Last week, Chipotle's web-based series Farmed and Dangerous premiered on Hulu. (Check out our recap of Episode 1.) It's already raised a stir in the food industry (and the advertising business) and you can guess why: it's a satirical look at Big Ag in the guise of a comedy show Chipotle paid for up front. Pointedly funny in parts, a bit tedious in others, let's see how Buck Marshall & Co. fared this week.
Episode 2 : Passing the Buck (Spoiler alert!)
Buck Marshall and his wife are enjoying a very meat-y breakfast while watching The Morning Show, a sendup of every TV network's morning show. (I find myself wishing for Kathie Lee and Hoda. Or maybe it's their bottomless mimosas.) Our hero Chip's been invited to discuss his viral exploding-cow video, and now it's time for a very PG jump-cut sequence of Buck's team watching this amazing morning show and cursing as they anticipate their boss' reaction.
Buck's way ahead of his team, though, so he just smirks as he watches Chip try to earnestly explain why this video is so important. Even though Chip got the video from a public website, the network claims that he doesn't own the rights, so they can't show it. Buck's also smiling because Sophia's about to do some PR damage control as an invited commentator in this segment. Smooth, charming, teasing Sophia claims that Chip and his "Occupy Livestock movement may have gotten a little too creative" with the video, hinting that it's fabricated.
Chip calls out this "standard" Big Ag behavior, as it makes the discussion about the veracity of the video rather than the content. (Shades of Ag Gag, amirite?) Or when Big Ag claims that GMO crops are totally unique and deserve patents. But wait! They're against GMO labeling because "[GMO's are] really the same as normal crops." Chip reiterates that the cows are eating petroleum and asks viewers to petition the White House to open Senate hearings on PetroPellets, but he's cut off again.
IFIB's team convenes and rolls out their multifaceted strategy: they're going to bury Chip in lawsuits, go on a PR offensive and lobby to obstruct any hearings. All goes well until Buck goes to see Animoil friend Senator Murrin, who they've been treating just right for awhile In Case of Emergency, but Murrin tells Marshall he's got to go elsewhere, because his constituents would be too angry with him. (Oh, if only.)
Buck, Sophia, Mick and Lawyer Doug visit Animoil's secret lab, where German scientist Dr. Van Riefkind is still tinkering with PetroPellets, trying to make them safer. He's also got an eight-winged chicken, McCartney, chilling in a corner freezer. (I'm not making that up.) Sophia says that they can stop a Senate hearing if Animoil demonstrates PetroPellets safety. Dr. Van Riefkind would like more time to do actual safety tests, but the gang just wants to know if the pellets were made with pesticides or food coloring, or if they cause nausea, dizziness or other side effects.
Later, Buck worriedly watches a live news story as Senator Murrin arrives home from a day on the links to find Chip, reporters in tow, bearing a file box of signed petitions demanding Senate hearings within the month. Murrin accedes, saying he'll do what he can to help.
That night, it's time to revisit Sophia, Chip and Zach's epic love triangle, so we find ourselves at a club where Chip and Sophia argue about agricultural production methods by playing a drinking game. (Whatever works.) Then Chip uses napkins, peanuts and barware to demonstrate why externalities should be factored into the price of food. So basically, it's your typical twenty-something night out. Do I even need to tell you that as the night progresses to tequila shots they seem a little smitten? Before parting, magically sober Chip earnestly asks Sophia to come and see his farm "to see what we do." As they leave, we see the Man in Black, snapping pictures from the corner. Uh oh.
The next day, it's barbecue time at Buck Marshall's house, and boy do PetroChicken and PetroSteak flame up something awful when you throw 'em on the grill. Mick says it's good that the Senate hearing will be going away. Pouty, perfectly coiffed Zach finds Sophia and bugs her about where she was last night, but she brushes him off. Which brings us to this episode's cliffhanger: during the barbecue, someone texts Zach a picture of Sophia and Chip leaving their agricultural economics meeting. (No, Man in Black - NO!)
Burning Questions after Episode 2
- Is Dr. Van Riefkind our mole?
- Can Zach's story please not lead to Stalkerville?
Notable Quotables, Week 2
"Who would've thought that a toddler nearly decapitating herself could be so hilarious?" - Anchor Tad
"It's my experience that what blows up never blows over." - Senator Murrin
"Now why would there be a Senate hearing? Cattle are butchered every day. Literally." - Buck Marshall
"The explosion was caused by a cellphone, not PetroPellet." - Mick
Farmed and Dangerous is available on Hulu or Hulu Plus, with two more new episodes premiering on Mondays.