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Giant Misfit

S01.E01: Episode 1

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Premieres February 3, 2020

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In 2001, FBI Agent Doug Mathews in Jacksonville clocks an intriguing post-it note that piques his interest. The anonymous tip speaks of a con surrounding the McDonald's Monopoly game and a mysterious mastermind behind it all: a man going by the moniker of "Uncle Jerry." With the help of McDonald's employee Amy Murray, the investigation, codenamed "Operation Final Answer," prompts Agent Mathews to propose an unorthodox undercover sting involving a video production crew.

From TVGuide.com

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I can’t decide whether or not to DVR this. I heard/read nothing about this con at the time. I do know that I felt like the A&P/Acme Monopoly was a huge time s- - - and, therefore, a con. And my son has an Uncle Jerry. But are those good enough reasons to watch.  

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I watched the first episode - it is entertaining and something I knew nothing about.

But, this is not fiction, it is a documentary.  It is misplaced here.

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Okay, I'm going to risk looking dumb here. Are these the actual people involved talking here, or are they actors working from a written script based on interviews with the real people?

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Loved it. I’m in! Agent Doug alone made it worth the watch. I’m sure he’s an oddity in the FBI with his out there personality. I love true crime and I remember when this story broke, can’t wait to see how they took them down. 

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Agent Doug is going to wear on my nerves I think.  He's a 'show boater' for sure.  If I had to be next to him at work, I'd request a new desk.  He's the type of 'lookit me!' blowhard that I'd walk away from at a cocktail party.  However, the first episode was pretty good.  I knew nothing about this fraud, so it's interesting.

 

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58 minutes ago, Giant Misfit said:

Agent Doug is making me not want to watch any more of this series. He seems like a complete douchebag. 

Yes, he seems amped to 11, but I'll keep watching.

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4 hours ago, BusyOctober said:

Agent Doug is going to wear on my nerves I think.  He's a 'show boater' for sure.  If I had to be next to him at work, I'd request a new desk.  He's the type of 'lookit me!' blowhard that I'd walk away from at a cocktail party.  However, the first episode was pretty good.  I knew nothing about this fraud, so it's interesting.

 

You know, people like that exist for over 3 decades or so. It happens in every work environment. Not just the FBI. I should know. I had that experience.

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Ooh, interesting twist at the end.

Agreed with the general sentiments about Agent Doug. He is....a lot, and the fact he gets bored so easily...yeah. But I did like how he got Michael to take him around to these various places as a means of further bolstering the case (and god, the bit about the guy on the beach who ran by and tried to steal the check...). I do think his personality was a good fit for this kind of case, 'cause he can get people to let their guard down real easy. 

I also love how Michael thought he was so smart and pulled one over on these people. I mean, the guy just looks like the sort who'd get involved in something like this, and "Ruthless Scoundrel"? Really? You ain't as slick as you think you are, bud. It says a lot about society and capitalism and whatnot that people thought the best way to potentially get rich was through a game tied to a fast food chain.

And I get a kick out of all the '90s music they keep throwing in. It's an odd fit. The names they tossed about for the operation were amusing, too (I was partial to "Operation Unhappy Meal", myself :p).

 I honestly have no memory of hearing about this scandal, either, which is odd, given I would've been in my late teens at the time. I'll keep watching, too, 'cause I'm curious to see just how far and how winding this case went. To think that what seemed like a simple case of game piece fraud could blow up like this, it's kind of wild. 

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3 hours ago, Giant Misfit said:

Agent Doug is making me not want to watch any more of this series. He seems like a complete douchebag. 

I kept thinking "How is this guy still working for the FBI?"   Walking into that meeting in a gold suit?  I'm surprised he didn't get fired on the spot.  It's the FBI, they're not known for their sense of humor. 

I thought the first hour was kind of jerky and unfocused in the beginning, introducing too many people that didn't have anything interesting to say.  I would have preferred more emphasis on their thought process of where the potential fraud could happen.  Why weren't they researching the first 3 winners?  It only got interesting to me when they started the undercover operation.

I never played McD's Monopoly game other than getting some free fries once.  I had no idea that you could get pieces in a People magazine.  

The twist at the end had me going "Oooooooooooooooh!" out loud.  

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6 minutes ago, Quilt Fairy said:

I had no idea that you could get pieces in a People magazine.  

Neither did I, but now they mention it, I do seem to recall that they did pop up elsewhere on occasion.

