What AppleTV+’s “Shrinking” Taught Me About Marriage

I’m a die-hard Ted Lasso fan. My husband and I are soccer fanatics, so combine that with fantastic writing and cast, and we’re smitten.

Well, AppleTV+ has done it again with their newest dramedy Shrinking. Jason Segal (whom you likely know as Marshall from How I Met Your Mother), Harrison Ford (whom you know from everything), and Jessica Williams (The Daily Show, Girls, Booksmart) make up just a faction of this dreamy ensemble cast.

Shrinking follows Jimmy (Segal), a therapist experiencing his own bout of grief after losing his wife and moving into a single-dad role. Professionally, he has decided to abandon his traditional therapy methods and has opted for an unconventional approach: telling his patients exactly what he thinks. These nontraditional methods lead to some hilarious, heartwarming, and also infuriating interactions with his patients. His mentor, Paul (Ford) advises him against these methods, but to no avail. Their interactions, though, are some of my favorites.

What I find most interesting about the series, though, is its look into the marriage between Jimmy and his deceased wife, Tia (played by Lilian Bowden). One episode reveals several of Jimmy’s friends coming up to him complimenting him for his marriage, emphasizing what a great couple he and Tia were, and showering him with kind, but albeit uncomfortable, praise.  

What is revealed in flashback scenes is reality: Jimmy and Tia did not have a rainbows and butterflies type of marriage. Flashbacks showed a lot of heated arguments, walkouts, and general frustration in their marriage. At one point earlier in the show, Jimmy reveals that he and Tia were in a fight just prior to her accident, which has a big effect on how he processes (or doesn’t) his grief. 

As he begins to spiral out, Jimmy’s coworker Gaby (Williams), who is also the best friend of Tia, lays out some truths that struck a chord with me. While Jimmy thinks his wife was on the verge of leaving him, Gaby reaffirms him saying there was never a time when she stopped caring for him. No, they were not perfect, but they marched on. 

There are a few moments that stand out most to me in the series thus far, specifically in the dynamic of Jimmy and Tia’s marriage.

Marriage has seasons. I’m learning this in my own life (note, I have only been married for just over four years, so my knowledge is limited). Seeing Jimmy process his grief through flashbacks of really great times but also through really hard times shows a holistic, and genuine, view of marriage in my book. 

Another important note to make is the importance of Jimmy and Tia’s separate friendships from one another. Gaby, Tia’s best friend, served as a safe place for her venting, her frustrations, and a sounding board when needing to process happenings in her marriage. Brian (played by the wonderful Michael Urie) serves that same role for Jimmy. This is NOT to say that they did not communicate with one another. However, I am a firm believer in maintaining individual friendships who want to see you succeed and thrive who also hold you accountable and can be a confidant in tough seasons. 

Shrinking is a hilarious, heartfelt, and refreshing series. Whether you are married or not, there are nuggets of wisdom and pure hilarity that I think all will enjoy.

Jessica Hauerwas
Jessica is a nonprofit leader who loves bopping around Lafayette for the best burgers or bands in town. She is the Executive Director of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited where she runs the day-to-day nonprofit. She and her husband Chris have three littles at home (Jane, Clark, and Louise) where there is lots of giggling and always a cup of coffee brewing. Jessica is passionate about community-building and empowering working mothers. Jessica also volunteers for various organizations, is a member of the Lafayette Re-Entry Coalition, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette, and a survivor of being a mother of three under 4.


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