Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Farmed and Dangerous Recap: Episode 1: Oiling the Food Chain

It may surprise you to learn that a show that ran for exactly four episodes, went straight to Hulu, and is very little more than a commercial for a fast food chain, is terrible.

Then again, it may not.

The show in question is "Farmed and Dangerous," Chipotle's satire of the agriculture industry. Silly me, I actually had high hopes for the series, before I thought it through. What I figured had a shot at being something like a fictionalized Food, Inc., felt more like a painfully extended Public Service Announcement with some awkward and poorly written adult humor thrown in for "plot."

We open on our protagonist, Buck Marshall, played by Ray Wise with the same level of over-the-top cartoon grumpiness that he brings to his role as Robin Scherbatsky, Sr. on How I Met Your Mother. Buck is president of the Industrial Food Image Bureau, which is pretty much a PR firm for big ag. His client, a large scale rancher of some kind, (I meant to watch the episode a second time and get the details right but it's just so bad please don't make me) has genetically engineered cows to the point that they can digest feed made out of  crude oil, and charges Buck's firm with the task of spinning the news to the American people in a way that will make them want to buy more hamburgers. The main selling point on the "Petro-Pellets" is that when the cows are eating oil, it means they're not eating corn anymore. And we all know how the dirty hippy enemies of industrial agriculture love to hate on corn.

Then we meet the people who work for Buck, in a scene where they sit around a meeting table wondering if their boss is giving his secretary "the t-bone," because if there's anything this show loves more than a sex pun, it's a food pun.

From here, it's all downhill like eroding topsoil. We meet Buck's daughter Sophia, who is sent out by her father/boss to track down family farm activist Chip Randolf, and get him to stop giving Buck's client bad press all over this new thing the kids call the internet. (If there's anything this show loves more than a sex pun combined with a food pun, it's a joke about the internet. Unless I missed the part where it's supposed to be set in 1998, these jokes Just. Don't. Work.) Chip refuses, but somehow falls immediately in love with Sophia's arrogance and big city fashion sense, thus entangling all the characters together so that they can wittily spar at each other for three more episodes.

Have you been watching Farmed and Dangerous? If so, do you think I'm being too hard on it? And if not...come on. It'll be fun. Whaddaya say?

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