Even the ‘Shrinking’ Showrunners Don’t Know Why Harrison Ford Is Doing A TV Comedy
Some entertainment news headlines read like the writer threw a bunch of pop culture terms in a blender, set it on high, then poured the jumbled mess onto the page. For instance, this one – “80-year-old Harrison Ford to Play A Therapist in an Upcoming Apple TV+ Comedy Series By The Co-Creators of Ted Lasso.”
Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence are continuing their crusade to legitimize Apple’s streaming platform as a hub for high-quality comedy shows with Shrinking, a series about a bereaved therapist who decides to start giving patients his unfiltered, unprofessional and honest opinions about their problems which is set to premiere on January 27. How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel plays the lead role and serves as co-creator alongside Goldstein and Lawrence, and he will be aided onscreen by the acting prowess of Han Solo himself in Ford’s first television comedy foray.
In an interview with TV Insider, Goldstein and Lawrence revealed that they are just as confused about Ford’s presence in the series as we are. When Lawrence offered Ford the role, the showrunner was sure that the cantankerous cinema legend would turn him down, but, somehow, the crankiest pilot in the galaxy signed on for the series – even though he had never heard of Jason Segel.
“I’ve reached the age finally that I’m not as afraid and embarrassed of people saying no to me as I was as a kid,” Lawrence said of the phone call that led to Indiana Jones making his TV comedy debut. The role in question, Dr. Paul Rhodes, is a slight departure from the action heroes of Ford’s most famous films. Rhodes, a colleague of Segel’s main character, suffers from the early stages of Parkinsons, and both he and his struggles with the disease are based heavily upon Goldstein’s real-life father.
To Lawrence’s surprise, Ford found the pilot script to be the perfect start for his career in the comedy-shows-that-sound-like-they’re-definitely-going-to-make-us-cry genre. According to Lawrence, the conversation between them went something like this
Ford: “Hey, this is a really good script. Will I be in the second one more?”
Lawrence: “You can be in it as much as you want.”
Ford: “Who else is in it?”
Lawrence: “I’ll have Jason Segel call you.”
Ford: “Who’s Jason Segel?”
Lawrence: “Uh, I’ll send you some movies first.”
An unusually enthused Ford somehow signed on for his first comedy series despite knowing nothing about its biggest star and main draw, and the results have apparently been resoundingly funny. Said Goldstein about the grumpy blockbuster star’s comedy chops, “Seeing him do comedy, you could see when we had our first read-through, the glee in his eyes getting these huge laughs. He’s f—ing funny.” Goldstein acknowledged the unusual fit for such an established star not known for their humor, saying, “I think it’s a buzz for him to be doing a proper comedy, which he hasn’t really done. And he’s very good at it.”
Apparently, Ford is much better at comedy than he is at not constantly crashing his stupid plane..