Stuff You Should Like*: 30 Days
*but probably don't.
I've decided to start a new feature here at the Reign of Error called "Stuff You Should Like*" -- and yeah, that's an asterisk at the end. Because the sub-title (above) is the only reason worth writing about it. There's no reason to persuade people that Lost, Iron Man or an iPod are particularly great. This, they know.
But some other things fly under the radar, as it were, and that's just not right. So, let's kick it off with Morgan Spurlock's documentary show 30 Days.
You may remember Spurlock from his film Super Size Me, and he's brought the same questioning wit to this show which is on FX. The show revolves around a person - sometimes Spurlock, often not - who takes 30 days to do something that generally challenges their beliefs or at least places them in a completely new environment.
Sometimes, it's Spurlock being in prison for 30 days, or working in a West Virginia coalmine. The big issues are all there - mountain top removal, black lung, the dangers of prison - but of course, it's the smaller things that personalize this. Spurlock manages to make his points about systems or practices he considers unfair by showing things to you instead of simply telling you about it.
But where the show really shines is when it takes other people who have rigid people structures, and places them in essentially the exact opposite world for 30 days. With the caveat that these rigidly thinking people are at least open-minded enough to try the experiment, it's always fascinating.
In seasons past, it's been a devout Christian who lives with a Muslim family in a Muslim community and learns that they aren't all that different in the important ways. Another was someone who marched against gay rights who went and lived with a same sex couple in the Castro district of San Francisco. And yes, learned that they aren't the spawn of Satan.
This season, highlights have been former Broncos cornerback Ray Crockett living in a wheelchair for 30 days to see the impact of injuries common in his former profession, which made me really gain a lot of respect for Crockett who said it changed his life.
Two other shows have been important, I think, this season in that one of them didn't work out (the person simply refused to change her mind, or even do real questioning - and that made a great hour of TV, even if it speaks poorly to her).
The other, which aired just last week, was with a woman who shared my liberal gun control sentiment went and lived with gun nuts and came away with a changed attitude. The one critique the show could justifiably have is that very often it challenges conservative, right-wing beliefs - and this last show did just the opposite, and did so effectively.
All the prior seasons are on DVD and the show is wrapping up this week on FX, who should likely do a marathon of it shortly. It's a well made, fascinating series and one of the better ones anywhere on TV. Check it out.