Plenty of young women with black bangs and a morbid sense of humor talk about becoming morticians, but Caitlin Doughty actually followed through. She then took things a step further by starting the web series Ask A Mortician, where she answers viewers’ questions about death and dying in a refreshingly honest, surprisingly upbeat way. Among the questions Doughty has answered on her show are: “What do dead bodies smell like?” (“Citrus fruits, licorice and fish, mixed in a bucket and left in the sun for several days”) and “Do people really poop themselves when they die?” (Sometimes.)
The YouTube series made Doughty the most famous mortician since the Tall Man from the Phantasm movies, and led to the publishing of her memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons, last year. Now that memoir is being turned into a TV series courtesy of Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, with Nurse Jackie co-creator Evan Dunsky serving as showrunner and writer for the pilot. (Shockingly, no one from Six Feet Under appears to be involved as of yet.)
“Writing a memoir is such a private, personal experience that it’s intimidating to think of adapting it for television,” Doughty says. “But everyone involved…has been so open, collaborative and intelligent through this process. It’s obvious they get me and they get the book.” The part about how we’re all going to die some day, so we better get used to the idea, was implied.