|Created by||Bill Lawrence &|
Jason Segel &
|Theme music composer||Benjamin Gibbard and Tom Howe|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Running time||29–37 minutes|
|Original network||Apple TV+|
|Original release||January 27, 2023 –|
Shrinking is an American comedy-drama television series created by Bill Lawrence, Jason Segel and Brett Goldstein. The series stars Segel as a grieving therapist who decides to become drastically more involved in the lives of his patients. Harrison Ford, Jessica Williams, Christa Miller, Michael Urie, Luke Tennie and Lukita Maxwell also star.
The series premiered on January 27, 2023, on Apple TV+. It has received positive reviews, with praise for its performances, writing, humor, and examination of grief. It was renewed for a second season in March 2023.
A therapist, Jimmy Laird, dealing with severe grief, begins to breach ethical barriers by telling his patients what he really thinks, resulting in massive changes to his and their lives.
It was announced in October 2021 that Apple TV+ had ordered a ten-episode season for the series, which would star Jason Segel, who co-created alongside Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence.
In April 2022, Harrison Ford, Jessica Williams, Christa Miller, Michael Urie, Luke Tennie, and Lukita Maxwell joined the cast, with James Ponsoldt joining the production as a director and executive producer. As revealed in a 2023 interview with James Hibberd of The Hollywood Reporter, Ford took up the offer to play Dr. Paul Rhoades despite mentioning years ago in 2002 that he works only once a year, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and his commitments to the titular role of the long-delayed Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny as one of the reasons he had done not much work as he wished and wanted to try on new things. Similarly to his role in 1923, Ford accepted the role despite there not being a script at the time, trusting that Segel, Goldstein, Lawrence and Brian Gallivan would deliver him a good script.
Production began in April 2022. The series was released on January 27, 2023, with the first two episodes premiering together and the rest releasing on a weekly basis. It has a total of ten episodes in the first season.
The series theme song "Frightening Fishes" was written by Ben Gibbard and Tom Howe.
In March 2023, Apple TV+ renewed the series for a second season.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date ||Prod.|
|1||"Coin Flip"||James Ponsoldt||Bill Lawrence & Jason Segel & Brett Goldstein||January 27, 2023||T12.17451|
|Jimmy Laird, a therapist grieving the death of his wife Tia from a car accident, grows weary of his patients' inability to solve their own problems, and begins intervening in their lives to help them expedite the change they desire. He convinces one client, Grace, to leave her abusive husband, and enrolls Sean, a veteran prone to violent outbursts, in mixed martial arts training. Jimmy's approach initially seems successful, but he keeps it secret from his fellow therapists Gaby and Paul, aware of the ethical violations. Jimmy, whose relationship with his daughter Alice has strained since her mother's death, goes with Sean to her soccer game, but Grace's ex Donny finds him there and assaults him, and Sean beats Donny in retaliation. Alice thanks Jimmy for coming to her game; Jimmy admits his struggle to be more present in her life owes to how much she reminds him of Tia.|
|2||"Fortress of Solitude"||Ry Russo-Young||Brett Goldstein||January 27, 2023||T12.17452|
|Jimmy bails out Sean from the police station, and gets his best friend Brian, an estate lawyer, to successfully defend Sean from a lawsuit launched by Donny. Brian invites Jimmy to play pickleball; Jimmy declines, leading Brian to barge into one his sessions and berate him for his yearlong absence as a friend. Paul, meanwhile, encourages Alice to reciprocate Jimmy's desire to be a better parent, but she inadvertently reveals the fight at her game to him. A furious Paul confronts Jimmy over his lapse in ethics. Gaby, meanwhile, asks Jimmy's neighbor Liz – who has largely been raising Alice since Tia's death – to step back in her caretaking, offending her. Jimmy, unaware that Alice has brought dinner home to have with him, visits Brian for pickleball, and the two reconcile. Alice opts to have food with Paul at his house.|
|3||"Fifteen Minutes"||Ry Russo-Young||Brian Gallivan||February 3, 2023||T12.17453|
|Jimmy allows Sean to stay with him and Alice, since Sean's parents kicked him out of his house after his fight with Donny. Gaby reveals to Jimmy that she is divorcing her husband Nico, and admits to missing her close friendship with Tia. Alice and Sean become closer; Liz, feeling suspicious, tells Paul, who thereby learns about Sean living in Jimmy's house. He chastises Jimmy for moving a patient into his home and cuts off contact with him, even though Jimmy is grateful to Paul for helping Alice through her grief. While on a walk, Jimmy spots Grace with Donny, realizing she got back together with him.|
|4||"Potatoes"||James Ponsoldt||Rachna Fruchbom||February 10, 2023||T12.17454|
|Jimmy struggles to get Sean to open up about his postwar PTSD. Brian is revealed to have been overseeing Paul's estate; Paul confides that he has not told his daughter Meg about his Parkinson's disease. Meg visits Paul, where Paul once again neglects to mention his illness. Alice and Gaby tell Jimmy that Alice lost her virginity to Liz's son Connor. Jimmy, overwhelmed, lashes out at Liz for overly involving herself in his daughter's life; he also angers Sean when he tries forcing him to tell him about his PTSD. Jimmy later reconciles with Connor, who has come to visit, and enjoys drinks with Gaby and Liz before also reconciling with Sean. That night, he overhears Alice admit her feelings for Sean.|
|5||"Woof"||James Ponsoldt||Bill Posley||February 17, 2023||T12.17455|
