One would assume that a Hulu documentary titled The Housewife and the Shah Shocker would be a revealing tell-all about Jen Shah and what led to her arrest in March of this year on charges of wire fraud. Alas, Shah Shocker does nothing but pose questions to the audience which it never fully answers.
The documentary assumes that the viewer is walking in with intimate knowledge of Jen Shah the character and does next to nothing to introduce Jen Shah the person, save for a two-minute segment on Shah experiencing racism as a child. I have to wonder why Andy Cohen, in all of his power, didn’t find a way to delay this project until The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunion where there would be more material.
Fans of RHOSLC have been salivating over any and all information relating to the impending federal case against Jen Shah. The arrest was a highlight of the SLC season, which is currently still airing episodes, and shed quite a lot of light on the secret issues some women were having with Shah. During the episode where Shah is arrested ahead of a cast trip, Meredith Marks revealed that a friend of Shah’s had stolen something from her store. Marks also shared that had a private investigator look into some mysterious messages she and the rest of the cast were getting only to discover that they were likely coming from Jen’s camp. That episode provided more information than Shah Shocker could hope to summon in its lackluster hour.
To use the word “documentary” to describe Shah Shocker would be like calling my last post about Batman fucking literature. That dog just won’t hunt. The special focuses on interviews with a handful of people who have never met Jen Shah, but speak with authority because they are a Housewives superfan, an author, and entertainment writer respectively. There are two ABC journalists providing commentary as well as brief appearances by Jen’s assistant, who is also her aunt. Two women who were allegedly scammed by companies that might have possibly been linked to Jen’s shell companies also make appearances. However, neither of those women are part of the US government’s case against her.
The one person who might have had anything interesting to say about the situation was Koa Johnson, a fashion designer who used to create and style dresses for Jen. Fans will recognize that name from the infamous leaked audio of Jen verbally abusing her staff. But even Johnson simply shared recycled information that had already been passed around the Bravoverse. His revelations might have been illuminating for non-fans but he was given so little time to explain his work relationship with Shah, a non-fan would have been left with more questions than they started.
Really, the only thing of value in the entire hour is an in-depth explanation of how telemarketing scams work. It’s never made clear what kind of scams Jen Shah was allegedly running or if she was even directly involved in creating and executing the scams. Frankly, if everything about Shah was cut from this show it would have been a helpful special for older people on how not to get preyed on by online scams designed specifically to trap them.
Satisfying the bottomless pit that is the Housewives fandom is not a task for the weak or unprepared, which are the two best words to describe this special. In an effort to capitalize on what was happening to Shah and her victims, ABC put out a half-baked, borderline irresponsible segment and slapped the word documentary on top of it to give it some sort of validity. Monique Samuels and her binder of receipts could have done a better job digging up information on this whole thing.