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A Comedy with Depth – Exploring Life, Grief, and Parkinson’s with Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford and Jason Segel from Shrinking as a therapist newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease

This comedy, created by Bill Lawrence, Brett Goldstein, and Jason Segel, showcases Harrison Ford as a  wise, funny therapist recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Watch on Apple TV+.

A mourning therapist begins candidly expressing his thoughts to clients. Disregarding his training and ethical norms, he catalyses significant transformations in people’s lives, including his own.

As Paul, Ford’s character in the series, navigates through work, friendships, and family dynamics, we witness his journey of coping and adapting to life with Parkinson’s. Ford’s exceptional performance has led some fans to speculate about the possibility of him having Parkinson’s Disease in real life.

In addition to Segel and Ford, Shrinking stars Jessica Williams, with Christa Miller, Luke Tennie, Michael Urie, and Lukita Maxwell.

Harrison Ford and Jason Segel from Shrinking as a therapist newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease

What Inspired Shrinking Series’ Parkinson’s Disease Storyline?

The inspiration for the Shrinking storyline hits close to home for the show’s creators. Co-creator Brett Goldstein’s father reportedly battles Parkinson’s Disease, and co-creator Bill Lawrence revealed to SlashFilm that his 75-year-old father is dealing with Lewy bodies, a degenerative hallucination-type dementia similar to what Robin Williams had.

In finding solace through humour during challenging times, Goldstein and Lawrence, realising they independently crafted comedies about grief and therapy while working on Ted Lasso, decided to merge their concepts and bring Shrinking to life.

Does Harrison Ford have Parkinson’s disease?

No, Ford himself does not have Parkinson’s Disease. Ford, at 80 years old, takes on the challenging role of Paul, a character in “The Shrinking” who grapples with Parkinson’s disease. While the film showcases emotional scenes related to the character’s struggle, it’s crucial to recognize that this is a fictional representation.

Is Shrinking a True Story?

Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, the masterminds behind the Apple series, engaged in an exclusive conversation with RadioTimes.com.

Here is this discussion!

Speaking exclusively with RadioTimes.com, Goldstein explained: “I was working on a show. I had an idea which was a version of this show, but it was much, much darker. This was years ago, and Bill and I wanted to work together. And he said, ‘What do you have?’, and I told him this idea.

“And he was like, ‘I’ve been working on a very similar thing’ and he showed me his idea, and it was like a version of my idea but much, much lighter. And then we were like, ‘maybe the best version of the show is together, kind of the middle ground a bit’.”

“And Brett was similar because he was going through some s**t in his real life. His dad lines up with the show; his dad has Parkinson’s, and he was looking to write a play that comedically dealt with grief that we laugh at this s**t because it’s a great way to get through it. We kind of combined forces and we were casual about it, we didn’t know if it would happen.

“And then Jason Segel’s an old friend, he was like, ‘Man, I’m looking to do comedy again, but it’s got to be something that’s funny but also something with emotional weight’. So it just all fell into place.”

Lawrence also spoke about how the landscape for comedy series has changed, explaining that when he started his career, “it was so hard to pitch”.

He continued: “You’d go in and be like, ‘Hey, it’s a show about death and doctors and whatever, but it’s a silly comedy’, and everybody’s like, ‘No!’ And now, because of the world everybody’s like, ‘Could it be sadder?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I got you’.

“I think people that know my writing, I hope they know that I like to write comedy with some emotional depth beneath it, and hopefully with some universal themes. And for me, this show… everybody I know right now is at least tangentially going through some kind of grief. The pandemic was rough, the world is not an easy place.

“Brett and I connected over our fathers both being too young and vibrant to be seriously ill. His father has Parkinson’s, it’s in the show. My father has Lewy body dementia, and he’s only 75; it’s a drag.

“And smiling our way through these things and maybe putting them out there creatively, not only as entertainment but you’re part of a community, and everybody’s going through s**t – that’s the world I like living in as a writer.

“I really like silly stuff, too. And I know I might have to take a break after this one and write something silly and fun with no emotional stakes. But we’ll see.”

Shrinking is on Apple TV+ https://apple.co/_Shrinking

Additionally, here is the trailer link: Shrinking Official Trailer.

Enjoy the show!