Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock subjects other people to 30 days of their own personal hell on his new FX series 30 Days, which debuts tonight at 10 p.m. ET. On the series, a Christian will live in a Muslim community, a homophobe will live with gay people, fossil fuel-dependent 30-somethings will live off the grid, and a mother will binge drink to try to identify with her daughter’s life. On tonight’s premiere, Spurlock and his fiancee move from New York to the midwest, where they’ll work minimum-wage jobs for a month.
The Washington Post says “[t]he series is most engaging when it stops hammering points home and indulges in the can’t-help-it pettiness and whimsical unpredictability that help make reality TV so engaging.”
The series doesn’t quite compare to his Oscar-nominated documentary, according to the LA Times’ review, which says that “isn’t as fresh, both because Spurlock’s not in it enough and because the ‘Super Size Me’ premise, superimposed onto other topics, doesn’t hold up as well. And so you can begin to feel trapped in the premise. The actual people used aren’t as camera-savvy as Spurlock, and the outsourcing of the role hurts the series.”
But The New York Times notes that while the show “uses an appealing patchwork of documentary formats … Spurlock proves he has a gift for gimmickry, and his cheerful game-for-anything style makes his borrowings forgivable and even laudable.”