Bad Vegan Trailer: Your Standard Tale Of Theft, Immortality, And Meat Suits

We love our messy documentaries, don't we folks? Love to see the backslide of all evolutionary skills that teach us to detect and respond to threats, by watching the likes of the lowbrow "Catfish" series to the increasingly bizarre web of manipulation in the "Evil Genius" heist doc, all the way up to the ambitious meditations on fragile egos in the big cat world of "Tiger King" on Netflix. It's the latter that's hooked viewers on its observations of the now-incarcerated Joe Exotic and his nemesis, animal welfare activist Carole Baskin; the series has enjoyed multiple spinoff episodes on characters like Doc Antle, as much a predator as any of the felines he wrangles in his backyard. Among all of these characters is a running thread of greed and insatiable narcissism wielded by a cadre of lonely bad actors, an element sure to be found in the next project from the producers of "Tiger King."

"Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives." is the latest true crime docuseries to hit Netflix, following its current number one-streamed crime show, "The Tinder Swindler." Over four episodes, "Bad Vegan" unravels the tangled web of the New York culinary scene and one of its only fugitives, Sarma Melngailis. Melngailis was once the celebrity restaurateur behind the East Coast spot Pure Food and Wine, where Alec Baldwin and other celebrities would go to see and be seen. Her meteoric rise as the new royalty of vegan cuisine crashes and burns into humiliating deceit when Sarma falls for a mysterious man with empty, bizarre promises. Millions of dollars exchange shady hands, pet love is taken to new heights, and there's vague involvement of a "meat suit," an outfit likely too strange to be glimpsed in the trailer, which can be seen below.

"The vegan Bernie Madoff"

The "Bad Vegan" trailer wastes no time in laying down some power dynamics: a voiceover, presumably between Melngailis and the conman who went down with her, illuminates just how much she was in his grasp. The male voice asserts with all of the confidence of a seasoned abuser: "If I tell you to take all of your money out of the bank, and light it on fire ... do it." 

Once Melngailis met a slick scammer named Anthony Strangis, she tumbled into grift and excess which went up to 11 once the pair married. Among his promises to his bride, in exchange for her money and loyalty, was that he would make both Melngailis and her beloved pet dog immortal. After a spree of grand larceny and tax fraud, the couple was arrested in a Tennessee hotel after allegedly ordering some vehemently non-vegan Domino's Pizza. The series is directed by Chris Smith, whose 2019 documentary, "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened," must be seen on Netflix to be believed, so it's a sure bet that the filmmaker can wrangle the bonkers tale of "Bad Vegan."

"Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives." premieres on March 16, 2022 on Netflix.