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Why ‘Severance’ on Apple TV+ is an answer to the Great Resignation

The Ben Stiller-directed show demonstrates the exhaustion and burnout many American workers are feeling right now

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Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette pose for photo wearing business suits that match ‘Severance’ aesthetic at ‘Severance’ on Apple TV+ premiere

Ben Stiller, left, and Patricia Arquette arrive at the global premiere of “Severance” on Friday, April 8, 2022, at the Directors Guild of America Theatre in Los Angeles.

Richard Shotwell, Invision, Associated Press

Whether it’s due to technology, telecommuting or the pandemic, the dynamic in corporate America is shifting at a pace that companies are struggling to keep up with. The popularity of “Severance” seems to indicate how many people are battling to keep going to work.

What is Ben Stiller’s ‘Severance’ on Apple TV+ about?

The series stars Adam Scott, who plays Mark Scout. At the beginning of the series, Mark receives a promotion at Lumon Industries to manage a team of four, all of whom have undergone “severance.” The concept is that each employee at Lumon Industries undergoes a severance procedure that surgically separates their work self and their personal self.

In theory, the procedure offers a glimpse into what an actual work-life balance could be like — boosting productivity at work without having to worry about what’s going on at home, and an opportunity to leave work at work.

However, the employees start to suspect there are darker reasons for the separation and seek to uncover the mystery.

“‘Severance’ has imagined an existence that‘s equal parts riveting and enthralling as viewers around the globe can’t get enough of these rich characters,” Matt Cherniss, head of programming for Apple TV+, told Deadline.

How does ‘Severance’, Adam Scott’s performance reference the Great Resignation?

The show exposes how patronizing workplace perks and incentives can feel to some employees. As corporate workplaces try to lure employees back to the office, having soda on tap or pizza parties might not be enough.

“I’ve come to think of these corporate toys and rewards as the work equivalent of the cheap prizes you win at a carnival after emptying your wallet to play the games,” writes Elizabeth Spiers for the New York Times.

American workers are quitting their jobs in droves seeking better benefits, better pay and more flexibility, according to Pew Research Center.

Another reason for the record number of people quitting their jobs is burnout. Many popular shows that debuted recently like “Severance” and “Abbott Elementary” are addressing burnout in a way that hasn’t been explored before on television.

Is ‘Severance’ on Apple TV+ worth watching?

It’s weird and twisted, but for some reason you can’t look away. The cinematography and flow of each episode reflects the monotony many Americans feel working in the oftentimes bleak corporate world. It’s almost like the dramatic version of “The Office.”

The show is rated TV-MA for strong language and the crew is working on Season Two now, according to Hollywood Reporter. Season One is streaming on Apple TV+.