“I consumed over thirty pounds of sugar…that’s an average of a pound of sugar a day,” says Morgan Spurlock, director and star of Supersize Me. This quote was in reference of the documented 30-day challenge where Spurlock consumed McDonalds’ food for every single meal for an entire month. Supersize Me takes viewers on an eye-opening adventure as they walk hand in hand with Spurlock through a McDonalds lover’s “hay day”. Viewers are encouraged to think about their own eating habits as they observe the physical transformation that Spurlock’s experiment has on his body. The claims within Supersize Me were convincing and helped create a successful documentary.
This documentary would not have been made if obesity was not an increasing problem in the United States. Spurlock explains that the documentary was prompted by his learning of the fact that more than 60% of all Americans are overweight. Spurlock addresses this problem by using statistics in the first part of the film in order to solidify his claim and catch viewer attention. Spurlock claims that many Americans do not understand the life-threatening consequences of the fast food lifestyle. Obesity has more than doubled since the 1980s and he believes that Americans needed to be informed about the serious problems that a fast food diet will cause.
Supersize Me was created to influence the minds of fast food eaters in America. Although the film was created for this target audience, Spurlock emphasizes that this documentary could provide beneficial information to all Americans because the USA is the most overweight country in the world. Though the target audience was very broad, the number of viewers was limited due to the mediums used. This film was shown in film festivals around the United States and then eventually produced on DVD and Netflix. Although this movie was well-liked by film festival viewers, it could have reached a larger quantity of Americans if it had been released in theaters or on television.
The purpose of the documentary was to increase awareness of the negative effects that fast food can have on the body. This claim was supported by the appeals of pathos and logos. Viewers feel an emotional connection to Spurlock as they watch his vulnerability on screen. He is an “open book” and shares personal information by showing footage of his doctor’s appointments and sharing his insecurities with the world. Spurlock increases logos by including health-related facts from reputable sources. In the book “Everything’s an Argument,” Lunsford address the importance of strong facts and states, “We will even listen to people we don’t agree with if their evidence is good” (55). Although some viewers may have been apprehensive about this documentary, the usage of facts from sources like the National Center for Health Statistics aided in the credibility of the film.
Morgan Spurlock’s presence served as an important element of the success of this film. The decision to base this film from his personal point of view makes the documentary seem more approachable to viewers. His authentic nature adds humor to the film and makes viewers feel more connected to him. Lunsford reminds readers that, “If you strike the right emotional note, you’ll establish an important connection” (32). Spurlock’s decision to show vulnerable moments like him puking, gaining weight and dealing with emotional instability, gives readers a greater understanding of the impact fast food addictions can have. Spurlock’s intense physical and psychological effects are absolutely astonishing.
After watching this documentary, I am convinced that I will never desire a meal at McDonalds ever again. There were positive results after the creation of this film, including the fact that McDonalds made some changes to their menu and added some healthier options. I believe that it is the type of effect that Spurlock wanted. I am giving Supersize Me 4/5 nachos because I feel truly impacted after watching it. While I think that Supersize Me could have been more influential on a different medium, it successfully influenced me to examine my own eating habits. I am now more aware of the consequences of this lifestyle and I know that I will think twice before going to grab fast food when I’m feeling lazy. For a brief summary on the film, watch this!