The second season of Jamie’s Food Revolution premiered on ABC Tuesday, in the 8 p.m. slot for some Godawful, unknown reason. Why would you schedule a food/health show opposite Biggest Loser?!?! Thankfully, the whole season is being put up on Hulu the day after airing, so I was able to watch last night. You can watch the ep now, if you missed it:
So, basically, it’s the same idea as season one, but tackling a MUCH bigger market – Los Angeles. I actually find his choice kind of funny. While, yes, there’s obesity here just like any other part of the U.S., California is actually much healthier than most major U.S. cities – there’s a huge healthy-living set here, and ready access to fruits and vegetables year-round. That said, if Jamie focuses on low-income neighborhoods of L.A., that’s another story — that’s where there is a HUGE deficit in the city.
But the first episode’s focus is on how no one in L.A. seems to care — the Los Angeles public schools won’t let him in, and almost no one shows up to his marketing stunt to demonstrate how much sugar is in flavored milk. Jamie does a very icky food demonstration with leftover cow bits and ammonia, and analyzes the packed school breakfasts and lunch that some concerned parents bring it (and it is pretty vile).
Next, Jamie goes for the fast food industry. The only fast food restaurant that will “let him in” is a mom-and-pop owned one call Patras. Jamie is appalled to find they use fruit-flavored syrup instead of actual fruit in the milkshakes, and have no clue where there beef comes from. The owner rejects Jamie’s fresh-strawberries & yogurt “milkshake” because, he points out, “without ice cream it’s not milkshake, it’s a smoothie.” I kind of agree, in the strictest sense of the term — if you’re an Americana, old-fashioned fast food burger joint, yeah, you’re not going to budge on making your milkshake with/without ice cream.
I hate to side against Jamie, but his segment with the fast food owner is a bit ridiculous — Patras clientele doesn’t seem like rich folk, so of course they’re not going to pay $4.89 for a “better quality” burger when they can get what they’ve been eating for $2.89. Getting fresh fruit for milkshakes is costly, and you have to worry about seasonality, too. That said, yeah, three scoops of ice cream is a bit much. (I, too, think of a yogurt fruit mix as a smoothie, btw) None of the big chains would let Jamie in — no surprise. I think it’s those national chains that should and some of which ARE making changes to their menu to include healthy items — they can afford it, first of all. One-off mom-and-pop places? I think it’s a bit much to ask that they remove things that have been on the menu for 50 years.
Personally, instead of going after a little fast food place like this, I’d rather focus on the serious issue in L.A. and other places across the country — that the cheapest, most affordable food for many people IS fatty fast food. It’s not just about changing their menus. It’s working to change the system from the bottom up, so better food is more affordable. That’s a tall order, but not impossible. Instead of spending $$$ on a showy demonstration involving a school bus, 25 tons of sugar and heavy lifting equipment, why not offset the cost of better quality meat/veg/fruits for a small town for a year? THAT would make a difference — a lot of those mom-and-pop places *would* use better quality meat, etc. if it wouldn’t effect their bottom line.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Should be an interesting second season, with the challenges Jamie is facing. Will the show, once again, pale in comparison to Jamie’s School Dinners? He’s definitely doing the preachy thing again, so we’ll see…
Anyone else watching? Did the first ep bring up any thoughts, issues?