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Lindsey Berrill Identify the ways in which American Society is represented, both positively and negatively.

In doing so, analyse the ways in which the producer utilises stylistic devices in order to create meaning for the audience. Supersize Me is an investigative documentary which highlights Americas obsession with fast food. Its main purpose is to encourage people to stop eating such foods as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC as it shows how it can not only severely affect your weight; but your health too. In the UK, Supersize Me was originally shown on Film 4 which means it was targeted at a working class/middle brow audience of about 15-35 years old. This particular audience are fast foods main customers and therefore need to be educated about the dangers. Morgan Spurlock, the presenter of Supersize Me chose to focus his experiment on McDonalds as it accounts for 43% of Americas total fast food market. The documentary starts with a group of children singing the fast food song, with the camera specifically focusing on the overweight child on the front row. This somewhat comical element immediately grabs the attention of the viewer as well as introducing one of Americas biggest problems which is featured later. This is then followed by a slew of statistics which set the scene in a no nonsense way; 100 million Americans are overweight or obese, every day one in four Americans eat fast food and the fattest state is Mississippi. The documentary is highly dominated with negative elements of American society with the targeting of children being one of the biggest problems. So many aspects are aimed to appeal directly to kids for example the Happy Meal, McDonalds birthday parties and Ronald McDonald himself; who constantly appears in television commercials with his friends Mayor McCheese and the Hamburglar.There is even McDonalds Barbie and various other fast food themed toys. The lack of common knowledge these children have is shocking. When Morgan carried out interviews, more children could identify a picture of Ronald McDonald than they could Jesus. Vox pops also show that even adults are oblivious, as they were more familiar with the Big Mac song than the Pledge of Allegiance. American schools are very negatively portrayed; the lack of healthy food and regular exercise is a heavily featured element. The only exercise most children are doing is 45 minutes per week in gym class. They dont even have to walk far to reach their nearest McDonalds; they are everywhere. In Texas, Morgan walked less than half a mile in a day compared to the average New Yorker who could sometimes cover up to 5 miles a day. Bruce Howlett is diabetic; he has high blood pressure and even went blind for a week due to the two gallons of soda he drinks every day. Bruce underwent gastric bypass surgery to help him lose weight. This was an extreme case but it shows what lengths some people have to go to in order to lose the pounds they gained from fast food. However, Don Gorske who eats more than two Big Macs a day is by no means fat. The documentary focus on him eating his 19,000th

Lindsey Berrill burger but is somewhat contradicting its claim that McDonalds leads to obesity. Supersize Me contains very few positive elements because in order to shock the viewers and educate them of the dangers, they need to see for themselves the negative effect fast food can have on people. Footage from a school in Appelton shows the difference eating proper meals can make; the students are more focused and better behaved. Although this may seem positive, they are the minority as most schools opt for the quicker and easier processed packaged foods. The stylistic devices used in Supersize Me play a large role in conveying the message to the audience for example, the editing. Morgan visits the doctor who tells him about the health issues he is exposing himself to, this then cuts to him ordering a McDonalds. This subliminal messaging shows how most Americans are more concerned about which burger to order, rather than what its doing to their body. Several montages are also used as a way of emphasising the scale of the problem. Here, images of beautiful girls are consistently overlaying an interview with a teenager who talks about her feelings towards the skinny, pretty, popular girls. The final image which is placed over her face is accompanied by the nondiegetic sound of a door slamming; this connotes her feelings of unacceptance. The montage effect was again used in a similar way to show the vast amount of McDonalds restaurants in Manhattan alone. The tiny island of only 22.4 square miles packs in 83 McDonalds; the most in any one city in the world. A cartoon demonstrating the process of making chicken nuggets shows a full chicken being torn appart, chopped up and molded into shapes. This particular graphical device has been included in order to help the audience visualise the reality of where their food comes from and make them think twice about eating it. A hand held camera was prodominatly used thoughout to add a sense of realism to the documentary. This makes the viewers feel as if they are on the journey with Morgan and are therefore more likely to learn from his experience. For the formal interviews however, a more professional, steady shot was created by using a tripod. This is important as it creates a mood shift so that the audience pay more attention to the health advice the professionals are giving. All of these shots are pieced together by quick jump cuts in order to create a fast pace rhythm, ideal for the younger audience. The mise-en-scene, specifically the setting of the professional interviews is something which the producer has carefully considered. David Satcher, a former surgeon is interviewed surrounded by books and wears a smart suit and glasses. All of these aspects together help to connote his intelligence and will therefore make the viewers trust his opinion more. Lisa Young, a proffessor of nutrition is interviewed in an office environement with a computer in the background. Again,

Lindsey Berrill this gives the impression that she knows what she is talking about. The visual aid of using props here is also important as it helps put into context the point she is making. Vox pops have also been filmed outside McDonalds in China town and when talking about the effect fast food can have on children, the non-diagetic sound of children playing can be heard in the background. Ultimately, Morgan wanted viewers to learn from his experiences. As a result of eating McDonalds 3 times a day for a month he bacame ill and put his health at major risk. At the end of this documentary we catch up with some of the people featured throughout and find out what has happened since it was broadcast. McDonalds made some changes including eliminating supersized options and introducing the Go Active! Adult Happy Meal. This proves that they were perfectly aware of the damage they were causing people but it took the broadcasting of this documentary for them to do anything about it. One of the final comments from Morgan is Who do you want to see go first, you or them?. In the end, there is no way the two can survive; either you die or the much loved fast food chain does, and from the graphic of Ronald McDonalds tomb stone, its pretty obvious which Morgan would prefer.

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