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30 Days


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Ever wonder what a reality show would be like if it didn't appeal to the worst in people or to the lowest common denominator? It's called 30 Days.

 

30days.jpg

 

I know many of you here expressed dislike for Morgan Spurlock and his hit documentary, Super Size Me, but I think the guy is great, and this show takes on a similar premise to th movie.

 

In Super Size Me, Spurlock went thirty days eating nothing but McDonald's food. In each episode of this show, people are made to live in a situation unfamiliar or uncomfortable for them for thirty days, usually with three ground rules for each episode. Spurlock himself participates as the subject in one episode per season (in two for the third season supposedly). There have only been 6 episodes per season and the third season is being produced but it's air dates are unannounced, so with only 12 episodes, I'll give the setup and ground rules as well as my personal review of each episode. I recommend downloading any episodes you find interesting from my desprictions.

 

101 - Minimum Wage

 

Features Spurlock and his fiancee go to 'The Bottoms' neighborhood in Colombus, Ohio with the clothes on their back and $300 and try to live on minimum wage.

 

Rules:

  1. They have to work minimum-wage jobs.
  2. They must start off with only one week's minimum wage pay (about $300).
  3. They must get rid of all their credit cards and other money.

Good first episode. Takes to task the assertion that minimum wage is a real living wage. It's interesting to see how money troubles, even in this limited time span, becomes the source of lots of fighting between the couple.

 

102 - Anti-Aging

 

Features a 34-year-old guy who was in good shape in high school but since marrying has gained weight and stopped exercising. This guy goes on a heavy regiment of testosterone and human growth hormone and physical training to attempt to reverse the effects of aging.

 

Rules:

  1. He must take daily injections of growth hormones and other medications.
  2. He must eat better and get exercise.
  3. He must get weekly checkups from his doctor.

The amount of pills this guy took on a weekly basis quickly did a number of his liver. While I don't think that aspect was handled well, it was funny to see his wife get jealous of his personal trainer. My least favorite episode so far.

 

103 - Muslims and America

 

A West Virginia Christian man goes to live in a Muslim home in Dearborn, Michigan (a city with an over 30% Muslim Arab population, the densest Arab Muslim community in the world outside of the Middle East).

 

Rules:

  1. He must act accordingly with all Muslim traditions, from what he wears to what he eats.
  2. He must study the Qur'an daily.
  3. He must grow a beard.

One of the better episodes, but I may be biased as I like the subject of religion. The guy is pretty uncomfortable at first, but come to see more similarity between himself and his Muslim hosts than differences, and returns to WV to see his former self in the questions his family asked him about his time there.

 

104 - Straight Man in a Gay World

 

A self-described conservative Christian man who proclaims that "America's way of life is under attack" spends 30 days in The Castro district of San Francisco, probably the single gayest street in the whole world. He gets a job that caters to gay clientele, goes to gay church services, and lives with a gay roommate and socializes with his friends.

 

One of the funnier episodes. He spends alot of time talking about how he won't hold back on beating up any gay men that hit on him, but when he goes to a club and gets a few drinks in him, he goes up and dances with gay guys, and grinds up on them. He gets upset when a guy takes a handful of his man piece, but is in no state to fight.

 

105 - Off the Grid

 

Two nightclub employees go to live on a "ecovillage" commune with no electricity, phone service or internet access.

 

Rules:

  1. They must leave cars, electricity, and live completely off the grid.
  2. They must engage in manual labor.
  3. They must recycle everything, including their human waste products.

I don't have to explain why this one has comedic potential. Solid episode.

 

106 - Binge Drinking Mom

 

A mother concerned that her college age daughter is drinking too much, begins a binge drinking regiment to show her daughter what it's like to see a family member go through the experience of alcohol excess.

 

Rules:

  1. The mother must drink as much as a college student at least four days a week.
  2. To count as "binge drinking," the mother must drink at least four drinks in two hours.
  3. She must go about her daily schedule as normal, despite sickness or hangovers.

This episode did fit the same mold as the others, and it is a bit weak as a result.

 

201 - Immigration

 

An anti-immigration Minuteman (who patrols the US border calling in border crossers to authorities) who is himself an immigrate (came from Cuba as a child) goes to live with a family of illegal Mexican immigrants in East LA.

 

Rules:

  1. Leave any and all identification behind.
  2. Move in with a family of immigrants and live in their house.
  3. He will be put to work as a day laborer.

This is an intense episode, and perhaps my favorite. The Minuteman intensely detests the family at first. He admits he wants to call INS when he finishes his 30 Days. I'm glad they got a Cuban to live with the family, because there was no language barrier and it allowed him to relate to them as personally as possible. The episode lays bare the human side of the issue and had me in tears at one point.

 

202 - Outsourcing

 

One of two episodes I have yet to watch. It's basically about a computer programmer who losses his job to outsourcing to India, so he goes to India to work for Indian wages.

 

Rules:

  1. Chris must relocate to India.
  2. Chris must live with a family that works in outsourced jobs.
  3. Chris must train and work in an outsourced job.

203 - Religious Perception

 

A firm atheist stay-at-home mom goes to live in a home of Devout Christians.

 

Rules:

  1. Must live with a family of devout Christians.
  2. Must go to Church once a week.
  3. Must go to Bible Study once a week.

