sentimental psych-com makes Ted Lasso seem subtle

sentimental psych-com makes Ted Lasso seem subtle

There’s a lot to like about Contraction, the new Apple TV+ comedy from the creators of Ted Lasso, but nothing to love. Ted Lasso, whose third season begins in the coming months, is a culture shock comedy about a Kansas gridiron coach being flown into a British soccer team. His corny and cheesy message about the essential goodness of people and the power of self-confidence is turned palatable with plenty of jokes in which Londoners walk up to Ted and call him a w—-r. what they would do

Starring Jason Segel as a broke West Coast psychoanalyst and Harrison Ford as his curmudgeonly colleague, Shrinking is cheesier than Lasso, but in this case the schmaltz isn’t tempered by that healthy dose of cynicism. It all makes for a strange, Lasso-lite concoction: there’s plenty of effing and jeffing, no subject matter is off limits, there are some funny banter and some solid performances throughout, but ultimately it lacks impact. If the perennial shrink’s question is “How does that make you feel?”, the answer with Shrinking is “not much.”

Shrinking begins with the premise that Segel’s Jimmy Laird has given up on life after the untimely death of his wife. He’s not paying much attention to his daughter, Alice (Lukita Maxwell), she’s drinking too much and at work he’s decided to just tell his clients the stark and obvious truth about their lives, rather than disguise it with the kind of babble of behavior pleasant. what they want to hear He suddenly orders a long-time client, for example, to dump his partner immediately, since he’s obviously a poor controller. And wouldn’t you know it, the psychological vigilante approach works, at least initially.

After Life fans will have noticed the similarity in setup, but where that series at least had the courage to stick with Ricky Gervais’ over-the-top philosophizing throughout (if we could only be honest with each other!), Shrinking never decides. really what it is about.

Ford is excellent as Jimmy’s older co-worker Paul, a sarcastic old curmudgeon with Parkinson’s and plenty of problems to solve. Ford could easily have been the main character of the series: most of the best scenes show Ford and Segel arguing happily, but all too often they’re undermined by another sentimental scenario as MOR’s rock music grows behind a montage of people. doing a little healing and learning.

Ironically, if Ted Lasso himself had sat down to write a comedy, it might as well have turned out like this. He just needs a voice in the writers room to yell “bollocks” every once in a while when the cheese overwhelms.

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