Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thanks Netflix! - 30 Days

So, I  recently signed up for the whole Netflix 30 day free trial, which means that I'm not going to be doing productive for the next 30 days.  Seriously, my queue is pretty stacked right now.

In an effort to try to keep Fish & Spaghetti afloat, I decide that I'd do my best to write up what I'm clearly going to be spending too much of my time watching.

And I figured that since this was a 30 day trial, it's start things with the docuseries 30 Days.

The Premise:

30 Days was a show created and hosted by Morgan Spurlock. It borrowed the premise of Spurlock's Supersize Me, where he ate McDonald's for 30 days.

Basically, each episode tackles an issue with a person on one side of that issue immersing and embedding themselves with people on the other side.  For instance a homophobe living with gay people in a gay community and a hunter living with vegan animal rights activists.

The Valleys

Given the nature of the show, there's an inherent unevenness to the series.  If you don't care about issue or if there's not an interesting conflict the episode can be a snoozer.

At times the the subjects can seem like cliched cardboard cutouts.  It's probably just the nature of debate, but it can feel like lazy casting.

Occasionally episodes end on a note similar to that of an "After School Episode" or "Very Special Episode."  Lessons are learned and everyone leaves with a greater understanding of different perspectives.  It can really feel trite and forced.  

Also Spurlock isn't as witty or funny as he thinks he is.

The Peaks

The show is surprisingly evenhanded, and goes deeper than just surface debates.  Many times the tangential topics are discussed and covered.  When Spurlock visited the Navajo Nation the episode also covered  water rights, casinos, unemployment and the complexity of the Navajo language.

Episodes are crammed with factoids.  It's rare to come away after an episode without learning at least a factoid or two about the topic at hand.

30 Days is also at it's best when it's dealing with a hot button topic like gay couples adopting, abortion and atheism.  When there are clear cut sides on the issue it makes the episode extremely watchable.

Worth Your Time?

You don't need to watch every episode, but if there's an issue you have an opinion on or are interested in I say give the episode a shot.  It's not "must watch" stuff, but there are worse ways to spend 40 minutes.

And honestly the series is only 18 episodes long, so it's not like a crazy commitment if you do watch every episode.

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