|Jimmy and Paul continue not to speak to one another. Jimmy encourages Sean to get over his resentment for his father, but Sean is shaken when his father gives him a war medallion and praises him as a hero. He and Alice go for a walk; Alice becomes concerned for Sean when he recklessly climbs a water tower. Brian tells Jimmy and Gaby he wants to propose to his boyfriend Charlie; they dismiss it, as Brian has brought up the idea several times without committing to it, and Brian later confides to Gaby his fear of taking risks ever since coming out to his parents. Gaby urges Paul to make up with Jimmy; Paul visits Jimmy's house while Jimmy is trying to persuade Sean not to leave, and helps Sean open up about his trauma. Paul later calls Meg to tell her about his Parkinson's diagnosis.|
|6||"Imposter Syndrome"||Randall Keenan Winston||Annie Mebane||February 24, 2023||T12.17456|
|Brian buys a wedding ring for Charlie, and makes plans to propose at a party at Jimmy's house. Jimmy is apprehensive about throwing the party, since it reminds him of the strain in his and Tia's marriage in the months leading up to her death. Paul is anxious about Meg's plans to come oversee his care, feeling guilty over her investment in his wellbeing given his absence as a father during her childhood. Liz helps him see the situation with gratitude instead. Jimmy gets heavily drunk at the party and throws up, but Brian's proposal is still a success. Alice tries to kiss Sean, but he becomes uncomfortable due to their age gap and leaves. Gaby assures Jimmy that Tia still loved him despite the difficulties in their marriage; Jimmy thanks her for her friendship, and the two impulsively have sex.|
|7||"Apology Tour"||Randall Keenan Winston||Brett Goldstein||March 3, 2023||T12.17457|
|The morning after the party, Jimmy is consumed with guilt over sleeping with Gaby, but she helps him resolve his discomfort, assuring him their friendship is perfectly intact. Alice, too, regrets kissing Sean, is also comforted by Gaby. Liz's husband Derek tells her he has earned the right to enjoy living at home once he retires, and encourages her to go out and adopt new hobbies of her own. Meg comes to care for Paul, and Paul attempts to make up for years of lost time with her. However, he is unable to accept her invitation to move to the East Coast to stay with her and her family, causing her to leave angrily. At Gaby's suggestion, Jimmy has an imaginary conversation with Tia where he apologizes for becoming intimate with Gaby; however, Alice overhears him.|
|8||"Boop"||Zach Braff||Wally Baram||March 10, 2023||T12.17458|
|Jimmy and Gaby make a fumbling apology to Alice for sleeping together. Alice attempts to vent her frustrations to Paul, but he rebuffs her self-centered attitude, still reeling from his argument with his daughter. Alice disappears that night; Paul thinks she is at a party with her friends, and Jimmy and Brian bring him along to search for her. On the way, Brian tells Jimmy that he and Charlie do not want him officiating their wedding, angering Jimmy. The trio eventually find Alice with an older college student and bring her home. Paul convinces Jimmy to assert himself to others despite his own personal regrets, and so Jimmy grounds Alice for her misbehavior. Meanwhile, Gaby brings Liz and Sean to her ex-husband Nico's art exhibition, but lashes out at him publicly when she sees him pass off his new girlfriend as his "muse".|
|9||"Moving Forward"||Randall Keenan Winston||Sofi Selig||March 17, 2023||T12.17459|
|Paul learns he is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the APA in Las Vegas, but is uninterested in going in light of his strained relationship with Meg. Gaby discovers Paul is in a relationship with his doctor, Julie. Jimmy encourages Paul to take Julie to accept his award; Paul instead takes her to surprise Meg by attending her son's school play. Gaby reconciles with Nico and nearly sleeps with him, but instead has sex with Jimmy again. Brian agrees to let Jimmy officiate his wedding, while Liz agrees to finance Sean's catering business. On Tia's birthday, Jimmy visits her gravesite. Alice later realizes she forgot her mother's birthday and blames herself.|
|10||"Closure"||James Ponsoldt||Neil Goldman||March 24, 2023||T12.17460|
|Alice gets upset with Jimmy for packing up Tia's belongings out of a desire to move on. Liz asks to become more involved with Sean's catering business, which he happily accepts. Jimmy asks Brian's father to be best man at his wedding to Charlie. Paul thanks Jimmy for his help in reconciling with Meg, but Liz chastises him for not putting in the work to write a recommendation for Gaby's professorship. Paul then personally visits Gaby's interview for the position to advocate for her. Jimmy uncovers Tia's belongings for Alice to reminisce. He delivers a passionate speech at Brian and Charlie's wedding, making Gaby realize she may have feelings for Jimmy. Meanwhile, Grace, recalling Jimmy's advice about not putting up with Donny's abuse, snaps when Donny insults her while on a hike and pushes him off a cliff.|
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 82% approval rating with an average rating of 7.3/10, based on 83 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Shrinking has darker ideas on its mind than its earnest approach can often translate, but Jason Segel and Harrison Ford's sparkling turns make these characters worth close analysis." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100 based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B+ and described the series as "a funny, brainy grief-com about the power—and dangers—of radical honesty." Chicago Sun-Times's Richard Roeper gave a rating of 3.5 out of 4 stars and said, "You never know what goes on behind the scenes, but one gets the feeling Ford is having a great time on this show. We're sure having a great time watching it." Writing for The Wall Street Journal, John Anderson stated, "The overall sense is a little like laughing at a funeral; the human impulses are familiar, a little perverse and somehow comforting."