Shrinking Series Premiere Review: A Laugh Out Loud Dramedy That Could Use Less Jason Segel

Deputy Editor Michileen Martin loved the first two episodes of Shrinking, but he wants to see more of the cast front and center.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

shrinking series premiere
Jason Segel in Shrinking

How can you help others recover from trauma when you’re still lost in grief? That’s the challenge faced by therapist Jimmy Laird in Apple TV+‘s new dramedy Shrinking starring Jason Segel as the struggling lead, Jessica Williams as his overhydrated colleague, and Harrison Ford as Jimmy’s brusque mentor who doesn’t want to admit how big his heart is. The first two episodes are streaming now on AppleTV+, and so far the Shrinking series premiere promises a hilarious and emotional ride with only one gaping weakness — it’s under-utilizing an incredible cast. 


Don’t get me wrong, Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) is at his most vulnerable and maybe even his funniest as Jimmy Laird, who has still not gotten over the death of his wife. We meet him how we probably would be surprised to encounter our own therapist — in his backyard with two sex workers as his caring but increasingly impatient neighbor, Liz (Christa Miller) chastises him for playing loud music outside at 3 a.m. and shames him into sending his new friends away. Not only is he still hungover and high when he treats his patients the next day, but it’s clear his teenage daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell) — for whom Liz has become a surrogate mother — is moving further away from him every day.

Pushed to his breaking point in the Shrinking series premiere, Jimmy finally snaps at one of his patients and gives her an ultimatum: leave your emotionally abusive husband or stop coming to therapy. She abruptly walks out of Jimmy’s office without any indication of what she’s going to do, but when Jimmy learns the results, he decides to apply it across the board with all of his patients. His radical new therapy style has more mixed results when he treats Sean (Luke Tennie) — a vet struggling with violent outbursts — by encouraging him to channel his violence into mixed martial arts. 

These first two episodes should give you the feels along with a few good belly laughs, but they will also leave you wanting more of its impressive cast. Shrinking marks Harrison Ford’s second appearance as a regular cast member on a TV series — the first being the Yellowstone spinoff 1923 — and the first one that was officially announced back in April 2022 by Deadline and others. And yet in these first two episodes, the Indiana Jones star feels criminally underrepresented on the screen, and I sincerely hope that changes in the next eight episodes. 

shrinking series premiere
Harrison Ford and Lukita Maxwell in Shrinking

In all fairness, Harrison Ford’s Dr. Paul Rhodes is blessed with perhaps the best zinger in the Shrinking series premiere. When Gabby (Jessica Williams) preaches the benefits of water to her boss and asks him, “Do you know what percentage of yourself is actually made of water?” Ford perfectly answers, “I know what percentage of me doesn’t give a sh-t.”

Jessica Williams (Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) is another cast member I want to see more of, along with Lukita Maxwell (Generation) as Jimmy’s neglected daughter who somehow has managed to get through her grief better than her therapist father. Even Liz’s husband Derek (Ted McGinley of Married… with Children fame) — who speaks almost exclusively through passive-aggressive quips about having to take care of Jimmy’s daughter (e.g. “Thought I was done raising kids, so thanks for that!”) — has enough dimension that I want more of his story.

I’ll keep watching Shrinking in the meantime, hoping that — while Jason Segel may be perfect in the role of Jimmy Laird — the rest of the cast will get their chance to shine. The first two episodes are currently streaming on Apple TV+, with the third on the way next Friday, February 3.