Shrinking’s Jessica Williams Plays The Therapist We All Want [Exclusive Interview]

How are you today?

I’m good. How are you?

Good. It’s been such a nice show to talk about today.

I love that. And that’s nice to hear, because it doesn’t always work out like that, so thank you. I love /Film, so it’s important.

Oh, cool. Thank you so much for saying that.

No problem.

These are really nice characters to spend time with.

Good. Oh my gosh, that’s all you want, really. That’s all I want for “Shrinking,” is for people to watch it and feel cozy and just want to spend time with these people that are just trying to figure it out.

What about the characters really spoke to you?

Oh, man. I love the character of Jimmy, and him exploring grief in the show, and what he’s going through. When I signed up for the show, there were only two written scripts, and even then, when I met with them, they said, “A lot of the characters, we want to tailor them to the actors.” So for me, they wanted to tailor Gaby to me. And for Harrison’s character, Paul just became more developed with Harrison. So what was nice was that the show feels like it’s easy for us as actors to play, because we’re playing these dynamic characters that were written to our skill sets.

How did Gaby evolve from the page to once you started playing her?

Every time I’m on set, especially in this show, my perception of the scene usually changes, my perception of the character, my perception of the relationship. I think it usually changes once you’re in front of the actors and on set, you see maybe a line’s not working here, maybe you do a take and the line is something else, maybe Jason improvises something in a different way and it completely changes my character’s response to the scene. I think a lot of times, my job is to just be present every day when I go to work, because there are so many things that are shifted on set. For me, I come from a comedic sort of improv background, and Bill Lawrence is really into that, and so is Jason and Brett. So I got to do that so much in the show, and that added so much flavor and specificity to the character of Gaby as well.

It’s rare to improvise on a TV show, too, right?

Totally. It was a really safe set for that. The set also needs to be really safe, because a lot of times with improvising you’ll have something come out of your mouth and totally “fail,” or you’ll stutter, or it won’t make sense, or they’ll say, “Cut,” and you’ll go, “What did I just say? What was that?” But it’s nice because everyone’s doing that, and it was just really cool to have a really safe environment for that.

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