June 15, 2005 --
Tonight at 10 on FX
MORGAN Spurlock ate only at McDonald's for a month and guess what happened: His health declined.
More recently, he lived for a month on a minimum-wage income and couldn't make ends meet.
Well, double duh.
Sorry to seem so childish, but what did he expect would happen? Of course the minimum wage — $5.15 an hour — is absurdly low. Of course eating all that McDonald's made him sick.
That's not exactly news. Now, if Spurlock had developed superhuman strength from all those Big Macs, then that would have been something.
Still, Spurlock went a long way with his McDonald's stunt. His documentary film about the experience, "Supersize Me," was even nominated for an Academy Award.
He didn't win the Oscar, but he won his own series, "30 Days," which premieres tonight on FX with Spurlock's foray into the world of low-paying, menial labor.
For this task, he and his girlfriend moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he took a series of temporary day jobs in construction and landscaping, and she scrubbed pots and bused tables at a coffee shop.
For 30 days, they lived in a tenement infested with ants, woke up every day before dawn, took lonely buses around town, coped with sudden injuries and illnesses that ate up their meager savings, and came to all sorts of conclusions about the rigors of living on minimum wage.
Through it all, they come across as smug, snobby know-it-alls — amateur sociologists from a better neighborhood who have gone slumming in the manner of a TV anchorman who spends a few nights outdoors as "a homeless person" for sweeps month.
While some of the experiences Spurlock and his girlfriend have as poor people are mildly illuminating, the experience of watching them do it is unrelentingly grim and unpleasant, and ultimately unpersuasive.