Are You Binge Watching ‘Inventing Anna’ or ‘The Dropout’? Why Are We Obsessed With Scammer Stories?

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Julia Garner filming "Inventing Anna" on November 16, 2020 in New York City, New York.  (RCF/MEGA/GC Images via Getty Images)

The Netflix series, “Inventing Anna,” reached No. 1 on Nielsen’s Top 10 streaming rankings and has dominated social media discussions for weeks. But it’s not just the profile of wannabe socialite Anna Delvey capturing our interest – television series about scammers abound these days, including former venture capital darlings like WeWork’s Adam Neumann and Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes in the shows “WeCrashed” and “The Dropout.” Not to mention podcasts, documentaries and longform articles that often inspire the fictionalized versions. What is the human behavior driving this interest: Is it just schadenfreude? Or are there other elements informing our interest? We’ll explore this latest content trend and why, as a culture, we’re so into scammer stories.


Abby Ellin, journalist, contributor, The New York Times; author, "Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married"; host, Spotify's "Impostors: The Commander" podcast

Rachelle Hampton, co-host, Slate's ICYMI podcast