Will Forte’s latest project has seen some pushback from people critical of the show’s subject material. News came last week of a show called Expiration Date, about a man planning his own suicide — a premise one mental health organization criticized as “wildly irresponsible”
Called Expiration Date, it was described by news releases as a “dark suburban soap” starring Forte, whose character discovers his life insurance policy covers suicide if he doesn’t carry out the act 12 months after he plans it. The Peacock show is set to showcase Forte playing out that year — a grim premise that immediately saw backlash from mental health professionals, who were shocked by the show’s proposed handling of suicide.
As Variety reported on Monday, news of the show saw a response from Inseparable, an advocacy group that includes Robin Williams’ son on its advocacy board.
“What a wildly irresponsible and callous concept that will, no doubt, endanger countless viewers,” said Bill Smith, founder of Inseparable, in a statement. “Glamorizing suicide leads to contagion, that is a fact. At a time when our country is already suffering a mental health crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left Americans’ mental wellbeing at a two-decade low, the last thing we need is a reckless show hinged on the question of ‘will he or won’t he’ succumb to the devastation of depression — an all too real and painful experience for millions of Americans.”
Variety‘s report indicated that the maker of the show “understands” how sensitive the subject matter of the show is, and is working with experts on the plot. But Smith said “it almost doesn’t matter what’s in the script” because the mere premise of the show involves a man plotting his own death. It’s important to note that the show is merely in development and hasn’t been picked up by Peacock just yet. But it’s off to an inauspicious beginning, one that may prevent it from ever seeing the light of day.