Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Food Revolution (Episode 4): Reality TV Rears Its Ugly Head

Sometimes, in spite of all the positive messages presented, the fact that “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” is a reality television series rears its ugly head.

Jamie Oliver stands in front of a wall with 1000 small photos

Photo: ABC.com

In episode 4 of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Jamie needs to teach 1,000 people to cook in only 3 days to win a bet with a local radio personality.

Sometimes, even amid all the hoopla and positive reaction, the fact that “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” is a reality television series rears its ugly head.

For the most part, these individual moments are easy to pass over because what’s happening on the grander scale is both more important and more enjoyable.

Reality Show Clichés

Sadly, the positive moments in this week’s episode were almost completely overwhelmed by the clichéd, “hey, it’s a TV show!” moments.

The crux of the episode is that local radio host, Rod, for whatever reason, has angry streak that makes him hate good ideas and nice people trying to better the world all the same.

Even after various appearances on Rod’s radio show, the most popular in town, Jamie still finds himself on the outs with the voice of Huntington. So they make a bet: If Jamie can get 1,000 people to come to his downtown kitchen and cook a healthy meal, he wins; if he cannot, Rod wins.

From there, the events unfold exactly like anyone who has ever watched an uplifting reality series would assume: Rod initially tries to subvert Jamie’s 1,000 people in three days plan using the power of the radio, ranting on about how the city of Huntington doesn’t need Jamie Oliver because they have “more important” things to worry about.

And after the first day of mild success, Jamie takes Rod on a little journey through Huntington that opens his eyes! AND THEN Ron does a complete 180 and comes to love Jamie and his revolution! All is well.

For The Best In The End?

But seriously, c’mon. As straight terrifying as some of the scenes with Rod and Jamie were – most notably the trip to see the extra-large, bigger-than-my-Toyota-Corolla caskets – for the first time, I felt like I was being a little manipulated as a viewer.

I get that it was all part of a plan to manipulate, er, I mean strongly convince Rod, but it was just too obvious. And again, I’m sure there have been other parts of the series that did similar things, but they were at least disguised a bit more.

In the end, it WAS for the best. Jamie got his 1,000 people – number 1,000 just happened to be Rod, of course – and he scored a boatload of positive coverage in the process.

Not only did Rod bring his radio show to Jamie’s Kitchen, but even “Good Morning America” and the governor of West Virginia himself showed up.

So, in the end, big win for Jamie’s Kitchen and the movement! It’s just too bad we had to be slapped in the face a little bit to get there.

What Do You Think?

Did the producers go too far in playing up the drama in this week’s episode? or was it all worth it for the additional media coverage and positive reaction in the end? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Cory Barker was an intern with Earth Eats last summer and is currently a journalism student at Indiana University and aspiring television critic and scholar. You can follow him on Twitter (@corybarker) or read his blog “Weekend Watchers” on the Indiana Daily Student website.

Cory Barker

Cory Barker is a summer intern for Earth Eats and senior IU student from Hartford City, Indiana. He is double majoring in journalism and communication and culture with a minor in business.

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  • erin

    if people believe the fact that a french fry is considered a vegatable (as our government proclaims it is) then the show needs to get the point across any way it can. i think this message no matter how hokey it is delivered, is absolutley critical to our countrys health and wellness. so many people are up in arms about universal health care but have no problems with our food production and the industry standards. shame on us for taking the easy way out. how this show made it on air without being shut down by the agriculture department i have no clue. go jamie go

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