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IRONY DEFICIT: Mr. Meaty, a comedy series featuring puppet fast food workers has apparently become the target of much vegetarian animus (wait – shouldn’t that be “vegemus?”) for its meat and meat by-product gags. Produced in Toronto and aired on CBC here and Nickelodeon in the states, Mr. Meaty is based around the dismal service industry lives of Josh and Parker, who work at a Mr. Meaty franchise in the evocatively named Scaunchboro Mall. Produced by Lenz Entertainment, it’s been compared favorably to Beavis And Butthead since it hit the air last year with puppetry work by the Grogs – local puppeteers Jamie Shannon and Jason Hopley.
There are online petitions protesting the show and urging Nick and the CBC to drop it, and even a blog called Destroy Mr. Meaty, the tone of which is summed up with hair-twisting rants like “It's really horrible and I can't stand how discriminatory that is against vegetarians and vegans. It's just so sick." One would assume that the show was a Texan-sized celebration of all things protein-rich and muscle-tissue-based, but according to the show’s creators, it’s more in the spirit of Morgan Spurlock’s anti-McDonald’s film Supersize Me.
“It's actually thumbing its nose at the meat industry and the fast-food industry," Hopley told the Canadian Press last year when the protests began. "Fast food is bad for you, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it, and everybody knows it. We're trying to show just how gross it is - in an extra-meaty way."
You see, that’s the problem, Jason; you’re still trying to be funny about it, and everyone knows that when you take meat out of your diet you’re likely to suffer from anemia, flatulence and diminished humour – there are studies and everything. Since there’s obviously nothing Shannon and Hopley can do to placate their opponents, I’d suggest they ditch the conciliatory, anti-fast food tone and start celebrating the robust virtues of meat with long, loving pans across sides of freshly-butchered beef, and heroic portrayals of the farmers, truckers and labourers who work to bring us the dietary splendour derived from cows, pigs, goats, horses, bunnies, chickens and cute widdow baa-baa lambs.
IT’S NOT A COMMERCIAL BREAK, IT’S A COMMERCIAL FIXED: The conventional wisdom that Digital Video Recorder owners are actively at war with TV commercials got a serious kicking in a New York Times story last week, when the results of a Nielsen study showed that people who TiVo shows still watch around 40 per cent of the ads. This is big news for sales people who can now make a convincing case that PVR owners aren’t commercial refuseniks, and can potentially be counted among regular viewers. “DVRs are really the big X factor going forward,” Brad Adgate, senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, an ad-buying agency, told the Times. “People’s DVR behavior is going to drive the marketplace.” Once they get their expense accounts sorted out after a weekend of red-eyed celebratory partying, you just bet that media sales departments are going to figure out just how to make this work for them.