Last week it was announced that Will Forte would star in suicide drama Expiration Date for NBC’s Peacock, and now a mental health non-profit has criticized the project.
Written and exec produced by Fleabag producers Harry and Jack Williams, the show is set to follow Forte in the role of Robin. Overcome with grief, he takes out a life insurance policy that covers suicide if the individual doesn’t take their life within a year. Knowing that he won’t have to worry about the finances for his family, the show will follow him as he decides how to spend the last 12 months of his life.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, mental health nonprofit Inseparable believes the subject matter is dangerous. "What a wildly irresponsible and callous concept that will, no doubt, endanger countless viewer," said founder Bill Smith. "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."
Smith said that while the group doesn’t know much about the show just yet, especially in regards to how the subject matter will be handled, he believes the concept alone sounds like grounds for it to not move forward.
“NBCUniversal would do well to rethink such a dangerous idea that could lead to an increase in suicide among viewers," Smith added. “This show shouldn’t air, period. Equally as important, Hollywood content creators should educate themselves on what’s helpful and what’s harmful. There is such a great need for education among storytellers about the power they have to shape narratives around mental health that can be preventative instead of damaging ones that may be the difference between life and death.”
NBC Universal has not responded to Smith’s calls for the project to be canceled, although one source has said the team on the show is planning to work with mental health professionals. Expiration Date was announced last week, and marks the second Peacock series the former SNL star has on the way. His fan-favorite character MacGruber is set to get a show at the streaming platform, with his MacGruber co-stars Ryan Phillippe and Kristen Wiig also poised to reprise their respective roles.