Telemarketers: Telemarketer$
August 21, 2023 7:22 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Telemarketers turns documentarians Sam Lipman-Stern and Patrick J. Pespas delve into who benefits from the scammy calls that claim to benefit police union charities.
posted by larrybob (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think that should read "Telemarketers TURNED documentarians...."

And the "origin story" here sounds wild - Lipman-Stern was filming some of the stuff going on around him at work and posting it on Youtube just because it was so crazy, and when Pespas told him where the money was really going, that's when they decided to try to do an expose.

They actually tried to get the Safdies involved as well, to direct.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:44 AM on August 22, 2023

I've seen the first two episodes. In the first episode, Lipman-Stern presents Pespas as a savant who could muster record sales regardless of how many drugs he had coursing through his sysem. In the second, as they get into their investigation and Pespas' ingratiating phone manner turns downright belligerent in search of answers, Lipman-Stern ruefully acknowledges that he never considered that Pespas might be bad at this whole documentary thing. The second part also has some pretty hair-raising footage of the telemarketing, beyond the relatively tame manipulations in the first part (though interestingly, I don't think Pespas and Lipman-Stern seem to think it's any "worse" than what they were doing, they think it's all bad).

I'm astonished to say that this is a lively and entertaining documentary. Documentaries all seem bad these days; either eat-your-vegetables prestige misery porn or 2 hours of material stretched into a 8 hour series because it's cheap and harvests enough clicks to be worth the bother. A 3 hour series! And I'm looking forward to the third and final part! Incredible.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:25 AM on August 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

I watched the entire first episode convinced it was somehow a (perfect) recreation/imagining of the call center and that the main investigators were actors. Pespas is just too perfect a character to be real.
posted by joeyh at 8:32 PM on August 22, 2023

Pespas screwing up every attempt at interviewing was really hard to watch. I have no idea what the point of this documentary was.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:11 PM on August 27, 2023

Yeah, but even if he had gotten some of those people to talk, I don’t think they would have gone on record with any admission of wrongdoing. And hopefully at least the exposure of these practices will make fewer people fall victim to the scams.
posted by larrybob at 9:38 PM on August 27, 2023

None more New Jersey.
posted by whuppy at 12:53 PM on August 30, 2023

I binged this today, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The audacity of the scam was staggering, and the shrewdness of the company employing ex-cons made sure that very few of them would have a conscience about fleecing innocent people.

Patrick was a fascinating character, and I hope he and Sue are doing well.
posted by essexjan at 3:44 PM on September 9, 2023

I enjoyed this too. I'm glad this made it to HBO because it means that they got some money for this. That moment when they hear their old dead coworker on a robocall is weird. The third part was very hard to get through.
posted by Catblack at 1:57 PM on January 1

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