Saturday, April 5, 2014

Farmed and Dangerous Recap: Episode 3: Raising the Steaks

What is with the slightly off pop culture references on this show? In episode 3, "Raising the Steaks," (Get it?) Chip tries to tell Sophia that her father has his priorities backwards by saying that he "watches The Matrix and roots for the machines." Is anyone watching The Matrix at all these days? I mean, I love the '90's, but come on.

I should cut poor Chip a break, though. He's not himself today. His mind is on a particularly sad chapter in his Backstory. "Backstory," (as the writers clearly learned just minutes before the actors showed up to rehearse this episode,) explains how characters ended up where they are, and why they behave the way they do. Sometimes, revealing a key detail in one character's Backstory can influence how another character sees him or her. For example, Sophia's hard candy shell starts to crack when she learns that Chip's father tragically died from complications after being attacked by a boar.

And that Chip is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne
photo credit
When Chip's dad was running the show, their family farm was not an organic one, you see, and the animals were pumped full of antibiotics, so that when his wound got infected there was no way to treat it, since the boar germs had become antibiotic resistant. (Wait, can that really happen?) And that's why Chip is now a rogue sustainable farmer who doesn't over-medicate his livestock. Because inheriting a business and then immediately restructuring everything about it while continuing to make a profit is apparently a lot easier than the lady with the chickens from Food, Inc. made it look.

Sophia shows her empathy for Chip's daddy issues by eating a tomato right off the vine, and conceding that it tastes better than the ones from the supermarket.

And then we go to commercial.

Much like those surreal ad spots on AMC that feature actors from Mad Men, commercials on Farmed and Dangerous make viewers think a little harder than usual about the relationship between advertising and entertainment, and where the line is between the two.

At least once during each episode I've seen, there's been a commercial for a Special K bar that's supposed to help you lose weight. Which is something you're supposed to want to do.

And that's where I stop questioning Chipotle's motives and realizing that I know full well what those motives are. They want to set themselves apart from other fast food chains by sourcing healthier and more environmentally responsible ingredients. Everyone's got their thing that sets them apart from the competition. McDonald's has a clown. Wendy's has square hamburgers. Chipotle has the sustainability angle. And if not enough people know that they have the sustainability angle, well, they'll do whatever it takes to get the word out there, even support industrial agriculture.

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