Severance’s creator explains the self-help book at the heart of the show

It would be easy to dismiss Ricken’s self-help book, You are you, in the first season of Quit – in fact, it happens a lot when the clone Ricken (Michael Chernus) left on the doorstep of his brother-in-law Mark’s house will shuffle from person to person. Without even getting a copy, Mark (Adam Scott) readily mocks Ricken’s attempts at philosophizing his world.

But Quit Creator Dan Erickson isn’t so sure. To him, the book was more than just a silly joke. And in the end, he never wanted the book to be just a funny dub.

Erickson told Polygon in an interview with Zoom: “It’s clearly kind of a visionary kind of a self-help book. “[But] I don’t want it to be so silly that it feels out of place. And also with this knowledge that it will become a serious plot device later on. So we wanted to write something, out of context, that could reliably inspire people, and whose ideas under that fog could be of practical value to people. surname. ”

To him, Ricken’s ideas represent an important evolution of the show: making the mundane amazing, uncanny in depth. When Chernus’ buttery dub reminds us that “Your so-called boss may have the clock that mocks you on the wall, but, my friends, it’s yours now,” it snarls immediately. provocative and provocative. (Erickson’s favorite way of delivering Chernus is: “Machines are made of metal, but people are made of leather.”)

Ricken's book sitting on a blue chair with Lumon's dwarfs looking down at it

Image: Apple TV Plus

That delicate balance for a self-help guide sets the tone for how Chernus thinks of Ricken as a character. The first thing he shoots in 2020 is book covers, all flashy, “Dianetics, or like Tony Robbins,” and “cult hazy” in bright colors. (“Self-help might not even be right,” he says. “It looks like active help.”)

But the dubbing came later. While the script calls for someone to read You are you loudly, it’s not always clear who it is. When Chernus was finally assigned the task, he worked hard to balance Ricken’s voice, calling on his theater and Julliard background to enhance Ricken’s reading with a Mid-Atlantic accent. .

“I know a form, an art form, who believe that what they are doing is the most important thing in the world, and [has] Chernus said. “Of course there is something – arrogant and grandiose about it. But there’s also something amazing about someone being affected by their vision and view of the world. “

Bottom line: He doesn’t feel the need to mock the guy. Instead, he saw Ricken’s grandeur befitting the same kind of formalism as Irving or Cobell. And like so many other pieces in Quit, You are you found an audience among the elite, dazzled by his insight. (His favorite quote in the book is “The heart of the industry is dust.”)

For Erickson, it was a delightful irony that occurred in the writer’s room: “What if the person Mark admired more than anyone else became the father of the inner revolution?” But in the end, what he and Chernus enjoyed most was that the book reached the people it needed.

Milchick reads Ricken's book

Image: Apple TV Plus

“There is a commentary on how context affects good art, good writing, or good media,” says Chernus, citing the media he used as a freshman in college. school trying to read aura or an adult trying to get through a pandemic. “I agree that it’s the kind of thing that sounds profound, but it’s not. But you can’t completely dismiss it if it’s doing something for the disadvantaged. If it’s doing something for them, who are we to say it’s objectively bad? ”

Perhaps the most surprising person it reaches is Milchick (Tramell Tillman), the cut-throat upstairs supervisor whose devotion manifests as a middle-management executor. A staunch one for the rules, even Milchick didn’t end up reporting a copy of You are you; instead he sat and read it.

When asked what that interest meant for Milchick’s role in season 2, Erickson hit back, noting that he’s seen people interpret his reading as genuine interest. a smile or an amused smile.

“I guess that paradox sums it up pretty well,” says Erickson. After all, don’t we all get advice before we can actually hear it? Severance’s creator explains the self-help book at the heart of the show


Aila Slisco is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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