Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A new spelling bee documentary on Netflix, plus we talk to What We Do In The Shadows’ Natasia Demetriou

Natasia Demetriou, Matt Berry
Natasia Demetriou, Matt Berry
Photo: Russ Martin (FX)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Wednesday, June 3. All times are Eastern.

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Top pick

What We Do In The Shadows (FX, 10:00 p.m.): Tonight, at long last, What We Do In The Shadows tackles witchcraft. Well, to us it’s “at long last.” To Nadja, it’s not nearly long enough. Turns out, Nadja hates witches. She is simply not having it with covens.

In its second season, What We Do In The Shadows has seen several of its characters leave Staten Island and go on adventures—but not the vicious, vivacious Nadja. That changes this week, and so we called up the actress who plays her, Natasia Demetriou, for some insight into Nadja and the episode that features her.

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The A.V. Club: How has the character of Nadja changed from when you first read her?

Natasia Demetriou: It’s definitely very similar. The bones of the character were all there in the way it was written. But in the second series [we’ve made changes] with all the characters, because you know who they are a bit more. She’s just getting exponentially more horny and bloodthirsty and more dramatic as the season progresses.

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AVC: I love how horny she is.

ND: Well, it’s about time we saw a woman who’s as horny as the guys! She’s like the vampire Samantha Jones on Sex And The City.

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AVC: You also mentioned bloodthirst. Kayvan Novak has talked in interviews about the balance between the vampires being funny and silly and then also being murderers. How do you approach that with the character of Nadja? She does have a softer side sometimes. 

ND: We often will joke about how we all are just horrible monsters. But I think, like all of mother nature’s creations, they’re multifaceted. You can be a bloodthirsty monster, but still have compassion with certain people and in certain situations. There are days where you’re a raging ball of anger, and then there are days where you’re like, “The world is so lovely and I feel sorry for everyone!”

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I think that’s actually what’s so great about our show, is that you have these archetypal monsters and you’re seeing the day-to-day domesticity and mundanity of their lives. I always find that so funny. Like when you watch a villain in a film and you think, “What do you do when you’re not setting up the most evil plots in the world? When you go to the bathroom, when you’ve got a soft tummy, when you order some food and it doesn’t taste good…” It’s funny to see the different sides of these unshakeable, horrifying creatures.

AVC: Speaking of creatures, we’ve seen a lot of new ones this season. Is there any of that in this week’s episode?

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ND: Big time. Finally, it’s time for some witches!

AVC: Yay!

ND: I was very, very excited about the episode. I love witches, they are very excellent—well, they’re tragic, in terms of history, but also incredible. I think there’s a little bit of witch in all of us. I also love witch fashion, I think there’s nothing more complimentary than a pointy hat.

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But Nadja is very suspicious of witches, because she knows what they’re after, and that’s sperm. Nadja loves sperm more than anyone, so she’s very protective of the sperm she owns. She doesn’t want to share.

AVC: Does that make witches an exception? Because Nadja is a feminist at times, like when she turned Jenna into vampire at the beginning of the first season.

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ND: Nadja doesn’t have time for the witches. As women, she’ll have a nice chat with them and hang out with them, but ultimately she has to kill them. I think her turning Jenna was definitely a feminist act—and also just not just a feminist act. She could see that Jenna was the most intelligent, interesting, sweetest one of her group of friends and was like, “I’m going to give you a gift.” Because quite often, the quiet ones are the ones you should raise up.

AVC: Do you have any witchy tendencies yourself?

ND: Big time! I love wearing black, and as I mentioned, I love a pointy hat. I’ve got a big nose. I love a lilac eyeshadow and green-tinged makeup. And I absolutely love sperm. [Laughs]

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AVC: It must be fun to wear all those costumes on the show, then.

ND: I spend so much time complaining about how uncomfortable they are, but then if someone was like, “Okay, we’re going to give you something else,” I’d say, “No! No! I want the big dresses!” The costumes are incredible. They really blow my mind.

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AVC: The day that I was on set, there was a scene where you were up in the harness, and I was thinking, “Oh god, all those layers and the harness and everything, it must be tough.”

ND: It’s a workout. I remember Jemaine [Clement] said to me before I started season one, “You might want to do some pilates or yoga, some core exercises, for the flying.” Because you do need some core strength. That’s the only way you can keep yourself upright, is by tensing your core. Otherwise you look like a baby in one of those jumpy things that parents put in the door frame. They put us in these harnesses, and we’re supposed to look like these beings with supernatural powers, and instead we’re four giant babies in baby jumpers. So that’s very funny. [Katie Rife]

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Regular coverage

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Wild card

Spelling The Dream (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., documentary special premiere): Director Sam Rega’s documentary follows four Indian-American hopefuls through the rigorous process of training for and competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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