Finding work-life balance creates a difficult turning point when leaving a job

Adam Scott in severance. (Image: Apple TV+)

Adam Scott in Quit. (Image: Apple TV+)

Of the many quirks of modern life that the pandemic has exacerbated, none has been felt more profoundly than the intrusion of one’s work life into one’s home life. Working from home has its advantages – without catching a sizable deadly epidemic, but also without having to go to work, you can save on lunch costs and your hours can be a bit more flexible. But as anyone who’s been doing it for a long time will be happy to tell you, your bleeding from work to home can be taxing, both logistically and psychologically. physical. Even before the pandemic hit, a lot of us had jobs that followed us home from the office. But what if you could actually wait and not have to think about work until the next morning?

Like any good science fiction, Quit, the new Apple TV+ show from creator Dan Erickson, to which “what if?” The question to science seems both reasonable and extremely sinister. In some imagined near future (the time and place in which this program exists are purposefully kept vague), a multi-purpose mega-corporation called Lumen has pioneered a process called sedation. work, where employees can volunteer for a surgical procedure where their memories of work and their home selves are cut from each other. They show up at work in the morning, get into the elevator at 9 o’clock (the number of visitors is very high, we remind often, to keep outsiders from seeing each other), and the next thing they know it is 5 o’clock (hour) and you are leaving the building for the day. In contrast, their work itself exists only in the office, unaware of their outside life with any possibility other than the fact that it exists and is none of their business.

We are introduced to Quit In the most traumatic way possible, when newly fired employee Helly (Britt Lower) wakes up at her desk in an empty conference room with a voice over the speaker questioning her to confirm that the process worked. . The voice on the other end, who was soon revealed, belonged to Mark (Adam Scott), who was technically Helly’s supervisor but was in the same boat; he just stayed there longer. Mark is also cut off, as are two other employees in their small, isolated department: friendly Dylan (Zach Cherry) and Irving (John Turturro), a true lover. Helly’s introduction to her new reality is terrifying, as she realizes that she has no memory of her life or family and no way out of her situation. This is treated as something of a shrug by others, and you get the feeling that they’ve all been through this.

Just from this setting, Quit perhaps sounds like an idea that could have made for a compelling episode about Black mirror. But while both shows take a very “careful about what you want” stance on cutting-edge technology, Quit ultimately pushes further into the sinister implications of its premise. In the second episode, we get a close-up look at the ablation procedure itself, an invasive brain surgery filmed with a maximal vortex drill and a brittle skull. But the psychological consequences of quitting is the scariest thing. These bifurcated individuals end up half their lives, split between “Innie” (who is working) and “Outie” (who goes home). Innie exists only in Lumen and relies on every aspect of office dystopia we’ve seen over the years, from sparse, near-invisible workspaces to draconian roles that just exist for their benefit to the cultural utterances of both employees and their supervisors. suggest a dominant class far beyond.

The most obvious question is why is this company severing employee memories? At first, you might suspect the answer is productivity: create a class of workers unencumbered by outside thoughts and distractions who are just there to work. This aligns with more classical visualizations of outdated workplaces. But productivity was actually pretty low in our center quartet. It was the secret that Lumen seemed to really want; to have a completely closed company with no risk of leaks or exposure or outside surveillance of any kind.

To the outside world, Lumen was a source of great controversy – fleeting on television news shows and by university protesters handing out leaflets – with the resignation in itself appearing to be the a hot issue of human rights. Mark is quick to remind the people in his life that he’s willing to choose to quit his job, although we also know that he recently lost his wife and that he could choose to quit as a way to get eight. hours every day that he doesn’t have to think about his grief.

Naturally, a conspiracy arises, involving a former colleague (played by Yul Vasquez) who approaches Mark from the outside. Patricia Arquette plays Mark’s fearsome stone-faced boss, who is more of a presence in his life than he initially seems. There’s clearly a lot about Lumen that needs unraveling, both internally and externally. Going deeper Quit we travel, discover more dark corners, and the quirky characters we meet (Christopher Walken plays an archivist working in a different department). Conspiracy of intrigue keeps things going, but it’s not all that exciting in the end Quit. It’s in the inner lives of Mark and Helly and Dylan and Irving, sometimes unsettling, sometimes quirky and quirky, and then almost before you realize it, their reality becomes hard difficult: these people are not only held captive by Lumen but also by their outer selves, who can always… stop showing up for work the next morning. As Mark explained to Helly in a way he seemed to find more comforting than she did, if their People didn’t want them to work there, they wouldn’t be there. This concept, like almost everything else about Quitbecomes more sinister as the show goes on.

Quit starts off almost too slow, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a large portion of the audience wasn’t patient enough. Apple has largely done the fact that Ben Stiller directed six of the season’s nine episodes, which might lead some to expect it to be more of a comedy. Quit It’s not without humor, but it sees unease at the heart of its premise, and performances around the world, but especially Scott, Lower, and Turturro, are engaging. It’s a journey down a disorienting winding corridor, but a journey worth entering even its darkest corners.

The first two episodes of Quit premieres on Apple TV+ Friday, February 18. New episodes release weekly through April 8.

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Joe Reid is a Managing Editor at Primetimer and a co-host This podcast already has Oscar Buzz. His work has appeared on Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The AV Club and more.

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Jake Nichol

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