We got a reminder of the advantages and secrecy behind raw milk from a low-key comedy.
"Schitt's Creek" is a Canadian comedy hit that is seen in both the United States and Canada about a rich family that finds out its fortune had been embezzled and are forced to live in a small town they jokingly bought.
Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) uses his neighbor's raw milk without realizing what he was drinking. When Johnny is told the pint of raw milk cost $7, he sees a potential way to make some money.
Johnny seeks his superficial daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy) to help get him 12 pints of raw milk. She ends up getting him 12 large milk cans of raw milk.
Because of the size of the haul of raw milk, they attempt to sell the milk to a co-op in a truck driven by the mayor (Chris Elliott). They are rather clumsy as "criminals" and do not react well when confronted by a roadblock. The cops end up forcing them to spill the raw milk alongside the road.
The analogy between raw milk and illegal drugs makes a few appearances in the episode.
- When Johnny is told "unpasteurized milk is … illegal," he replies. "Yeah, okay, Bob, you know, I get it, but … we're not talking heroin here." Bob's reply: "Okay well, you know, maybe you're used to being on the wrong side of the law, but I for one am not going to prison. Gwen has already told me she won't wait for me, so I'm counting on you to be uh … discreet."
- Twyla (Sarah Levy), a waitress at the only restaurant in town, after Johnny says "raw milk" rather loudly at the restaurant. "Shhh! You would make a terrible drug dealer, Mr. Rose."
- Alexis tells her father a story that mentions raw milk and drugs: "Okay, I had a friend in Venice Beach who sold raw milk, and his entire compound was raided. I mean, he also sold drugs, but like …"
- "And because you know if anybody can navigate the dark underworld of the raw milk game, it's me," the mayor said. "You said it was a milk co-op," Johnny replied. "Uh, it is, but these raw milk guys can be loose cannons," the mayor noted.
Twyla shares a story about a bad experience with black market milk. "Granted, I bought it from a man I later found out was a drifter. Anyway, it made a lot of people sick, and I am almost positive now it wasn't cow's milk. … It might've been elk's milk. Is elk's milk a thing?"
Raw milk is illegal in Canada. The United States has a number of states where raw milk is illegal; some states have a patchwork of complicatedly worded laws concerning access to raw milk. "Schitt's Creek" takes place in Canada though the show doesn't make it that obvious to an American audience.
Johnny starts out by saying the raw milk is "very tasty." Besides the health benefits of raw milk, you do have a sense of earthiness in raw milk; the quality of grass makes a difference.
The drug analogy would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that raw milk is treated worse than illegal drugs. The Venice Beach example hit home for those who remember the Colbert Report story on raw milk. In 2010, the Colbert Report reported on gun-wielding police officers who crashed into a health food store in Venice, CA over raw milk. You might remember that segment because the show labeled the footage with phrases such as: "Actual Footage" "Yes, this happened" "Seriously, Google it" and "This is Real."
The Twyla example was rather weird but didn't have the usual diligence that farmers have over raw milk. Just because the milk is "black market" doesn't mean it's raw milk.
The last time we saw raw milk on a U.S. TV show was "Mad Men" when Betty Draper chaperoned a field trip to a farm on a show set in the late 1960s. "Schitt's Creek" is set in the present in a land where raw milk is illegal, yet people are drinking it.
We have not said nor will ever say that raw milk doesn't have drawbacks, especially in very young and very old consumers. But a world where medium-rare burgers and raw milk is illegal might be "safe" but not helpful for adults to make their own choices.
Schitt's Creek airs on Pop TV in the United States Wednesdays at 8 pm Eastern and CBC in Canada Tuesday nights at 9 pm local time. Season 2 is done in Canada but the season is still going in the United States. You also might find the episode On Demand.
images credit: CBC/Pop TV