Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days" on FX

The FX cable network finally found something besides Cops to fill up its schedule. The promo I saw, quite honestly, didn't do much for me. Morgan Spurlock made his name with Super Size Me, a film about his life-threatening experience spending 30 days eating nothing but McDonald's food. The promo sounded like he was just trying to milk the same concept, but didn't give me any real clue as to what else he could spend 30 days doing that would be worth watching.

Fortunately, Spurlock got a guest spot on The Daily Show last night, giving us a glimpse of the sorts of things he is trying to do with the new show. On tonight's episode, a 33yo white male Christian from West Virginia travels to Dearborn, Michigan (the town with the highest proportion of Moslems in America), and lives as a Moslem for a month, dressing as a Moslem, eating as a Moslem, and even going to mosque to pray as a Moslem. This isn't some gimmicky "reality TV" show where a group of people sharing only their immaturity are thrown together so that the rest of us can laugh at their inanity. Dave, the man from West Virginia, takes his assignment very seriously, wrestling with such questions as whether saying Moslem prayers is a betrayal of his Christian faith. He also experiences first-hand the subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination he faces just because he dresses as a Moslem, even in Dearborn, where 1/3 of the residents are Moslem.

Living for a month with a Moslem family gave Dave only a little taste of the reality of life as a Moslem American, but it was enough to dramatically change his perspective, as well as the perspective of those who watch the show with an open mind.

This is what reality TV should be. Watch it on FX cable channel, Wednesdays at 10pm (Eastern/Pacific).