Ever paused to consider the folks responsible for creating your favorite TV shows and movies? It’s likely an afterthought, we know, but they could be the reason mental health concerns are now more frequently addressed on screen. Why? Turns out those behind the scenes are suffering, too.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, these are trying times to work in entertainment, and a spike in angst could be why the narratives available for a round of Netflix and chill are so, well, dark. As THR points out, writers, producers, actors, and executives are openly discussing a rise in stress, anxiety, and depression—three subjects heavily addressed in buzzy works like 13 Reasons Why, This Is Us, and Sharp Objects.
While THR admits that there are no statistics available that differentiate the anxiety Hollywood employees (actors included) face compared that of the U.S. population (aren’t we all stressed AF?), the fact that people feel restless is no question. How come? Everyone from the big executives (who by the way are shaking in their boots as the industry evolves at a rapid pace) to the little guy is reportedly nervous over which corporations reign supreme (digital-minded ones like Amazon, Apple, and Netflix are winning), and that ultimately leads to less job security, misguided career paths, and the overall feeling of being “disposable” as an employee. Recent tragedies that shook the entertainment sector, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, who both died by suicide, also point to trying times in the industry.
Of course, there are other reasons why people in Hollywood feel uneasy (Harvey Weinstein is among them), however, it’s of note that as a result, shows like 13 Reasons Why, which received critical acclaim after its series premiere and has been picked up for a third season, are set to win. In fact, THR pronounced that “comedy is dead,” and that the genre hasn’t been getting many laughs, particularly when it comes to movies.
As they reported, Game Night only earned a “depressing” $69 million whereas The Hangover raked in $277 million at the box office after premiering in 2009. Comedian Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special Nanette is receiving praise, but because she’s flipped the script on its head, confronting the way she had previously used self-deprecating humor to explain her experience as a lesbian in Tasmania. Her conclusion, at the end of the special, is that she should probably quit comedy in order to tell her story more fully, and explain the nuances of her life beyond the punchline. Changing times, huh?
Those suffering in Hollywood have turned to drugs, anti-anxiety medication, conventional therapy, and meditation to cope with their job pressures, and often, burn out has led some to quit their careers entirely. Considering art imitates life, maybe we shouldn't be surprised.