Fortune Seller: A TV Scam Documentary Review, Bad Girls of Italy

What Fortune Seller: A TV Scam is all about without spoiling the show

Fortune Seller: A TV Scam takes us to Italy for the story of Wanna Marchi and her daughter Stefania Nobile whose best contributions to society might be how much fun it is to say their names. They are a mother and daughter duo using television sales to scam people. It’s QVC if it was headquartered in hell. In this story, it’s just Italy.

Wanna and Stefania are brilliant saleswomen who take it a little too far. After years of selling some practical items to viewers, they change things up. They begin to sell luck and good fortune to viewers. You know, things you can’t actually buy.

With bad attitudes every step of the way, Wanna and Stefania are easily two of the most morally corrupt humans you’ll find in a documentary. They make mobsters look like good babysitter options.

Did you know anything about the Fortune Seller story before watching?

Everything in this story was brand new to me. My knowledge of fortune selling fraudsters doesn’t go much beyond Ms. Cleo. Remember her, mon?

Will Fortune Seller make viewers uncomfortable?

Despite their horribleness, Wanna and Stefania are not murderers. There is no guts or gore in this documentary. You’ll only fall bad if you’ve fallen for a similar scam.

What was good about Fortune Seller?

We get two very memorable characters at the center of this story. Everyone else is pretty forgettable, but Wanna and her daughter Stefania are so incredibly flamboyant you’ll have a hard time not remembering how brash they are. Had they delivered any other kind of performance, it would have been a real drag to get through Fortune Seller. To their credit, I found them very entertaining.

This is an Italian-language series with new interviews dubbed in English. I appreciated the dubbing. However, with not everything being dubbed, it can sometimes be hard to go from reading subtitles to listening. Pick one or the other, please.

Fortune Seller doesn’t have too much to praise other than how much content they put together and how easily hateable the two main characters are. It was a documentary my wife gave up on halfway through the second of four episodes. She is always a good barometer of how good or bad a documentary is. She lost interest. I barreled through.

What could have made Fortune Seller better?

Aside from the to-dub or not-to-dub question, this documentary felt way too long. It could have easily been told in three parts rather than four. This is a problem I find with a lot of documentaries with many victims. It’s a completely different scenario, but I felt this way with the first season of Surviving R. Kelly. At times, it felt like a roll call of everyone who was wronged rather than a story.

The same goes for Fortune Seller with the list being more about different scams they ran than specific people who were victims. It did not seem like we needed as much of their early history as we got.

Condensing the story into one less part would have done this documentary a big favor. It seemed to take too long before we got into what ultimately led to Wanna and Stefania becoming criminals. 

By the time they did get there, I had already lost interest.

Is Fortune Seller: A TV Scam worth watching?

I’m not going to recommend this one. It was something I ended up finishing as a show to watch while I was on the exercise bike. I did want to see the conclusion after devoting time to the beginning when I watched it with my wife. It took me about a month to go back and complete. It wasn’t a fascinating or unique enough story to keep my attention.

Overall Score: 4 out of 10

Fortune Seller: A TV Scam will make you feel like you were scammed out of a little bit of your time. There weren’t enough bombshell twists. The story was too basic for me.

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