In 1992 Orlando-area Florida, Krystal Stubbs is a minimum-wage water park employee (and new mom) who’s trying hard to make ends meet with her insurance salesman husband, Travis. In the hopes of securing some extra funds, Travis hops on the shady bandwagon of Founders American Merchandise (better known as FAM) — a multilevel marketing scheme that promises wealth, but ends up being more “cult” than “cash cow.”
Sucked in by an ambitious recruiter named Cody Bonar, and bolstered by the inspirational cassette-taped speeches of FAM’s mustachioed founder, Obie Garbeau II, Travis peddles FAM’s line of products at every chance he gets. He spews FAM taglines like “Go-getters go get” and calls skeptics “stinker thinkers,” and fills every free moment with furthering the FAM agenda. His obsession is overtaking his personal life, and Krystal has had about enough — until that obsession ends their marriage in a very tragic way. (We won’t spoil it, but it makes for a very jaw-dropping ending to the first episode.)
Finding herself suddenly destitute, Krystal is hellbent on opening people’s eyes to the scamming reality of FAM’s pyramid scheme, which she blames for her family’s destruction. Until she realizes that she’s actually a very good manipulator herself, and her mission changes: use FAM to her advantage, because fuck them. But the further she gets into FAM, the more twisted it becomes, and it’s starting to affect the people she values most.
It’s a story of people chasing the American Dream, with often-disastrous consequences.
Showtime’s “On Becoming A God In Central Florida” is the ’90s-era dark comedy we didn’t know we needed, and Krystal Stubbs — played by Kirsten Dunst (who is spectacular, and also one of the show’s executive producers) — is the clever heroine we deserve. But don’t take our word for it: ask Twitter.
And then there’s that accent…
Not to mention Kirsten Dunst.
Dunst truly does play Krystal Stubbs to perfection, bringing her character’s dogged determination and sassy Southern spark to life in a way that no one else could, revealing all the sides of Krystal in turn — from doting wife and mother to determined employee to ruthless, unapologetic badass.
In FAM, we see the all-too-familiar victimization of people roped into MLMs with false promises. Seriously, we all know at least one person who has been shafted by direct sales companies. And in Krystal, we see the reactions we all have to such things:
And the reactions we wish we could have:
If the brilliantly-written characters and engaging plot line aren’t enough, well, each episode also delivers a heaping helping of ’90s nostalgia. Answering machines! Corded phones! Side ponytails! Big floppy bows!
Just feast your eyes on this GIF — you won’t know where to look first. The denim? The baby carrier? THE HEELS AND SOCKS?
“On Becoming a God in Central Florida” is a satirical look at the dark side of MLMs; too bad its wry observations are based on many people’s real-life circumstances.
It’s a story of people chasing the American Dream, with often-disastrous consequences … but we’re really digging the characters, and we hope at least some of them get a happy ending. The show has already confirmed a second season, so whether the outcome is a shitshow or a triumph, you can bet we’ll be tuning in.
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