I finally got around to watching the first two episodes of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution last night. I have to say, I found it thought-provoking and engaging. I even laughed out loud a few times. Sure, there’s some melodrama, but when you consider the fact that reality TV may be one of the best ways to reach an audience that’s been desensitized to desperation, extreme stupidity, violence and the like, it actually seems pretty smart to hype it up a bit. And besides, it’s hard not to love Jamie Oliver.
However, Marion Nestle makes a good point on her blog, Food Politics: “Remember, this is reality TV, not a real school intervention. Real ones start at the beginning of a semester, not in the middle, and are about food, not entertainment.”
I kind of wish I could be less cynical and see the show through the eyes of someone who watches a lot of reality TV and/or doesn’t know much about nutrition. I found myself wondering whether the consumption of copious amounts of pizza, chicken nuggets, and fried foods were just for the camera and whether the kids were told to spit out their food or enthusiastically raise their hands for junk. Is it really possible that school children don’t know what a potato is?
What’s most horrifying to me is that while I’m sure some stuff is exaggerated through editing and such, a lot is based on very real situations occurring all over the country. That the burying of a deep fryer should be such a symbolic event for a family says a lot. Hell, that it should even occur to the script-writing powers that be that the deep fryer is enough of a problem it needs to be buried says even more. I hope this show can open people’s eyes a bit more and motivate them to make changes.
Now the cynic kicks in and says, “Fat f***ing chance,” but I don’t believe it’s a truly hopeless cause…I guess I’ll keep tuning in.