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Joseph Gordon-Levitt shot the TV show with Mr. Corman he had always dreamed of. After decades of acting, he set out to write, direct, and star a ten-part comedy drama that is a vivid portrayal of what it is like to live in the head of a lonely man in his 30s who is suffering from anxiety fights. While most shows distract viewers from their own thoughts and realities, Gordon-Levitt’s Josh Corman serves as a vessel of self-reflection that drives viewers to face their own inner turmoil. Other films and TV shows such as The Sopranos, Ted Lasso and In Treatment feature characters struggling with panic attacks and various mental disorders that severely affect their daily lives. While we see many of them exploring their feelings, thoughts, and emotions with a therapist, we can’t really explore what’s going on in their minds when they experience these episodes. Josh is a fifth grade public school teacher who lives in a cozy apartment in the San Fernando Valley, California with a roommate named Victor (Arturo Castro). His life is seemingly calm and normal, but thinking about his failed music career and his relationship with ex Megan (Juno Temple) leaves Josh scared. The regret he feels because life didn’t go the way he wanted it to be is a feeling that many people his age can relate to.
The show goes from tracking his everyday human experience to entering a fantasy world with larger-than-life, dream-like sequences that take place exclusively in his brain. The show’s exaggerated fight scene alongside Bobby Hall (aka Logic), a musical number between Josh and his mother, and a recurring meteor that only he sees give viewers a glimpse inside his head. These moments show what our brains can do to protect us from our own realities and how they can also terrorize us if we run into a trigger. Gordon-Levitt knew that these scenes set the Apple TV + project apart from other comedies and dramas of its kind. “Right from the start, I’ve always wanted the show to feel what it’s like to be in someone’s head,” said Gordon-Levitt Complex prior to the show’s season finale, which aired on Friday, October 1st. “A lot of films and shows show you something more objective and the audience becomes more omniscient. This, of course, is a way of telling a story. But to me it doesn’t feel as much as it does in real life because in real life we never get out of our own heads. We only ever see the world with our two eyes and that’s it. “