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‘Severance’ is a workplace comedy with a sinister twist

How do you balance the time between your work and your life? That’s one of the central questions of the new Apple TV+ series Severance, in which employees voluntarily undergo a procedure that allows them to segment their brain, so the work and non-work parts of their lives are completely separate.

Ben Stiller directs and executive produces the series, and he tells ABC Audio the balance between the two is an ongoing struggle.

“I think the last few years with the pandemic has affected everybody in terms of that and looking at our priorities and what’s important and how much of your life you want to spend away from your family,” he explains. “It’s hard also when you do something you love because you spend time doing it and love doing it, and then you have to sometimes pull yourself away from it.”

Parks and Recreation alum Adam Scott plays one of the “severed” office workers in the series, although he’s never actually worked in an office, thanks to “a really sweet, generous grandmother” who paid his way until he got on his feet.

“I had little like busing table jobs here and there, but I never had to have an office job. The closest I’ve come is Severance, he admits.

Some might assume Severance is a workplace comedy, but Scott says they’d be wrong.

Notes Scott, “I feel like one of the unique things about it is that it has the feeling of workplace comedy when you start the series and it kind of dips into that throughout the season as well. But there’s something sort of sinister kind of bubbling underneath, something uneasy about this particular workplace.” 

Severance debuts today on Apple TV+.

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