I thought this episode had a lot of missed potential. Firstly, the atheist mom was raised Christian, so all the church going and such wasn't really an alien experience for her. It was really atheism that was alien to the Christian family, and they got to stay in their comfort zones for the most part. Secondly, there was alot of discussion of morals and such, and I wish that the atheist mother would have said "What does any of that have to do with whether or not God is real or not." It did not occur to her to defend her lack of belief by saying that question of morality don't really have any effect on whether or not God is real or not. Oh well. Good episode nonetheless.

 

204 - New Age

 

The other episode I have yet to watch. A stress out salesman tries new age stuff.

 

Rules:

  1. Tom has to accept a life coach as his spiritual mentor and advisor.
  2. He must open his consciousness and release his body to new age healers.
  3. He must attend and participate in a variety of new age rituals.

205 - Abortion

 

A very pro-choice 29 year old female counselor from an abortion clinic goes to live at a Christian crisis pregnancy center (a place where single moms can come to live during and after pregnancy for as long as they need as long as they are working to be able to eventually provide for themselves and their children independently).

 

Rules:

  1. Must move in to a religious, pro-life crisis pregnancy center
  2. Must obey house rules
  3. Must participate in pro-life activities

I really liked this episode because it choose to place the abortion clinic worker not with an all-talk no-walk pro-lifer, but a reverend who took the pro-life message to heart, from womb to tomb. The couple running the center dedicated their lives to creating real solutions for women so that they can survive with their choice to carry a child to term. As I expected, neither then abortion clinic worker of the reverend had a change of heart of the issue, but the clinic worker was definitely effected more profoundly by her stay.

 

206 - Jail

 

Spurlock spends thirty days in jail.

 

Rules:

  1. Must be treated exactly the same as all other inmates
  2. Must spend 72 hours in solitary confinement
  3. Limited to two visits only from friends or family outside

This episode went in with one major inherit problem. If its possible to capture genuine reality without the presence of cameras effecting that reality, it is certainly not possible in jail. That said, you learn the stories of alot of addicts who can't break the cycle and dependency involved with prison life, and are not able to cope with life outside of prison. It's a interesting episode, even if its aim was greater than its reach.

Edited by Reverend Jax
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Well as i've said, i've seen the first one, and i really really liked it, it was a good depiction at how bad the living conditions are to those people who live independantly and scrape minimum wage, they struggled for rent, when they had to go to hospital it put them about 2k into the red and they were generally miserable and as far as i can remember, in a really cruddy part of the city they were living in.... It did make me want to watch more of it but like so many good tv shows i totally forgot about it..

 

I'll do one for each episode i watch...

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  • 4 months later...

I saw this trailer...

 

 

and it compelled me to check on the status of Season 3 of 30 Days. Seems it was slated to premiere 2 month ago, but there's been no news since it was pushed back. The first episode will involve an avid, adamant hunter living among animal activists (that's alot of A's!). Another one is rumored to be like the Straight/Gay one, except instead of gays in Castro, it'd be a gay couple with 4 adopted kids.

 

I saw the Outsourcing episode since posting my first review, but still haven't seen the New Age one.

 

DoJ, got any reviews?

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I saw this trailer...

 

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and it compelled me to check on the status of Season 3 of 30 Days. Seems it was slated to premiere 2 month ago, but there's been no news since it was pushed back. The first episode will involve an avid, adamant hunter living among animal activists (that's alot of A's!). Another one is rumored to be like the Straight/Gay one, except instead of gays in Castro, it'd be a gay couple with 4 adopted kids.

 

I saw the Outsourcing episode since posting my first review, but still haven't seen the New Age one.

 

DoJ, got any reviews?

 

The new age one wasn't particularly exciting, the guy liked it and his girlfriend hated it for a couple days but by day 10 they were both in love with it.

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Yeah, that was my feeling about the New Age episode, I figured it'd be on par with the muscle building one. My favorite one was the Immigration one. I doubt any Hondonian could watch it and not think of Joel.

 

Glad I'm not the only one who did that, though I think the guy in the show was a tad bit more agreeable.

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ASC, you rule.

 

Jax- I think Cj had found a season two torrent, but in case I'm making up things in my head, ASC totes has a link for you guys. as... as you can read. up above me. hmmmmm

 

haha. I'm sillers tonight.

 

Haven't had a chance to watch any of it yet, but as far as I know we have seasons on and two on the compy. Just gotta sit down and watch it.

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Watched some eps in random order... I watched the anti ageing one, which i found kinda disturbing, for some reason, that pro 'roids doctor seemed very pushy to me, no idea why, i just didn't like him, kinda weak ep, but still good.

 

The off the grid episode was brilliant, probably the best one yet, just their reactions to some of the things, and it was cool at the end to see the chick really digging some of the stuff, like her own food growing and what not.

 

The jail one i didn't like, purely because i find spurlock annoys me, and is a seemingly terrible judge of characters. I see him soon enough being a ginger michael moore...

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Yeah, I didn't care much for that episode, but the episode was about making the daughter realize what it's like to see a family member to that to themselves, so she could understand what she was putting her mother through.

 

Seen any others you liked?

Edited by Reverend Jax
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