Wednesday, October 1, 2014

South Park: The Evolution of the Food Pyramid

When I was in second grade, our class play was about six kids who got locked in a grocery store overnight. The bulk of the class played various foods and had lines talking about their nutritional value, how much you should eat of them, and with what they pair well. I played the narrator kid, but would have traded my multiple lines to get to wear a costume made from balloons (grapes), a storage tub (yogurt), or posterboard (the cheese). Regardless, the point is that the food pyramid was something we spent a lot of time studying when I was a kid, so ten years later when my sister did so, I was really confused on why the one she was learning was different. I know that what is recommended today is even farther removed from what I see as “balanced,” so I laughed thoroughly at this episode, especially at the revelation that the food pyramid could be wrong. I thought they could have done more with the gluten-free jokes, but as South Park seems to be really working on a continuity schematic this season, I guess they ran out of time…
Comedy Central
South Park "Gluten Free Ebola" (S18E02): The boys return to school (well, not Butters, who set fire to the gym) after their Start-Up Company fails, but none of their classmates will talk to them. [meh.] They decide to throw the best party ever, with Lorde playing (apparently someone at Randy’s work is a relative of the musician?) and plenty of pizza and cake. To make sure people come, they decide to have a cause - a party for their diabetic classmate, Scott. [20 different cakes?!? For a diabetic? awesome.]

Mr. Mackey has gone gluten-free and won't shut up about it, and the town follows suit once a USDA representative suffers when he takes a shot of straight gluten. The adults start eliminating all items containing gluten. [jokes about ice cream and beer were especially humorous!] The kids cancel their party, but everyone thinks they're just backing out, even though the choice is based completely on the unavailability of food. [burning it in the streets?!?]

The situation leaves Cartman depressed and dreaming of pancakes. In one of these hallucinations, however, he realizes that the old Food Pyramid needs to be turned upside-down (with Fats & Oils making up the bulk, then Meat & Dairy, then Fruits & Vegetables, then Grains). This concept is immediately adopted by the panicked USDA, who had workers dressed in HazMat suits and brandishing Geiger-like machines measure gluten in households and quarantine those with high levels. [but apparently only a trace amount is needed to set off this counter…]

It all works out so the guys can serve food at their party, plus Randy dresses as Lorde to perform. [I wasn’t sure they were gonna get there!]
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