"This is not reality TV, this is a campaign."
Well, if you watched the Season 2 opener of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," you saw a bit of both. There is a campaign mixed in with quite a bit of reality TV.
The program got off to a bad start: the DJ cast in the open was Ryan Seacrest, which Jamie Oliver didn't see as an awkward moment. Seacrest had to be the one to point out that his company is producing the TV show in question. The sincere DJ moment in Season 1 was mocked by Oliver without him even realizing what he was doing.
We know from the pre-season hype that Oliver had trouble getting into the schools at the Los Angeles Unified School District. So we were excited to see Jamie's Kitchen opening up, again a homage to Season 1. But then Oliver ruined it by inserting a commercial for Bing in the show, promoting its "health data application." Couldn't figure out what that meant. And right on cue, the first commercial in the break was for Bing.
At least it wasn't Green Giant ... for now.
From there, things got a lot better. There was the extreme: Jamie filled up a school bus with the added sugar from a week's worth of flavored milk in the LA USD — 57 tons. A cow was brought into Jamie's Kitchen. Jamie tries to revamp an independent burger place.
The bits and trimmings of the inedible meat, then separated in a washing machine, and mixed with water and ammonia — boy that was hard to watch, even if you are an omnivore.
The good moments were proof that Jamie Oliver can make a difference on television, if he ignores the crap of reality TV and focuses on the campaign.
Oliver shows what kids brought in from school food: "stewed fruit in sugar syrup," waffle, pizza, fries, a breakfast brownie, a breakfast danish. Some of the food was microwaved in a plastic sack — that didn't sounds good. He portrayed this as eating airplane food every day. Yuck!
Oliver made a grass fed burger with Greek yogurt instead of mayo (at the independent burger joint) that went from 800-1,500 calories to 455 calories. The cost for the grass-fed burger: $1.30/6 oz. patty vs. $1.75/pound for the regular stuff. Oliver made a yogurt milkshake with real strawberries, but the owner said that without ice cream, it wasn't a milkshake. The two gentlemen later got into a discussion about the amount of ice cream.
This could be an interesting subplot or a disaster, and we aren't sure which way this will go.
Oliver crashes a seminar on flavored milk — "Keep Flavored Milk from Dropping Out of School" — that encourages the consumption of flavored milk. Jamie points out that flavored milk is banned in England as well as the rest of Europe.
He probably didn't convince anyone in the room, but for the TV audience, Oliver made a smart point.
Oliver moved his family to Los Angeles, which makes you wonder if LA was picked because it's LA, as opposed to Huntington or some smaller town. A lot of this season will be drama before Oliver enters into a classroom. His time could be better spent on families, and if the opener is indicative of what is happening, he will split his time between ranting and educating.
More to come later this week on the commercials within the show. Wrapups will run on Wednesdays for the duration of the show.