I am a man who likes a number of different things, but high up among them are food and environmentalism. When it comes to the latter my immersion into all things animal-related at a young age [Kratts’ Creatures, anyone?] made me care deeply about their habitats, and that extends to this day. As far as food goes it’s something that has kept me alive for the past 23 years. Big ups to food.
Just last December I ate at Chipotle for the first time. While I was extremely unimpressed by my burrito assembler’s assertion that the medium salsa was “pretty spicy”, everything else was great. A good quantity of good quality Mexican food at a reasonable price, plus great chips- what’s not to like? Or, I guess I should be asking, what more is there to like?
How about a Hulu-exclusive show that lauds sustainable agriculture and humane treatment of food animals with one hand while damning the modern world of industrial agriculture with the other?
You can’t see it in the image above, but the series, Farmed and Dangerous, is actually being advertised as a “Chipotle original series.” As shown in the trailer below, the four 30-minute episodes will revolve around the very real-life danger of . . . exploding cows.
Yes, it’s a comedy, that much should be clear, but it’s one with a pretty clear underlying message. Not only that, but restaurant execs have said that the show is all about “values integration” and not “product integration”, which is apparent from the total lack of burritos mentioned in the trailer. This isn’t a company heavy-handedly slapping you in the face with their product, it’s two hours of quality programming with a goal that extends beyond just making you laugh.
Considering that each episode cost roughly $250,000 to make the question is what makes it worth it to them. It turns out that it’s not so much directly throwing the Chipotle name around as it is creating a conversation about their way of doing business. With a slogan like “Food With Integrity” their promise is to use organic produce and hormone-free meat whenever possible. By perpetuating the idea of eat responsibly they indirectly make themselves stand out among their competition.
As for why they’ve chosen to tickling funny bones as their main hook, chief marketing officer and executive producer of the series Mark Crumpacker has acknowledged that most documentaries can be pretty grim. If you’ve seen Food Inc. you know how ugly the reality of factory farms can be. That being said, Crumpacker believes that their approach, “as [. . .] with all comedy, [we] take a real issue and then amp it up.”
So while there’s certainly going to be a pretty large emphasis on humour [I thought the Google search at 00:39 was pretty funny] and romance, because why not, my hope is that people will tune in and think. No, PetroPellets don’t exist and cows aren’t really combusting, but most meat isn’t from animals that were treated very humanely. Like the man at 1:49 I too “plan on eating for the next six decades,” and then some, and it matters to me. It should matter to you, too.
Farmed And Dangerous premiers February 17th, only on Hulu.