“Shrinking,” a television series on Apple TV+, features impressive acting and witty dialogue, but some argue that it reflects larger societal issues.
Critics contend that the show embodies the negative aspects of social justice ideology in one season.
One of the criticisms of “Shrinking” is that it promotes moral relativism.
Throughout the show, characters engage in questionable behavior without any acknowledgment that their actions might be wrong.
For instance, in the first episode, the protagonist (played by Jason Segel) takes on a patient with a violent history.
Despite knowing that Sean (played by Luke Tennie) has a record of assaulting people, the therapist invites him to live with him and his teenage daughter after Sean becomes homeless.
The show frames this as a positive development, rather than as a reckless decision that endangers the safety of his daughter.
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Another criticism of “Shrinking” is that its characters lack moral judgment. In one scene, a mother of two teenage boys sends a manipulative text to her eldest son, threatening to be angry if he doesn’t call her back.
When he does, she declines the call to prove a point to another character. The show doesn’t recognize this behavior as emotional blackmail.
Moreover, the show has been accused of promoting race essentialism. Jessica Williams’ character, a black therapist named Gaby, often references the skin color of her white colleagues as though it’s their defining characteristic.
When Harrison Ford’s character, a talented therapist named Paul, asks if she ever wanted him to be her mentor, she declines, saying she would prefer someone who looks like her.
While it’s true that people from similar backgrounds can better empathize with each other, should a person’s skin color be the most important factor when choosing a mentor?
“Shrinking” seems to answer that question affirmatively, as do some lawyers in the real world.
The focus on race in “Shrinking” can lead to some strange moments. For instance, when Jimmy encourages Sean to take an MMA class as a way of channeling his aggression, Gaby objects, accusing Jimmy of forcing a young black man to fight in an unsafe cultural environment.
This objection ignores the fact that MMA gyms exist and are a common way for people to exercise and learn self-defense.
Additionally, the show’s characters lack emotional resilience. They frequently lose their tempers and engage in immature behavior.
Jimmy gets into shouting matches with several characters, using his bad day as an excuse.
While he does apologize, it’s concerning that a therapist can’t control his anger. Similarly, when Paul tries to make amends with Gaby, she explodes at him and storms out, displaying behavior more appropriate for a teenager than an adult.
This lack of emotional maturity is a recurring theme throughout the show, and it’s disappointing to see adult characters who can’t handle their emotions.
It reinforces the idea that emotional regulation is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced, and it’s a shame that the show doesn’t address this issue in a more nuanced way.
Overall, “Shrinking” offers some strong acting and funny dialogue, but it also has some problematic elements.
The show’s moral relativism, obsession with race, and lack of emotional resilience are all symptomatic of larger issues in our culture.
While it’s important to address these issues, it’s also important to do so in a way that is thoughtful and nuanced, rather than relying on simplistic and sometimes harmful stereotypes.
The lack of emotional resilience and impulse control among the characters in “Shrinking” is concerning.
While Jimmy apologizes after his outbursts, he still struggles to regulate his emotions and often takes his anger out on others.
Gaby’s behavior is even more concerning, as she seems unable to control her emotions around a colleague, displaying teenage-level behavior.
The show’s framing of these vices as virtues and the characters’ poor choices as noble is problematic.
Unlike other shows that portray immoral characters, such as “Breaking Bad,” “Shrinking” seems to lack self-awareness about the behavior of its characters.
This is exacerbated by the show’s tendency to prioritize race essentialism, as seen in Gaby’s fixation on the skin color of her colleagues.
This tendency to reframe vices as the necessary next stage in cultural evolution is a negative aspect of postmodern Leftist ideology.
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