By Joginder Tuteja
There is a lot of nostalgia that one feels after watching On Becoming a God in Central Florida. First and foremost the leading lady out there is Kirsten Dunst, one of the first crushes right at the beginning of the new millennium when she made her presence loud and clear with the Spider-Man franchise after featuring in countless films as a child artist and leading lady. Moreover, the film is set in the 90s, the time when capitalism had started taking a far wider shape as the whole world beckoned the arrival of a new millennium and it was all about getting rich soon.
In this stage and set up arrives the Season 1 of On Becoming a God in Central Florida on Sony LIV which is pretty well spread out across 10 episodes that last over 40 minutes each. Other than the fact that the setting is that of the early 90s, it is also the whole styling of the show which takes one back in time almost three decades back.
This was also the time when MLM [multi-level marketing]/pyramid scheme had started taking a far bigger shape than ever before. With liberalization and commercialism shaping up in a huge way, it had also started becoming a great American dream to get rich soon with ‘contact building’ marketing becoming more and more prominent.
Now this could well have become an intense drama but creators Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky ensure that it doesn’t turn out to be heavy-weight watching for the viewers. Hence, what you end up seeing is a dark comedy where the family setup leads the charge and characters, which are led by Kirsten with everyone else rallying around her, turn out to be interesting indeed.
The woman, shown to be in her 30s and working in a low income zone at a neighborhood water-park, is not a pushover by all means. She may find herself pushed to the corner with her late husband leaving her broke after investing in the MLM, his mentor [Théodore Pellerin] turning out to be overtly (and not so naturally) excited all the time about the business expansion, her toddler kid keeping her at toes and a boss [Usman Ally] not quite empathetic towards her plight. This isn’t all as there is also an alligator no less who creates havoc in her life.
Still, she keeps her chin up, fights off the mortgage demands, makes sure that there is a roof over her head and slowly but steadily tries to understand the rules of the game which are associated with MLM. This, when she is spending her time in and out of the splash pool of the amusement part while trying to engage her new as well as recurring guests to shake a leg or two.
No wonder, your heart goes to her friendly neighbor [Mel Rodriguez] who keeps a brave face while digging a hole to safeguard the personal belongings of his best friend [Kirsten’s late husband], only to bare his heart out in the dead of the night in the middle of the pool. By all means, he is one of the most adorable character of the show whose personality graph is well laid out.
This is in fact the core of On Becoming a God in Central Florida as a whole as well as the graph only seems to be keep going up one episode after another. For the audiences who are used to watching a flurry of thrillers on the OTT world, especially in the last 3-4 months, this one is more of a drama surrounding a single woman, which keeps taking shape over a period of time before becoming truly definite in due course.
This means that it takes a bit of a time to get accustomed to the key characters, especially the ones played by Kirsten and more importantly, Théodore Pellerin. However, once you get a hang of them and start getting connected to who they are, what they want and how they would accomplish it, there is no looking back as you get sucked deeper and deeper into their tale.
If you want to relive the nostalgia of the 90s shows from America, On Becoming a God in Central Florida is the one for you.