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The Daily Dish The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

What is a Turkey Vulture? We Now Know Thanks to The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

You’ve probably heard of cougars when it comes to dating. But turkey vultures are now on our radar too, thanks to Peacock's The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

By Grace Jidoun
Suzie in a red sequins top and a white feathered boa.

There’s an irresistible charm to an older woman who knows what she wants, and in one episode of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, we get that in featured subject Suzi Sanderson. The saucy 75-year-old travel agent and former lounge singer refers to herself as a “turkey vulture" — and she lets viewers know exactly what she means by that.

Now, we’ve all heard of cougars, but turkey vultures are not quite as ubiquitous on the dating scene. Literally, turkey vultures are large scavenger birds that feed on dead animals, but on the Amy Poehler-produced home improvement series that’s streaming on Peacock, the phrase takes on a different meaning.

You can see for yourself when Bravo begins airing three episodes of the show on Thursday nights, beginning August 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. It'll be followed by “Confessions of a Lounge Singer” on August 24 — centering on self-proclaimed turkey vulture, Suzi — and a third episode on August 31, both airing in that same time slot.

What exactly is a turkey vulture when it comes to dating?  

On The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Suzi defines the phrase as “a person who is 20 years older than a cougar, still likes to hunt, but can’t quite catch the prey."

RELATED: What is Swedish Death Cleaning? Everything You Need To Know

She goes on to say, "That would be me. I mean, how long can a person live without sex in this world?” 

Johan and Suzie sit and talk together in a closet.

Has the phrase "turkey vulture" come up on any other TV shows?

The phrase “turkey vulture” previously popped up on the police procedural show NCIS, when special agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) used it to describe an older woman in a Season 9 episode. Notably, when Tony describes her as, “That's what they call a turkey vulture — 20 years past a cougar, still likes to hunt but too old to take down the prey,” the woman he's talking about, whom he thinks is out of earshot, sharply retorts, “I wouldn’t bet on that!”

Suzi — who turned to three experts on The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning to get help getting things in order in her home — is a self-described pothead and “vagabond who has traveled all over the world.” Her hope is to hook up with an older man, perhaps a grandpa. “I’m not ready to die yet," she explains. "I’m still trying to get laid, ok? So, let’s not rush into this.”

RELATED: 10 Decluttering Tips We Learned from Watching The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning

Her home is filled with cherished souvenirs from her international travels, photos from her time as a singing waitress — and penises, from artistic sculptures to a stash of vibrators under her bed. “She really likes her penises. She has them all over the place, and who can blame her,” notes death cleaner Ella Engström, the show's professional organizer. Clearly, Suzi's décor needs some editing and the three Swedish experts on the show are just the team to handle it. 

Ella, Katarina, and Suzie cheering and clapping together at a performance.

Suzi embodies the rebellion and love of life that defines a turkey vulture. But there’s one more important characteristic: the freedom to not care what others think. “What’s great about being 75 is you don’t give a sh-t about anything anymore, you don’t care what anyone says about you,” she says.

What's the difference between a turkey vulture and a cougar?

Cougars share the confident, capable attitude of turkey vulltures. Both cougars and turkey vultures are in-command women. That said, there are some differences. Loosely defined as women between the ages of 40 and 60, cougars typically date much younger men. Turkey vultures are an older group, hunting a wider range of prospects, although with less luck.

RELATED: Here’s Why Amy Poehler Appreciates Swedish Death Cleaners: “They’re So Direct”

As for Suzi, the trio of death cleaners featured on Peacock's decluttering show — Engström, Katarina “Kat” Blom, and Johan Svenson — help her get her collectibles, and life, in order so she can go after what she really wants. As they say on the show, this is death cleaning for life.

Want to see more of the endearing subjects featured on The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning? Check out all eight episodes, now streaming on Peacock.

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