We open up with the last Buck Marshall ad we’ll ever see, the IFIB rep. letting us know that shows like the one we’re about to see “worry the public about the dangers of industrial food production.” The issue with this, of course, is that “[their] research shows that worry leads to stress and depression, which is detrimental to your health.” That’s actually great to know, since I was worried going into the season finale.
Last week’s installment was extremely shaky, scoring points for being informative and funny at the same time but ultimately failing when it came to raising the stakes [ironic given the episode title]. Things ended with Chip in jail believing that Sophie had stabbed him in the back, and so things start with him sitting in an interrogation room. A promising enough beginning, I suppose.
While he’s accosted by inept police officers Animoil is having a party in what looks like a level from the Resident Evil movies [lots of white surfaces and sterile lighting]. No-name brand Jason Schwartzman proposes to Sophie in the most lacklustre way possible “Babe, it’s time. [. . . ] You in?”, leaving her completely speechless. The cries of “DJ Kamikaze!” in response to the sound of what is presumably exploding cows above them ceases to be enough once they pick up in strength and the shindig, much like the livestock, is a bust.
During that time Sally Gifford’s [the star of that infamous before/after photoshop video!] Amanda confronts Sophie about Chip’s whereabouts, which is what I believe prompts the upcoming scene.
Things start out pretty well, with what appears to be a futuristic-style commercial that features poor man’s JS and the stunning Sophie. She tells us that:
“The miracle of industrial farming makes every day a dream come true. The Petromilk Home System™ delivers fresh milk-style food products on demand
your kids will get more vitamins and minerals than from tha . . “
Huh? Sorry, I got distracted by the, uh . . . by . . . Augh, Farmed and Dangerous can you please explain . . .
I’m serious, they pull out all the stops and completely lulled me into a deep sense of security fueled by Karynn Moore’s exquisite beauty. And then, just as I felt safe and that all was good in the world-
Terror. Sheer, unbridled terror. These images will haunt my dreams for an eternity. If you can’t quite make it out I need you to realize that there are actual whole teeth oozing out of her mouth in that last picture. Why is this happening why did they decide pull a tonal 180 so hard I think I actually have whiplash-
In all seriousness, though, it’s a fun scene. It feels somewhat heavy-handed due to its clear criticism of industrial farming and how it’s presented vs. what it actually is, but that’s offset by the bizarreness of the entire thing. It’s a real trip and actually very well-presented.
Sophie somehow manages to wake up completely free of cold fear-sweat and finds Chip’s phone ringing in Schwartzman’s imperfect clone’s suit jacket. Which is where I suppose things get really big and/or interesting. I mean, as much as they can.
See, as I mentioned last week the events taking place are actually pretty crucial, and should have a good amount of weight to them. That doesn’t always communicate well due to the emphasis on humour, but the show also doesn’t appear to want to underscore them as well.
Sophie confronts her dad about manipulating Chip and spying on her, and then admits to the people at the Sustainable Family Farming Association what has happened and even gives them money to help with the impending legal fees. Chip is mildly peeved about being in jail, but is eventually released and that’s great. The whole thing is lacking a certain umph when it comes to the emotional heft, and focusing on it for a few seconds wouldn’t hurt the overall comedic tone.
As far as what does work, and which will wrap up the recap portion of this review, Buck Marshall’s journey is the one worthy of attention. PetroPellet is all over the news and their contract with Animoil is in major jeopardy. He heads over to a meeting believing himself to be a “dead man walking”, only to find himself being offered a glass of champagne [“Dead man confused”].
See, with all the fuss over their oil-based livestock feed they were able to get their “consumer petroproducts to market completely under the radar under the brand name Oleyum.” It’s a sinister realization, the fact that the main scheme of the whole season has only been a ruse for their true goals.
This is what really makes the final minutes of the series a success, in my mind. Sophie is asked by Chip to work with him at the SSFA while Buck scoffs that there’s no way she’ll accept. Instead of going with the everything-is-awesome totally-what-you-would-expect option of her agreeing we instead pan away to a portly family of three enjoying the new Oleyum products. Having enjoyed both the petroleum-based soda and crackers the father lifts a cigarette to his lips and tries in vain to get his lighter working. As soon as he does we cut to black-
As a whole this four-episode season hasn’t been particularly satisfying, but that definitely was. While so much of each installment has been bringing across the idea that their acting talent and writing staff is funny and can make us laugh that last scene communicates the idea that the real problem is not. There’s nothing humorous about what happens to our food behind the scenes, and the final note is a truly sobering one.
- At the end of the day, I’m probably going to miss Deetown and his music the most.
- You know that’s a lie, the answer to that is Karynn Moore.
- Chip’s phone call isn’t going to happen. “Reception’s terrible.”
- The token of appreciate bargain bin Jason gives the cop is a pork chop.
- Laughably terrible people inhabit the Animoil party, with gems like “I really don’t mind them moving into the neighbourhood, but come on, the country club?”
- The skeevy guy from the first episode does, in fact, date models.
- “I don’t see any gift bags.” “That’s because they’re in the front seat of your brand new car!”
- Potential press release to cover things up: “more cows died filming Johnny Knoxville movies than in Animoil explosions.”
- “I click my heels in here something else is gonna happen.”
- “Not the New York Post, the Washington Post.” “Well, that’s a relief.”
- Consider the fourth wall irreparably broken: “What if we produce a satire that pulls back the curtain on the disturbing world of sustainable farming?”
- “Oh honey. This is a difficult time for you. Breaking up with somebody who makes you happy or at the very least not depressed can be heart-wrenching.” Buck Marshall isn’t a completely terrible father.