Apple TV+ Series Shrinking Trailer Starring Jason Segel and Harrison Ford

A Review of the Series 'Shrinking:

The public and patients are traumatized by psychiatrists in "Shrinking". The series focuses solely on a particular social class, with nearly all of its characters belonging to the upper-middle class, who are closer to being wealthy, educated, and privileged individuals living the so-called American Dream.

Certain television or film productions achieve success even before their release, whether due to the presence of a beloved actor in their cast, being adapted from a famous novel, or marking the return of a director with a big name.

"Shrinking", available on Apple TV Plus (Apple TV+), is one such production, boasting a stellar cast that includes the legendary Harrison Ford, who, in his multi-generational career, had never before starred in a television series until last year. Created by Brett Goldstein, Bill Lawrence, and Jason Siegel, who previously collaborated on the highly successful series Ted Lasso, "Shrinking" is an American comedy-drama television series that premiered on January 27, 2023.

Finding Healing and Humor in Grief: 

The events of "Shrinking" begin with psychiatrist Jimmy (Jason Siegel) at a noisy party, which bothers his neighbor Liz (Christa Miller). She wakes up to scold him for his behavior in front of his teenage daughter who is also in the house. In the following scene, we learn that these actions are defense mechanisms that Jimmy uses to cope with his grief over the sudden death of his wife, exactly a year ago.

As the series progresses, we are introduced to a set of relationships that revolve mainly around Jimmy. There is his teenage daughter, wounded by his neglect, the caring neighbor who looks after her, and his co-workers - Paul (Harrison Ford), a doctor in the early stages of Parkinson's, and Gabby (Jessica Williams), a successful doctor and an ex-friend of Jimmy's deceased wife.

Jimmy begins to improve his life, trying to restore his relationship with his daughter and approaching his patients differently. Instead of using the usual gentle approach, he decides to treat them with trauma, telling them what they should know firsthand. This is an unusual approach that his colleagues denounce, but it leads everyone on a journey of self-reconciliation that has its pitfalls but may ultimately be successful.

While the series mainly focuses on Jimmy's recovery journey, each sub-character has their own journey as well. Gabby is emerging from a failed marriage, Paul is trying to reconnect with his daughter whom he lost contact with after his divorce, and neighbor Liz is experiencing an existential crisis after her children leave for college. Among Jimmy's patients is Sean, an African-American soldier returning from Afghanistan who suffers from post-traumatic distress.

Despite dealing with serious social and psychological issues, the series manages to balance the serious tone with comedy, thanks to the actors' spontaneous performances. Harrison Ford, in particular, delivers a brilliantly drawn character that suits his acting style. It's easy for the series to drift into melodrama or tragedy given the number of crises, but it manages to maintain its balance and deliver a compelling narrative.

A Critique of Diversity, Mental Health Treatment, and Social Issues in the Series:

In a scene, Gabby ridicules her co-workers Jamie and Paul as "two rich white men" and accuses them of having an exclusive club relationship to her face.The protagonist's statement is mostly true, not only for this relationship at work, but for the entire series.

The show's creators attempted to cater to diverse audiences by including two African American actors, an Asian actress, and three female sub-characters in the cast. However, what matters more than diversity is how these characters are utilized and how their individual spaces are balanced within the plot, which the show failed to achieve.

The series is essentially a closed club for wealthy white men, with Jimmy and Paul as the main characters who control the narrative. While the story revolves around the improvement of the father-daughter relationship between Jimmy and Alice, the drama and comedy always seem to revolve around the relationship between Jimmy and Paul, which mixes friendship with a hint of fatherhood.

The series primarily focuses on a specific social class, almost exclusively featuring characters from the upper-middle class who are closest to the wealthy, educated, and privileged individuals who embody the so-called American dream. The only character who comes from a lower-middle-class African American background is Sean, who does not seem to suffer from his unemployment or receive significant attention as a member of the black community.

Certainly, dramas do not need to emphasize all classes, but the creators' choices determine the perspective from which each character is portrayed. The show's portrayal of Sean as a recruit downplays his class and skin color, while briefly acknowledging his involvement in the Afghanistan war, which caused his psychological disorder.

In one scene, Sean confesses to his doctor that he is haunted by the atrocities he committed during the war, including attacks on civilians, women, and children. The doctor advises him to forgive himself without acknowledging the social and cultural impact of the American soldiers' actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, highlighting the creators' narrow perspective.

"Shrinking" received relatively high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, with 84% of viewers and 81% of critics rating it favorably. While the show is entertaining and well-crafted, it cannot withstand cultural and social criticism.

While "Shrinking" may be entertaining and well-crafted, it falls short in addressing important social and cultural issues that are relevant to its characters and their experiences. The lack of diversity in the main cast and the focus on wealthy, privileged characters creates a narrow perspective on the world and limits the opportunities for exploring important issues related to class, race, and social inequality.

Furthermore, the series' portrayal of mental health treatment and the role of psychiatrists in society may be problematic. The use of trauma as a treatment approach may be controversial and has the potential to harm patients who may not be ready or willing to confront their traumas in such a direct manner. The series also does not delve into the structural issues that contribute to mental health problems, such as poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare.

In conclusion, while "Shrinking" may be a well-acted and entertaining series, it falls short in addressing important social and cultural issues and may be problematic in its portrayal of mental health treatment. It is important for viewers to approach the series critically and consider its limitations in addressing important societal issues.