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Using Supersize Me as a basis, identify the ways in which American Society is represented, both positively and negatively.

In doing so, analyse the ways in which Morgan Spurlock utilises stylistic devices in order to create meaning for the audience

Supersize Me is an American documentary that informs and educates viewers on the fast food industry and the consequences of eating a high fat diet. Producer Spurlock takes part in an experiment to see if fast food really does have such an impact on obesity and health problems by eating solely McDonalds for a whole month. The documentary demonstrates how fast food has such a drastic effect on peoples lifestyles, but also includes how McDonalds are aware that the company itself encourages poor nutrition in order to make a profit.

Spurlock eats or drives-thru McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner calling it his Mcdiet. Supersize Me opens with overweight children singing along to A Pizza Hut! A Pizza Hut! Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut! this exposition portrays that from an early age American children are brought up to thinking fast food restaurants are daily places to eat. Spurlock also sits down with a group of children and shows them photographs of George Bush and George Washington, but the children only recognise Ronald McDonald, as entertaining as this moment is, its also disturbing. These children grow up in a society where they know an animated clown but not their president, this represents how these fast food companies brainwash children by the use of Happy Meals, a toy in the box and a memorable character. Throughout the documentary, Spurlock utilises entertaining and sometimes worrying narratives inform the viewers on how U.S. Society seems to trend obesity. Supersize Me uses these narrative tools very effectively. The general theme of the documentary is to investigate the damage to peoples health if they are eating fast food which is negative. Statistics and facts are shown as evidence of this. We see close ups on paperwork highlighting that McDonalds know about the health related risks their company advertise.

Supersize me ends with a rhetorical question, "Who do you want to see go first, you or them?" This is accompanied by a cartoon tombstone, which reads "Ronald McDonald (19542012)", this immediately makes viewers think. The use of a graphical device edited alongside a voiceover shows that the risks of obesity and health problems can be stopped by people doing something about it. This effect of making people feel guilty for overindulging is a technical convention that encourages viewers to agree with the moral of the documentary.

Throughout, we see several interviews with professionals who are monitoring Spurlocks health and vox pops with members of the public. The interviews with the health promoters are opposing to some of the issues the public have; they show a general concern towards the direction in which Spurlock is heading. Showing doctors, nutritions and personal trainers lets the viewers know that not everyone has problems with their diets or weight, some Americans do abide to healthy living. Each interviewee is sat in an appropriate mise-en-scene, whilst dialogue is edited in, captions of their names and professions are presented as they speak, for example Dr. Daryl Isaacs is leant upon a work side in a doctors room wearing a stethoscope around his neck holding a clipboard explaining.

However it also draws upon positive elements due to the message Spurlock is introducing. In this the producers hoped to increase public awareness of the issue and persuade them from buying from fast food companies. The ending scene uses photography of Americans who are trying the help the society with captions that inform the viewers of their plans in order to stop obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles.

Spurlock visited three American high schools to investigate what type of food they were selling at lunch. Only one of those schools provided fresh fruit and vegetables, baked meals rather than fried and they switched soda machines for water machines. This school noticed a change in the childrens behaviour, they were able to concentrate and commit to all their lessons. This wasnt through discipline, this was through diet.

Spurlock emphasises the dangers of consuming an unhealthy diet on a daily basis by the ups and downs in his 30 day MacDonalds binge. The recording of each day conveys how over time this food is slowly killing you. A handheld camera pictures Spurlock in the drive-thru every day, at the beginning of the month we see that his body cannot handle the change in diet so he vomits. The camera zooms to the sick which immediately makes the audience shudder or look away, having this impact is positive as people will avoid filling themselves up too much. The documentary shows Spurlock visiting the health clinics over 6 times, each time his cholesterol is higher, the doctors are more shocked and his waist is bigger. There are voiceovers during the cutaways whilst Spurlock informs people of the portions he is eating and unnecessary it is to fill your body.

Like the health professionals there is also a man who changed his life around by taking control of his eating habits and exercise regime. He does a speech in a large hall to hundreds of people explaining his own journey and holding up an old pair of jeans that used to fit him, the audience begin chatting amongst themselves which tells the audience they are astonished at what he has done. This reaction creates food for thought for the viewers, the personal realisation shows that eating healthily and dieting is possible for everyone. In contrast to all the obese people shown in the documentary whether walking around the city or eating a MacDonalds themselves, the emphasis of showing them all puts everything into perspective. The propaganda effect of this shows that if you carry on with your addiction to food, you will end up that way with major health problems like diabetes, breathing restrictions and backache.

Spurlock does another visit to a local sport club where he meets Dr Phil Lawler who stimulates children and young adults to take part in regular sporting activities. He combines fun with your friends or cycling to a computer game to ensure the children are keeping healthy while enjoying themselves. It also represents America positively; it ensures that while its important to eat healthily, exercising should also be a key part of everyones lifestyle.

Using humour or animation in documentaries instantly manipulates the formality. In Supersize Me while the message they are portraying is a serious one, they need to capture the audience. Using elements of funny facts or visual material establishes imagery for the viewers, creating a relaxed approach to children and adults who want to change their lifestyles. A big part of the documentary is the fact that Macdonalds dont seem bothered by the consequences of their company. They make so much money by advertisement and regular costumers that the fact they are destroying peoples insides doesnt affect their corporate image.

There is often ambient music from place to place when Spurlock is stood outside Macdonalds denoting how busy American is and how many people visit Macdonalds, noises like scanning tills, people ordering and workers shouting orders are typical of the fast food environment. Outside Macdonalds on the busy street, ambient sounds of traffic, car horns and engines queuing in the drive-thru, this negatively symbolises how nobody walks to Macdonalds as it takes less time to get the service they need by drive-thru. Supersize Me represents America as both positive and negative. The documentary encloses a serious message with features of humour, this could possibly render the impact of the over familiar subject. It definitely fulfils its purpose to indicate the significance of how dangerous eating fast food is to our bodies. Supersize Me may not have the power to stop people eating fast food but it makes people consider and think about what they are putting in their body.