Jamie Oliver has been making crusade-docs for a while now. They always follow the same formula –
1) Jamie, with remarkable humbleness, sets himself the task of righting an enormous and complex wrong. Childhood obesity, say, or teenage unemployment. He demonstrates, fairly quickly, an understanding of the issue that might embarrass a bright eleven year old, but still reckons that he’ll have a crack at fixing it. Usually, but not always, with the application of olive oil.
2) Jamie, with (olive) oily mateyness, assures a selected group of poor/ignorant/fat/unemployed people that he, the multimillionaire who is getting paid to have this conversation, knows their pain and shares their predicament.
3) Jamie calls someone ‘brother’. This is non-negotiable. It’s written into the contract. Someone has to get called ‘brother’.
4) Jamie is faced with objections to his ideas that, even after they’ve been sympathetically edited for TV, usually appear pretty reasonable, and he does that face where he looks upset. Or, if the show is being sold to the Americans, he cries. This is everyone’s favourite bit.
5) The voiceover wonders whether Jamie can ‘turn it around’.
6) Jamie invents an utterly arbitrary benchmark by which he can decide whether his current quest has succeeded. So, if a thousand people cook a stir-fry, then American obesity is no more.
7) A thousand people cook a fucking stir fry. “One Day Like This” by Elbow plays. Jamie does that big, slightly Downsy, grin of his, and all’s right with the world.
In case I haven’t made this clear, I love Jamie Oliver’s shows. Continue reading Jamie’s Dream School