Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.: Full Season
April 15, 2022 3:52 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

After marrying a mysterious man who claimed he could make her dog immortal, a celebrated vegan restaurateur finds her life veering off the rails.
posted by johnofjack (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry, I don't know how people are posting "full season" shows without having it list an episode number. Maybe posting them as movies instead?

At any rate, I enjoyed this one, and though it was less bloated than some of the Netflix true crime series I've seen--though I would say that enjoyment of it might depend on your tolerance for watching people repeatedly making bad decisions (I liked it; my boyfriend found it immensely frustrating).
posted by johnofjack at 7:11 PM on April 15, 2022

(When selecting episode, scroll all the way down past 100-ish and select "Full Season.")

I was intrigued by the show when I came across an word of it, forgot about it until your post - so thanks!

It's accessible to me, going to give it the 3 ep treatment. However, the concept feels (consensually) "exploitative" and attention seeking, and that was the reason behind my reticence.
posted by porpoise at 9:28 PM on April 15, 2022

Oh, there are only 4 episodes. Finished the first one. I'll probably finish the rest.

It's a more traditional documentary rather than a dramatization, and features the actual people involved in interviews and set pieces, so "best lights" for everyone who participated.

Not what I was expecting; it might be of more interest to people who were involved in the restaurant scene in NYC around the time.
posted by porpoise at 4:44 PM on April 16, 2022

The way they paint the Shane Fox guy reminds me of Bill Paxton's character in 'True Lies' - but instead of getting laid, he's scamming money.
posted by porpoise at 5:14 PM on April 16, 2022

I have said more than once that it’s possible to get into a “cult of one,” a relationship with a charismatic partner who gets you under the sway of their beliefs. It can happen to anyone, no matter how accomplished and book-smart. I mean, it’s hard to see how more than one woman saw this big gape-mouthed Masshole and bought a damn thing about his story, but his horrible father must have helped him there and taught him the ropes of it. There’s such a contrast between this paranormal romance paperback story he came up with and his completely banal gambling habit. Just pissing it all away because it’s there to be pissed.

Her friend Anthony is a real mensch. Imagine a friend so solid that he is almost out of the city, driving to Tennessee, to pick up your dog in an emergency, without even being asked.

I am glad that Leon, the blameless one, is apparently still living happily with her. You can maybe trust a dog’s negative judgment, but you can’t trust their positive judgment. Why should you? They are friend-shaped! Their job for thousands of years has been to be friends. No one should ask them to be finely discriminating.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:24 PM on April 16, 2022 [7 favorites]

The pace does pick up, and I ended up binging this.

WTH, a completely bonkers story. That final phone call.

Anthony the formerly under-housed is great. "I would have stuffed that fat bastard in a garbage bag. Put him in the river." That he had a car/ funds by that point suggests that he was doing better so that's great too. That's also a cool looking jacket he has on for the interview segments.

Nazim seemed like a good guy. "No angels in Hell" notwithstanding.

I cannot believe for how long this went on, and then the mom.
posted by porpoise at 7:46 PM on April 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Anthony is great; most of Sarma's friends and co-wokers impressed me, even as they were frustrated and/or mystified and/or hurt by her behavior.

I don't really understand Shane's hold over Sarma and his previous wife; he struck me as such an obvious con artist/blowhard/derivative author with his "Family" story. I know it's possible--I'm aware that Jonestown happened and that various politicians and media figures have an actual ongoing career--but I still found myself a bit mystified by it and wanting to learn more about the warning signs. I did recognize some of them (e.g. the way Shane gradually took on this paternalistic oversight of her life and separated her from her friends and family) because they were common to both abusers and cult leaders, but I'm sure there were others.
posted by johnofjack at 7:13 AM on April 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I didn't watch all of it because I ultimately just found the antics of the scammer/personal cult leader boyfriend too tiresome. The "Family" tasked with battling supernatural threats seems like bargain-bin Supernatural fanfiction.

I get why Sarma might take issue with some details - there is a certain implication that she was persuaded to marry the guy by his promises of taking care of her debts, but as fas as I watched, the docu leaves one with a fairly positive overall impression of her. It's remarkabe how her cheated employees and main investor/former mentor still talk about her with some measure of admiration and rather more sorrow than rage. The interviews with her friend Anthony suggest that it might be Sarma's best characteristics - a certain open-mindedness, a yearning for connection - rather than her worst ones that made her particularly vulnerable to the scam.

Really made me wonder a bit about the pros and cons of a "lack of judgment". I mean, I'd be too judgmental to give an "unconventional" character like Shane the time of the day, but I'm apparently also too judgmental to strike up a genuine friendship with a homeless person. Ultimately just means I'm more likely to fall for a different sort of scam.
posted by sohalt at 11:03 AM on April 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I want to know what the story is behind this guy and Alec Baldwin on Twitter. Did he just tweet at Baldwin and get lucky, getting responses twice? Or did he put some work into getting a celebrity to talk to him?
posted by meese at 8:47 PM on August 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

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