HBO Max’s ‘The Way Down’ Wants to Be Your New Cult Docuseries Obsession

At first look, The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin looks as if a real crime saga that’s too wild to be true. Within the Nineteen Eighties, the late Shamblin created the Weigh Down Workshop, a weight reduction program that satisfied many ladies that the quantity on their scales was in some way correlated to their religion in Christianity. That’s an insane premise even when you don’t take note of Shamblin’s jaw-droopingly excessive hair dos. However whereas The Approach Down will grip you, the explanation why feels unintentionally unfocused. Marina Zenovich’s five-episode docuseries seeks to show the toxic underbelly of a church-based weight-loss motion that ruined the lives of many ladies. That harrowing saga simply so occurs to have a deeply distracting determine as its central topic.

It’s tough to not be instantly transfixed by the late Shamblin. There’s the superficial purpose why. As The Approach Down skips from Shamblin’s early years along with her weight-loss workshop the Weigh Right down to newer footage, her hair solely appears to develop. At one level the docuseries exhibits footage from Shamblin whereas she’s giving her testimony to police. It’s practically inconceivable to deal with the stunning accusations popping out of her mouth resulting from her gravity-defying hair. That’s simply the tip of the “what is occurring” iceberg relating to this explicit chief.

Time after time, former members of the Weigh Down criticize Shamblin, questioning her morals or implied lack thereof. She’s accused of marrying her second husband, Joe Lara, just because he was enticing and she or he had sufficient cash to gas his nation music ambitions. She’s repeatedly accused of utilizing Lara as a type of gross sales tactic for her weight-loss program. Additionally, on the wedding entrance, Shamblin is repeatedly denounced for her personal criticisms of divorce, one thing she herself did but hardly ever acknowledged. That specific hypocritical thorn seems repeatedly. Then there’s the best way Gwen Shamblin died. In March of this 12 months, Shamblin and 6 leaders from the Church of Christ, together with her husband, died when their non-public jet crashed into Percy Priest Lake in Tenn. Any a kind of particulars is odd, and if this had been some other docuseries, they might warrant their very own episode or their very own chapter. But relating to this alleged cult chief, these gasp-inducing particulars are background noise for the true horrors she orchestrated.

After listening to from its victims, it’s tough to consider the Weigh Down program as something apart from predatory. The Christian food regimen program taught its followers that meals was simply one other supply of potential sin. This concept got here from Shamblin, who claimed to be a prophet from God. Based mostly on her teachings, believers who struggled with their weight had been really selecting meals and earthly pleasures over their dedication to God. By this logic, the one technique to higher your relationship with the Lord was to be skinny. And wouldn’t , Shamblin provided an ideal weight reduction program for all of these Remnant Fellowship Church. members trying to lose a number of kilos.

There aren’t many matters which can be as triggering for the common American as faith and weight. By connecting them, the Weigh Down Workshop pitted two types of guilt about unrealistic expectations in opposition to one another, creating an ouroboros of self-hatred for these ladies. However this program’s nefarious entice didn’t cease there. As many interviewed former members attest, Shamblin additionally emphasised {that a} lady’s place within the family was to be subservient to her husband. This perception was preached to its absolute extremes. One member was hospitalized whereas attempting to maintain up with the calls for of this program. When she lastly reached out to her husband to select her up, he refused on the recommendation of the Remnant Fellowship Church leaders. His reasoning? As a result of her hospitalization was self-inflicted, he claimed that she wasn’t being respectful to him as a spouse.

The Approach Down is full of tales like these. All of them are sickening in how relentlessly exploitative they’re. Repeatedly, these ladies’s religion in God and love of their husbands and households had been used in opposition to all of them within the curiosity of constructing a fast buck. It’s a deeply upsetting saga of greed, corruption, and concern. A minimum of that’s the case when you can look previous this con’s founder and decide her based mostly on her ethical crimes.

The primary three episodes of The Approach Down can be found now, September 30, on HBO Max. The ultimate two episodes are set to premiere in early 2022. 

Where to stream The Way Down | HBO Max’s ‘The Approach Down’ Desires to Be Your New Cult Docuseries Obsession


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