If you’ve been reading my recaps, you know I’m a fan of Huntington, WV, disc jockey Rod Willis, the man whom Jamie Oliver describes as “the biggest enemy of the food revolution.” That’s because, based solely on what I’ve seen of Rod on this TV series, he’s a scrappy old-fashioned DJ who plays country music and is suspicious of some big-city TV star and his network-television cameras coming in to get ratings off the local population. This is just good common sense; TV news and reality shows routinely exploit and sometimes ridicule the “civilians” to whom they purport to be “giving a voice.” And so when Oliver was in his second month in Huntington and not much seemed to have been revolutionized, Rod took Jamie up on his bet that the chef couldn’t get 1,000 cooking healthy food within five days. After all, Rod rationalized, “I can’t get a thousand people to listen to [my] show.” This is a man who’s honest even about his own ratings — a true rarity in any broadcasting field.
But as this week’s Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution showed, Rod’s initial skepticism was no match for the Oliver charm offensive. Jamie said he was out to win over “that crusty little git.”
This week was a different format for the series. Instead of showing Oliver teaching the townsfolk about nutrition, it became a competition and stunt show. To drum up some of his thousand people, Oliver went to Marshall University and organized a flash mob scene of students cooking stir fry to music. It was cute. I liked it more when he gathered a group of steel-workers (or as the Brit called them, “steel-benders”) and recruited them to cook, donning an American-flag hard-hat to show his devotion.
The turning-point for Rod seemed to be the visit he and Jamie took to the local mortuary, where the owners showed them the massive-sized caskets in which the severely obese deceased must be buried.
Again, I loved Rod’s first reaction: Can’t these people be cremated? Hey, it may not have seemed in the best of taste, but it’s what my first thought probably would have been.
In the end, would there be any doubt that Jamie would reach his goal of 1,000 cooking, and that Rod would come around to supporting the revolution? But that didn’t make the hour any less intriguing, and, yes, entertaining — obesity, crusty little gits, and all.
Are you still watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? What did you think of the flash-mob stir-friers? And what did you think of Rod’s conversion?