“-a satire about industrial agriculture. Making fun of serious issues is destructive and hurtful; ask any fat kid. Not to mention that making people laugh around food can cause choking. Perhaps the people behind Farmed and Dangerous could have taken the high road and tried a more appropriate genre, like horror.”
And so the second episode of Farmed and Dangerous begins, with yet another 30-second warning from Ray Wise’s Buck Marshall. With such a short series this marks the halfway point, and I fully expected there to be a ramping up of the stakes. I suppose this does happen, given the episode’s events, but I think the reason they didn’t feel raised is because they decided on comedy.
Perfect segue back to the ad, where Buck tells us that the horror genre might’ve worked better. He’s not wrong. Most documentary formats, like Food Inc. [which I’m going to bring up in every review], really capitalize on harsh imagery, emotional scores, and heart-wrenching interviews. As what’s essentially a sitcom Farmed and Dangerous is more accessible, but its edge ends up getting dulled.
To get into the episode itself, the action is all of the political, calculating variety. Chip reneges on his promise to take down the video just as we knew he would, and so Buck Marshall and the IFIB are doing cleanup. Following up with that is the call to sign a petition to demand a senate hearing on PetroPellets and the response to quash that. All of that could be potentially gripping, but there’s altogether too much going on at once, especially when you add the romantic subplot.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m basically head over heels for Karynn Moore/Sophia, but would find her just as interesting if the show took itself more seriously. Which is not to say that the show doesn’t flex its comedic muscles in a satisfactory way, because it really does.
At the very least the following dialogue, cutting from one character to another as they watch Chip Randolph on the Morning Show, is pretty fantastic:
“What the f-”
“Buck is going to sh-”
“-it can’t be, miserable count-”
“-ry bumpkin. We will sue his-”
Not only does it actually sound like these people are cursing [I had to rewatch the “f-” to “Buck” transition four times before I could be convinced they didn’t drop an f-bomb, but the last line seals the deal. The only way it could’ve been better is if it had been delivered in the style of Jake and Amir.
Oh, and the hosts were pretty good too, I guess.
What? I said they were fine!
Okay, they were actually hilarious. They sell the biggest laughs and walk this fine line between goofily ignorant and maliciously condescending and it works. And really, I guess it is slightly unfair to say that the humour completely undercuts the message.
The conversation against industrial and for sustainable farming is hit much more so than last episode, particularly in the scene where Chip and Sophia hang out at a bar [you can see Rae performing in the background]. She states that factory farming opens up more land for “Schools. Hospitals.” which is a little over the top but still makes sense in general. He rebuts that the land is still needed to grow feed crops, et cetera. Farmed and Dangerous very easily runs the risk of turning IFIB and co. into strawmen, but I wonder if that’s not the end game for something like this. Four twenty-something installments isn’t a lot of time, and breaking the issues down into easy to digest chunks is practically a must.
To elaborate on the plot just a little more the senate hearing does in fact appear to be on the horizon in spite of IFIB’s efforts. Sophie and Chip are getting closer, because of course, and Animoil scientist Dr. Van Riefkind appears to be a person whose loose lips could sink industrial farming’s ships. Chip invites Sophia to his farm. The final shot is our Jason Schwartzman knockoff receiving a picture of his girlfriend with the guy from SSFA.
- Deetown, whoever he [or she] is, continues to do a great job with the music.
- “Who would’ve thought that a toddler nearly decapitating herself could be so hilarious?”
- “Animoooooil, the future of livestock nutrition!”
- A very short animated segment of a Chipotle truck getting blown up, marking the first direct reference to the show’s creator.
- “Are your medication making you depressed? A new pill promises relief.”
- “It’s pronounced ‘Jeh-rohd.'”
- Also touched on: the relay race of bureaucracy as well as the financial power of big businesses.
- “Oh look, it’s the American Imperalists… Go f@#k yourselves!”
- Dr. Van Riefkind calls the eight-winged chicken McCartney.
- PetroPellets “sometimes” cause an erection that lasts longer than four hours.
- “You’re selling yourself too short.” “I’m not selling myself, period.”
- “Hey, Zach, you want a beer?”