While I did enjoyed Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, released theatrically back in 2004, it offered obvious results in circus side-show style format. I kind of took it as Jack Ass-lite–a stupid guy (Spurlock) doing something stupid with stupid and not so shocking consequences–eat like shit and you’re going to get fat and feel bad. It was simple-minded if/then entertainment.
Now, the man who became famous (well, semi-famous) for proving that yes, gorging on excessive amounts of McDonald’s food will greatly contribute to obesity and other health-related issues, launches the second season of his mildly successful, liberally biased, reality/documentary series 30 Days tonight on FX. Spurlock, a sort of thinner, hipper version of Michael Moore minus the dry wit, continues as the show’s creator and host.
I’ve only seen a couple of episodes from last years’ inaugural season, but Spurlock, being a liberally liberal guy politically and socially, definitely skews his show to reflect what he believes people should accept and tolerate. Discussing such issues as Muslims in America, poverty, alcoholism, and more, Spurlock tends to rely on emotion rather than facts to drive his point home. And since we as human beings tend to hurtle ourselves into the void based upon what our empathic selves tell us, 30 Days probably accomplishes what Spurlock intends: emotional violence in his viewers.
Those who aren’t so easily manipulated may just look upon Spurlock’s series as a more pretentious version of Wife Swap–white trash dressed up to appear smart and magnanimous.
Tonight’s premiere episode, titled “Immigration,” will focus on the current hot-button, nation-wide issue of illegal immigration. Right off the bat, Spurlock has slanted the topic by referring to it simply as immigration rather that illegal-immigration, which is what it’s really focusing on. Anyway, here’s the episode description.
Participant: Frank George
Occupation: Electronic Technician
Resides: Mojave, California
Frank George, who legally immigrated with his family from Cuba to the U.S. when he was 7 years old–has staunch anti-illegal immigration views. He believes the U.S. military should man all borders and is a member of the Minutemen, a volunteer group that patrol’s the country’s borders.
For 30 days, Frank will live with a family of mixed status who fled their native Mexico in 1995. He will share a one-bedroom apartment with Rigorberto and Patty Gonzales and their children: Uriel, 22; Armida, 17; Ricardo, 11; and Karina, 10. Since Ricardo and Karina were born in the U.S., they are American citizens. Their parents and siblings are illegal immigrants.
During Frank’s 30 day experience, he will work with Rigorberto as a handyman, attend a pro-immigration rally, and travel to the Gonzales’ home in Mexico.
The Gonzales family name is a pseudonym used in this episode in accordance with the family’s request that their real names not be disclosed.
I’m looking forward to see how Spurlock will “educate” me during the 48 minute running-time of this show. Since I know nothing about the participants, I can’t say at this point if he stacked the deck for his favorable outcome, but I think it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the actual issue of illegal immigration will be overly simplified, and probably trivialized to tell the greater, emotional story in this episode. I’m all quivery with anticipation.