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April 15, 2010 / Katie

Jamie Oliver’s circus show

Melissa over at Shakesville has a fantastic post up today about the Skinny Jesus Chef Jamie Oliver.

Turns out that this reality show, like pretty much all other so-called reality shows, isn’t really based in very much actual reality.

Quoting Arun Gupta, Melissa’s post says:

At the end of one episode, we hear Rhonda McCoy, director of food services for the local county, tell Jamie that he’s over budget and did not meet the fat content and calorie guidelines, but she’s going to let him continue with the “revolution” as long as he addresses these issues. What is not revealed is that the “meal cost at Central City Elementary during television production more than doubled with ABC Productions paying the excess expense,” according to a document obtained by AlterNet from the West Virginia Department of Education.

…Turns out that even with an unlimited budget, Jamie was unable to design a menu that provided a minimum number of calories while not exceeding the fat limits. A nutritional analysis of the first three weeks of meals (15 lunches) at Central City Elementary conducted by the West Virginia Board of Education flunked him on both counts. A whopping 80 percent of his lunches exceeded either the total fat or saturated fat allowance, and most of the time both, and 40 percent of his lunches provided too few calories.

Later Melissa herself notes:

Fawn Boyer, a resident of Huntington, points out: “In a town where many of the state employees are making so little income that they qualify for welfare, it’s unrealistic to expect people to be able to shop at the higher line supermarkets that offer organic foods.” Indeed so. Which means that as kids gave up the lunch program because they didn’t like Oliver’s (higher-fat, lower-calorie than the school lunches they liked) lunches, their parents had to provide alternative food on the cheap, meaning highly-processed, HFCS-riddled, high-sodium junk food.

Which, despite its limitations, the school lunch program was not serving.

So what Oliver ultimately accomplished by “staggeringly” driving more students out of the school lunch program is increased consumption of the very food that no one should be eating. Classic.

I thought these were particularly telling, but really, go read the whole thing!

Basically, all of this bolsters what anyone who has watched a trailer for this show can tell you: it’s nothing more than a fat-hating, victim-blaming, classist circus show.

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