June 16, 2008
Animal rights activists generally don’t fare well on reality TV. I specifically remember an episode ABC’s Wife Swap that had a raw-food eating, animal rights activist mom trade homes with a mom whose family hunts and eats “game.” Both families have their quirks, but the vegan took the (raw) cake with her claims that she had trained her body to get nutrients from the sun. Yup, that makes us look normal.
But I have higher hopes for the episode of 30 Days that will air Tuesday, June 17 on FX. The third installment in this season of Morgan Spurlock’s show—playing off the concept in his movie Supersize Me, people (occasionally Morgan himself) try something for 30 days to see how it affects their life—will feature a hunter from North Carolina moving in with a vegan family in Los Angeles for 30 days.
Spurlock’s show differs from many other reality shows in that it tends to approach issues by setting preconceived notions aside. The point of the show is to learn what it’s like to live a different lifestyle, not to humiliate the participants. Plus, because Spurlock’s wife, Alexandra Jamieson, is a vegan chef, he knows what veganism is about. This makes me confident the show will avoid blatant stereotypes or simplifying the people involved into caricatures.
Avid hunter George Snedeker will be living in the Karpel family home. Melissa Karpel is a Campaign Coordinator for PETA, and Snedeker will join her for a protest at a fast-food restaurant. He’ll also get the chance to work at a farm animal rescue shelter and meet with other nonprofits dedicated to animal rights. I hope that it’s a good experience for both Karpel and Snedeker—it’s rare for two people with seemingly opposite ideals to be able to come together in an open way and learn about each other.
Check back next week when associate editor Amy Spitalnick shares her thoughts on the episode. Amy spent some time with Karpel on the VT-sponsored Taste of Health Cruise this spring, and is looking forward to seeing how she is portrayed on the program. Set your Tivo, and let us know what you thought about the episode!
—Lisa Barley, Associate Editor/Web Editor