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In Requiem for a Dream, Sara Goldfarb receives a phone call and later a letter purporting to be from the television station offering her an appearance on the Juice By Tappy show. It's heavily implied that this is a scam: it's too good to be true, Sara was never expecting to be contacted (she doesn't recognise the Malin & Block company name on the phone call), there's no reason the show would contact an unknown fan who never applied, Harry is immediately very suspicious upon hearing of the offer, she never ends up on the show and the real television station staff call the police when she arrives at the office.

Let me get this straight - as the scammer, I identify vulnerable people, send them a fake phone call and application form, emphasise that they don't need to send any money, get the application form back and then do nothing beyond that. How was this scam supposed to work if no money was ever involved? I can only think of identity theft.

Some other viewers have tried to answer this by noting that Sara's return envelope doesn't have any stamps on it, which leads to a bewildering variety of speculation:

  • This could simply be a meaningless (but very noticeable) oversight by the prop department because someone as obsessed as Sara would never have forgotten to put a stamp on the envelope and at least one of her friends would have noticed.
  • This could be an actual in-story mistake by Sara, so nothing further happened because her return envelope never arrived, so there were some further steps that were missed out.
  • This could be a stampless prepaid envelope that came with the application form, so there was no mistake (either by Sara or the prop department), so everything we see in the film is the entire plan with no further steps required.

However, all of this is viewer speculation. Is there any official answer about how the scam makes any sense as portrayed in the film? Was this thwarted by the lack of stamps or did everything happen as planned?

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    For me the it was a lie she told so she could justify taking pills. But due to how they work she started to believe it herself. Nov 5 '20 at 12:51
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY I don't think it was completely made up by Sara. She received the first phone call well before she took any drugs or hallucinated.
    – Brian Cham
    Nov 6 '20 at 19:26
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This question could potentially lead to a long and rambling answer so I'll try to keep it short and sweet.


Regarding the postage...

The envelope that Sara mailed in didn't need postage. The following is a screenshot of what she mailed in, followed by a higher quality image of that envelope template --

enter image description here Envelope that Sara mailed in to the TV show.

enter image description here Higher quality image of template.

As you can see in the top right, it specifies that no postage is needed if mailed within the United States.


Regarding the TV show itself...

The TV show itself isn't meant to be a scam; it's a self help, 'Tony Robbins', kind of program. The main format of the show (aside from just chanting "we've got a winner") is to feature people who have improved their lives by following the three 'rules' of the program:

  1. No refined sugars
  2. No red meat
  3. No orgasms (mentioned in bonus content on DVD)

The original package Sara received and that she and her friends filled out was a real and genuine application to appear on the show. However, in preparation to appear on the show Sara takes 'diet pills' that are really just speed (deduced by Harry, a credible source on this topic); and, as time goes by the pills and Sara's lack of eating drive her insane.


So, in conclusion...

The TV program is genuine; Sara did actually apply to be on the show; her postage was correct; the TV show never deemed her worthy of being on the show; Sara drove herself crazy by abusing her 'diet pills' and was only on the show in her fantasies.


P.s. The TV show is called Month of Fury and is ran by Tappy Tibbons, if you want to do some further searching/reading about it.

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    Great answer. I would add that the scam is not the letter. The scam is the show itself. A pre-paid postage envelope has a code on it that can be traced back to a particular company or account. That way, the postal service knows what company to charge for the postage. It is not free. So, the company is real. The scam is the show itself. It brings people on to promote a system or program that you have to constantly feed money in order to receive the information necessary to achieve success,
    – Dean F.
    Nov 8 '20 at 14:44
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    The caller actually does not identify which show she will be on, but he refers to her as a contestant.
    – Yorik
    Nov 11 '20 at 18:55

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