I liked the guy talking about how you could come into the restaurant and just ask for a piece, because "otherwise it's called gambling". 

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Agent Doug reminds me so much of someone I worked with for years. I went back and forth between being amused by him and hoping I could avoid him. I would have cracked up at the gold suit, but have no patience for people who don’t like “boring” stuff, because that’s usually the actual work. 
 

My husband used to eat McDonalds all the time and loved “French fry Monopoly” because he said that’s the only thing anyone ever won, heh. He felt vindicated when the story broke. 🙂 

I’ll keep watching. I love shit like this, lol. 

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9 hours ago, Stiggs said:

Agent Doug reminds me so much of someone I worked with for years. I went back and forth between being amused by him and hoping I could avoid him. I would have cracked up at the gold suit, but have no patience for people who don’t like “boring” stuff, because that’s usually the actual work. 

What I found really funny listening to the podcast is that Doug started out as an accountant.  That's why he was in the boring health care fraud stuff.  What's more boring than an accountant?

Something else from the podcast that I'm going to spoiler tag: 

Spoiler

Between 1986 and 2000, apparently everyone who won a prize of $25,000 and up was part of this fraud. 

They mentioned something about this in the episode but not in these specific terms.

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I love that this has exposed the FBI as a bunch of nerds that love puns and dad jokes. The joy on the faces of everyone whenever they talk about naming something is delightful! 

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I mean, I'm not old. I was in under grad in the 90s. I heard about this in an npr interview and I love scams and cons. Not only do I have no memory of the scam but I literally have no idea there was a monopoly game. I'm totally blanking on the commercials. 

That was actually some good solid policework. They got the wiretap went through the phone records, etc.

The film crew was a brilliant idea because you get the recording.

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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Agent Doug can be annoying but he is making this a much more entertaining documentary and one worth watching. 

If he was not in this, it would be an interesting story but pretty damn dull and stale. 

I remember the Monopoly game being an off and one part of the Mcdonalds advertising way back to the 1980s.  You'd have to collect the board pieces and get a "monopoly" to win the prizes.  I don't recall the game in question from the 90s/2000s but by then I had pretty well stopped eating at McDonalds. 

But I don't recall it being revealed as fraudulent at the time. 

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There is a dissertation level article on the whole operation on the Daily Beast. If you have a couple of hours to kill, and don’t mind spoilers, it’s worth a read. I think it may be the genesis of the renewed interest in a story that happened twenty years ago.

Doug was annoying at first, but the show would be very dry without him. He’s been an agent for over twenty years, so he must be doing something right. 

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On 2/5/2020 at 5:49 PM, Annber03 said:

 I honestly have no memory of hearing about this scandal, either, which is odd, given I would've been in my late teens at the time. I'll keep watching, too, 'cause I'm curious to see just how far and how winding this case went. To think that what seemed like a simple case of game piece fraud could blow up like this, it's kind of wild. 

Because the indictments were handed down on September 10, 2001.

Loving this story and loving Agent Doug. I love him doing drivebys to the rest of the team, hissing "undercover...undercover." He just makes me laugh.

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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2020 at 4:34 PM, Quilt Fairy said:

The twist at the end had me going "Oooooooooooooooh!" out loud.  

What was the twist?  I watched the first two episodes at once, so they kind of ran together for me...

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8 hours ago, jabinlbc said:

What was the twist?  I watched the first two episodes at once, so they kind of ran together for me...

That "Uncle Jerry" was head of Security for Simon Marketing. 

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On 2/5/2020 at 12:39 PM, Giant Misfit said:

Agent Doug is making me not want to watch any more of this series. He seems like a complete douchebag. 

Agreed 100%.  I finally watched episode 1 last night, and am really not sure about the rest.  Does he feature as prominently, or do other people take more screen time?  If there's as much of him, I think I'm out.

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1 hour ago, Scott said:

Agreed 100%.  I finally watched episode 1 last night, and am really not sure about the rest.  Does he feature as prominently, or do other people take more screen time?  If there's as much of him, I think I'm out.

He is less prominent after this episode. The next two episode focus more on the people involved than the FBI investigation. 

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Finally watched after my mom recommended it.  I wanted to wait til it was over so I could binge.

Doug was a hoot on the show but probably exhausting as a coworker. 

I knew about the game but I didn’t realize it started so early in the late 80s.  I thought it was only a late 90s-early 00s thing. 

On to part 2...

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