Kirsten Dunst in a mermaid costume as Krystal Stubbs in ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

Hold Up, How Had I Never Heard About This Kirsten Dunst MLM Dark Comedy Series???

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Showtime has a new series premiering this weekend called On Becoming a God in Central Florida, which I think we can all agree is just a spectacular title. The show stars Kirsten Dunst, who’s also the executive producer alongside George Clooney, and centers on a woman rising through a multi-level marketing scheme (MLM) in the 1990s. The trailer looks bleak as hell, like a Florida Fargo.

Basically, it’s everything I love and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about it until today.

I’m not sure how I missed all news of this show. It’s not like there was no marketing at all–Dunst was apparently on the Late Show last Friday to talk about it. But a quick survey of my fellow critic friends shows that I am definitely not alone in this being off my radar.

According to Showtime, On Becoming a God is set “in a small Orlando-adjacent town in 1992” and follows Krystal Stubbs (Dunst), “a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM) — the cultish, flag-waving, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her to ruin in the first place.”

The show isn’t based on any one true story, but Dunst name-checks Amway and Herbalife on Colbert’s show as the sort of company FAM might be based on. There have been a number of podcasts, articles, and documentaries lately dedicated to exposing MLMs for the dangerous shams that they are and personally, I think we could do with a ton more. (If you haven’t checked out the podcast The Dream, I recommend it, along with Swindled’s episode on Herbalife.)

I’m really interested to see the angle this series takes, following a woman whose life is ruined by an MLM, only to gain success in the system later at the expense, it sounds, of those closest to her. She described her character to Colbert, saying that over the course of the show, “I slowly become what I hate. I slowly gain the power and I slowly take down the man.”

On Becoming a God premieres this Sunday, August 25th, although it looks like the first two episodes are available early if you have a Showtime subscription. Early reviews have been really positive.

Also, check out the clip they showed on Colbert (at the five-minute mark), which has majorly dark Drop Dead Gorgeous vibes, like if Amber Atkins grew up to work at a water park and fall for a Ponzi scheme.

(image: Showtime)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.