30 Days (TV Series 2005–2008) Poster


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Very educational and entertaining.
MairegChernet3 June 2008

Before I start my comment, I have one question, why is this show not a prime time show? Why? I've seen episodes of it, and it does not have that much of unsuitable-for-children content. The reason why the show doesn't come on prime time is beyond me. This is a very enlightening and entertaining show. But what do you expect from the guy who brought us super size me? If you liked super size me you will definitely like this show. 30 days basically follows the same pattern as the 2004 documentary, where an individual is thrown into a rather strange culture, belief, religion or life style and is expected to live among that lifestyle for approximately a month . For example in this one episode a guy named Dave was thrown into the Muslim community located in Michigan and he lived among them by praying like them by dressing like them and eating acting and so forth like them. I am sure that episode taught a lot of people that the Muslim community and terrorism aren't co-related and also that terrorism is a work of a few extremists. I myself learned a lot of positive things I did not know about the Islamic religion. Point being, not only the show is entertaining, but it is also enlightening. Try to stay up late to watch this show, I am sure you will like it.
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To me,THIS is a reality show
KUAlum2627 August 2006
The phrase "reality show" has been stretched so far that it would snap even if it were taffy. Whether it's pseudo-documentary style trash or endurance competitions that seem like game shows on steroids,it seems like there are very few true "reality" programs. Sometimes,these reality shows can have something constructive or vaguely positive about them(I'm thinking of "Nanny 911","Super NAny","Project MAkeoever:Home Edition" as examples)or actually seem like they are following the trek of a realistic situation,or as close as they can get to having one(The Restaurant or Tommy Lee Go to College come to mind),but rarely does a reality show--in my mind--aim to AND create positive results,showing opposite sides of an issue or opposite lifestyles and portray them with some respect,instead of merely breeding conflict. "30 Days" does that,and for the most part,it's effective.

Host Morgan Spurlock,whose Supersize Me from 2004 was a surprise break-out hit of a documentary, employs the same type of tactic here as he did in his film. Using a month's time to introduce someone to a different philosophy and/or culture. