‘Shrinking’ Star Jason Segel Never Thought Mental Illness Was Stigmatized

Jason Segel in The Shrinkage (Apple TV+)

Jason Segel in Contraction (Photo: AppleTV+)

jason segel He readily admits that he is typecast for a very specific role: “Your best friend.”

“I was like on a TV show for nine years, where I was your best friend,” the 43-year-old Los Angeles native says of the long-running CBS show. how i met your mother (2005-14). “And I’ve done movies where I’m your best friend.” Watch: Pregnant (2007), I love you man (2009), etc.

Our friend Jason thinks their on-screen affability is why Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein (a duo who have notched some big wins of late with the Apple TV+ soccer hit) ted lasso) threw it Contraction. The new comedy-drama, also on Apple, stars Segel as a therapist and father to a teenage daughter (Lukita Maxwell) reeling from the recent death of her wife, who finds catharsis as he becomes more personally involved in his patients’ lives. .

TODAY -- Pictured: Jason Segel and Brett Goldstein on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

Jason Segel and Brett Goldstein (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

“I think what I brought to the table was that it seems to have established a sense that I’m like your best friend. … So what I told them was, ‘We should push this character to the edge of likability as much as we can, and use this really good feeling [that I’ve built up] for evil, and make it wrong. Make him mess up a bunch, because I think you’ll still feel like he’s doing the best he can.”

Contraction is something like ted lasso but with therapy “Those guys are masters at what they do, masters of that tone,” Segel says of Lawrence (Ribbonshowrunner) and Goldstein (a Ribbon writer, producer, and performer who won two Emmy Awards for playing grizzled former football player Roy Kent). “I think one of the things the shows have in common is that they are hopeful. At the end of [Shrinking] episodes, even though they’re going through some really complicated stuff and grief and loss, I think the message of the show is, ‘Hey, we’re all in this together. None of us get out of this life unscathed and there’s actually some comfort in that.’”

While Segel shines as lead character Jimmy Laird in his first comedic role in almost a decade, ContractionWhat RibbonIt’s a true ensemble piece. Among his scene stealers are two actors who play therapists opposite Jimmy: Jessica Williams, who, as the witty Gaby (“She’s amazing,” Segel declares), has finally found a role worthy of her talents since he’s been gone. the daily program; and an 80-year-old you may have heard of too, Harrison FordEmmy-worthy as Dr. Paul Rhodes, the eccentric veteran of the practice who consumes CBD gummies and suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Segel calls the cast of the Star Wars Y Indiana Jones icon as “the coup of the century” and explains exactly how he felt when Ford signed on.

“You know when you’re like the jerk in high school and then almost as a joke or an act of bravado, you’re like, ‘I’m going to ask the cutest girl to prom.’ And you know that victory is only in asking that. Of course she’s going to say, ‘No,’ because she’s going with the head of the soccer team. These are old tropes, but you know what I mean. That’s what it felt like to ask Harrison Ford to do this show. Of course he’s going to say, ‘No.’ Right? But wouldn’t it be cool and brave to say that we ask?

“And then the guy said, ‘Yeah.’ And then you have to figure it out like, ‘God, now I’m going to prom with Harrison Ford. Where do I take him to dinner? What do I wear?’ That’s kind of what he felt about.”

Harrison Ford in The Shrinkage (Apple TV+)

harrison ford in Contraction (Photo: AppleTV+)

Contraction it comes at a time when public discourse about mental health is more common than ever, especially in the realm of entertainment. Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Ryan Reynolds, and Kristen Bell have openly shared their struggles with anxiety and depression. Segel’s friend and four-time co-star Jonah Hill even made an entire Netflix documentary about his own problems. Many frame his candor as helping to destigmatize mental illness.

Wonder if Contraction is also part of that narrative, Segel offers a contrary view.

“It’s a lot of fun because, in my opinion, they are not stigmatized,” he says. “I have asked for help so many times in my life, in so many different ways. I think that if there is a destigmatizing element, one of the things that I always fear when I ask for help is that the person in front of me is judging me, or better than me in some way. And one of the things that our show exposes is, ‘Oh, we’re all [suffering in some form]. Even the person you think is your authority, it’s also a mess when he goes home.’”

The actor is open about his own mental health journey.

“I have always struggled a bit with anxiety. And a certain feeling that something is wrong and there is a feeling of imminent death, ”she says. “At some point I decided that there was no reason to spend my life not feeling good. So I tried to acquire some tools, therapy being one of them, to feel that everything was fine.

Contraction now streaming on Apple TV+.

Watch the trailer:

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