On Becoming a God in Central Florida – does it suck?
Yo yo yo what’s up guys, it’s your boy Oz here with another video.
Today we’re checking out On Become a God in Central Florida and answering if it sucks.
Before we get into that though, remember to like and smash that subscribe button and be sure to stay to the end of the video for a giveaway.
Yeah alright, that’s enough of that.
Showtime’s new series On Becoming a God in Central Florida popped up on my radar early this year. I knew Kirsten Dunst was in it (also an executive producer), I knew it was about MLM and I knew it was a dramedy.
Beyond that though I intentionally avoided any coverage of the series as I wanted to go in fresh.
As I write this five episodes of the series have aired, and I finally got around to watching the first episode earlier this week.
As it ran, I began to feel supremely uncomfortable. To the point I was unintentionally squirming on my couch.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida gives off strong Amway vibes. The tapes serve as a thematic narrative throughout the series, and if you’re familiar with the material can be quite jarring.
Having covered MLM for ten years on BehindMLM On Become a God in Central Florida felt too real. Although I’ve never been in an MLM company, as you can imagine I have a lifetime of experience with interacting with victims of the industry.
I’ve read and responded to countless personal stories over the years, spanning the entire “I lost everything” to “I’m rich bitch!” MLM spectrum.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida opens by hitting you hard with desperation.
I intend to keep this spoiler-free so I won’t go into specifics, but if you’re even remotely familiar with what goes on in MLM behind closed doors – you’ll spend most of the first episode cringing.
Not for the series itself but for the characters, in particular Alexander Skarsgård’s Travis and Théodore Pellerin’s Cody.
Seriously, somebody has gone in heavy with the research on this one and it shows (no pun intended).
I’m three episodes in and Kirsten Dunst’s Krystal has my emotional connection to the character all over the place.
Obviously by the name of the series the overarching plot follows Krystal, with an emphasis on her finances and how that intersects with MLM.
As Krystal grapples with mother trying to survive, I’m getting some strong Anakin Skywalker dark side internal struggle vibes.
To be clear, On Becoming a God in Central Florida isn’t representative of the entire MLM industry.
It focuses on a specific type of company, named FAM, in which internal consumption is the focus over actually selling products to retail customers.
This is perfectly highlighted in one scene in which Krystal is trying to sell FAM products through a garage sale, only for her upline to rock up and berate her.
“You can’t sell this! These products are for your downline, they’ve already purchased them!” (paraphrased).
The key actors have a great supporting cast to work with and I’ve yet to come across anyone I felt was out of place.
I think a big part of me being uncomfortable with the first episode is that the subject matter is rarely out in the open like this.
I mean there it is, MLM’s darkest secrets, available to anyone with access to Showtime.
Having thought about it a bit, the tone of the show is the narrative foreboding of Breaking Bad mixed with Weeds.
The show sits closer to Weeds in setting and overall character development, but I get the sense Krystal’s plot arch will see her evolve into MLM’s Heisenberg.
One minor criticism I have is that the show is set in the 90s, pre social media era.
This means that it definitely feels dated, but I might be feeling that more due to my ongoing exposure to the MLM industry.
It also means younger audiences both in and out of the MLM industry might feel alienated, but underlying themes that drive a lot of the industry are still there.
Much of what is depicted in the series today plays out on Facebook and social media chat groups.
Overall I think a key part of what makes On Becoming a God in Central Florida work is that there’s no judgement.
This isn’t a documentary setting out to expose anything, it’s a TV show that presents what some MLM companies were like in the 1990s.
There’s comedy in how that unfolds, but otherwise there’s no explanation for what you’re seeing on screen.
At no point did I feel I was being preached to either way by the show itself.
This is just stuff that happened and, so long as it’s not happening to you, makes for compelling viewing.
That said, anyone who was in or exposed to any of the larger companies back in the 90s is probably going to find themselves triggered.
Season one of On Becoming a God in Central Florida kicked off in mid August and runs until October 20th.
Give it at least the first two episodes to judge whether it’s for you.
Personally I think it’s well worth a watch, irrespective of how you feel about the industry.
Update 9th November 2020 – As reported by Deadline last month, unfortunately we’re not getting a season two of On Becoming a God in Central Florida.
“Last year, Showtime renewed On Becoming A God In Central Florida but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to move forward with production on the new season,” the network said in a statement to Deadline.
“The pandemic has continued to challenge schedules across the board, and although we have made every effort to reunite the cast and crew for a second season, that has become untenable.
It is with great regret that we are acknowledging On Becoming a God will not return.”
The silver-lining is that staff have been paid for season two, despite the cancellation.
Was Krystal Stubbs going to usurp Obie Garbeau or start her own rival MLM company? I guess now we’ll never know…