Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Inseparable Insufferables

I can think of a few reasons why I like Morgan Spurlock.

For example, the man can take an obvious nutritional assumption — that eating McDonald's is bad for you — and then prove it in an entertaining way. (He can also force McDonald's to revamp their menu, go healthier and start a weird urban marketing campaign in which every TV commercial has black people and skyscrapers in every shot. But that's beside the point.)

I also like Morgan Spurlock because he's one of the few people trying to classy up the reality show as a genre. His new FX series, "30 Days," is totally worth the time it takes to watch. And I guess you could argue that his show leans to far left to be widely appealing — Christian guy makes friends with Muslims, homophobe makes friends with gay people, city mice make friends with tree huggers — but I'm interested to see what the show's next season will do.

But the reason I have the most respect for Morgan Spurlock at the moment is the "30 Days" season finale. Much like "Supersize Me," the episode dealt with a mom who becomes a binge drinker in order to demonstrate to her dumbtwat alkie daughter that her drinking could have more of a negative impact on her than she realizes. As filler footage, Spurlock used shots of drunken college students ambling about in Isla Vista. He talked to them about how much they drink and why the drink whether they think the binge drinking affects them negatively. Importantly, though, Spurlock never says that he's in I.V. or that the kids he's talking to are UCSB students.

Anyone who's spent even a little time in the area would recognize it as being I.V. right away. The backgrounds are very obviously Del Playa and Pardall. Furthermore, the students most likely were UCSB students. But Spurlock had the forethought not to further associate UCSB and drunken debauchery. He didn't have to, so he didn't. That seems logical, but it's a connection that escapes the types who run shows like "Dateline" and 20/20," which use any excuse to drag UCSB's name through the mud. And for that omission, I approve of this affable documentarian.

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