, which began streaming today and which hails from Segel as well as Ted Lasso’s Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, covers similar themes as the soccer comedy. But Shrinking views grief and other issues through the lens of a therapist who can’t help himself.
In a moment, we’ll ask you what you thought of the premiere. But first, a quick recap of “Coin Flip.”
In the beginning of the episode, we see our main character, Segel’s Jimmy, interrupted by his concerned neighbor Liz (Cougar Town’s Christa Miller), during a late-night backyard pool party filled with drugs, alcohol and the company of two young women. Reluctantly Jimmy shuts the “party” down just as the sun is rising, then heads inside to see his teenage daughter Alice (Generation’s Lukita Maxwell), straightening up a disheveled kitchen. The disconnect between father and daughter is clear in their short and awkward conversation.
When a sweaty and hungover Jimmy later arrives at work, we get a montage of his seemingly shallow and predictable clients. Eventually, a fed-up Jimmy decides to give his client Grace (Saturday Night Live’s Heidi Gardner) an ultimatum: Either she leaves her “emotionally abusive” husband or she quits coming to Jimmy for therapy. Grace is taken aback by this and simply states “OK” before walking out of the door with no further explanation.
After the unexpected outburst during Grace’s session, Jimmy joins his co-workers Gabby (Love Life’s Jessica Williams) and Paul (Star Wars’ Harrison Ford) in the breakroom and rants about his patients. Later that day, Gabby asks him to see her last patient as a favor. Grudgingly, Jimmy agrees to give up his planned bubble bath and viewing of Home Alone (for the first time, he admits, which just doesn’t seem possible) to take on Army vet Sean (CSI: Vegas’ Luke Tennie.) During Sean session, Jimmy visibly yawns, which angers Sean enough that he leaves.
GOOD TIMES | The next scene starts with Jimmy reliving a memory with his wife Tia, whom we find out later has died. After Liz warns him that he needs to get himself together and repair his relationship with Alice, Jimmy makes her breakfast. She opts for overnight oats, eyeing him warily, but at least he tried, right?
Jimmy’s first session of the day is with Sean, who returned despite telling his parents that Jimmy “sucked balls.” (Got to love his honesty.) Jimmy promises Sean that he is “good at this,” ironically as his phone rings and he picks it up mid-session. It’s Grace, who left her husband like Jimmy demanded. He hangs up excited to tell Sean that he “helped the sh*t out of her,” but Sean doesn’t seem impressed.
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT | Next, Jimmy has the “brilliant” idea to take Sean to a gym to spar for a bit, with hopes that the exercise will release his pent-up anger. Although Sean’s bruises look horrible after, it appears he enjoyed himself. The two have a heartwarming moment after, but then it’s is interrupted by Jimmy rushing to leave after spotting his “best friend,” Brian (Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie). (Why didn’t he want to be seen? We don’t find out in this episode.)
Later, after we learn that Jimmy’s wife died in a car crash, we watch him once again trying to make up his recent shortcomings to Alice. She appears grateful for a second, but then admits his efforts are not enough to make up for his horrible behavior after the death of her mother. “You’ve been walking around for so long like it only happened to you, but it happened to us. It happened to me, and I’ve been dealing with it on my own because I had to,” Alice says. (Ouch.)
A WIN IS A WIN | When Sean later practices patience instead of pounding a guy who runs into him on the street, he calls Jimmy, who comes running. They celebrate this victory by deciding to go to Alice’s soccer game. Racing across town to make it in time, they encounter lots of obstacles (fences, hills, traffic, oh my).
Just as they arrive, Grace’s upset husband approaches Jimmy and punches him in the face. Sean, in turn, defends his shrink by beating the crap out of the guy while everyone watches; police wind up taking him away in handcuffs. Jimmy ends up with an icepack, a bloody nose and a thank-you from Alice for showing up.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the premiere? Do you like Segel in this role? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!