Sorry, Jamie Oliver – America will send your show back
Jamie Oliver is cute. He has charisma. Apparently he knows something about food and cooking. I mean, he’s on the Food Network, right? Of course, that doesn’t always mean that much. For example, Rachael Ray is not a chef. Oliver, who started as a pastry chef, at least has earned the title.
Oliver also has some good intentions mixed, no doubt, with a fair amount of desire for a hit TV show and the scrilla that would result.
Reading his Wikipedia page this morning I also see that he’s been on about a zillion TV shows. Wow.
His latest project is called “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” and premiers on ABC on March 26th. The premise of the show is essentially improving the eating habits of Americans.
The premier episode features Oliver visiting the city of Huntington, W. Va., which a CDC report called the unhealthiest city in America. (Report: 2008 Centers of Disease Control and Prevention report.) Apparently over 50 percent of the population is reported as “obese.”
In a television commercial, an outraged Oliver toys with a plate of fried potatoes while he indignantly exclaims, “French fries are not a vegetable!”
Why The Show Will Fail
My prediction is that the show won’t play well here in the U.S. First, Oliver is a Brit. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But Americans don’t take kindly to being told what to do, and certainly not by someone with an accent. Secondly, Americans don’t like being told what to do. By anyone. And lastly, Americans are doubly hooked and are not about to change. They are hooked on their eating habits and they are hooked on their sedentary lifestyle.
By the way, some are saying Oliver’s “revolution” may not be so revolutionary. According to NBCPhiladelphia.com, “there are already hints behind the scenes that Oliver’s efforts may not have been as well-received as you may be led to believe.”
In my experience, real, genuine life-alerting change is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very rare thing.
I seriously doubt that a TV show, even one with a cute and lively limey at the helm, will accomplish serious change, and, I think it’s likely it won’t even bring in the ratings to be considered a “hit.” (You heard it here first.)
In the off chance that I’m wrong, I’ll add this: If the show does do some good, I’d attribute that to the growing awareness about food and health in our country that was already well underway long before Oliver arrived to save the day. But that certainly doesn’t mean he can’t come loping in like Rambo without a jock strap, take credit for it and cash in all at the same time. 🙂