30 Days

30 Days
In Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock used his affable on-camera charm and interest in social justice issues to illuminate the disasters of a fast food diet. Bringing those same skills and concepts to the small screen, Spurlock puts five regular people through 30 days of radically different life, jumping off by living with his fiancé Alex (the vegan chef from his 30 days on McDonald’s) on minimum wage in Ohio. Others include 30 days in San Francisco’s boystown for a very straight frat boy; a month living a completely earth-friendly life; and a month of taking supplements and steroids in a get fit quick scheme. Two episodes reveal the best and worst of what this six-episode series has to offer. In "Muslim in America,” a southern Christian (and childhood buddy of Spurlock’s, it turns out), moves to Dearborn, Michigan, home to America’s largest Muslim population, where he lives, eats, dresses and tries to pray as a member of the Muslim community. It contributes both a profound impact on its subject, who deepens his understanding of his own and others’ faith, and reveals fascinating social-political insights into the American Muslim community. The opposite of this is "Binge Drinking Mom,” in which a fit and fab 40-something mom decides to drink like her college-age daughter does: at least four drinks a day, four days a week (the definition of binge drinking, and the college-age average). Where "Muslims In America” succeeded, "Drinking” fails because mom isn’t in a position to learn anything about herself — she’s only doing this in hopes of shocking her daughter out of her own drunken stupor. The impact of the show comes when the subjects are surprised by their own reactions, not when it’s simply reinforcing already held beliefs. Spurlock hosts good commentaries on most episodes, inviting participants and producers to join in, while extensive "diary cam” footage is only worth it if you’re really keen on the reality show experience of 30 Days. At its best, this is much more than that. (FX/Fox)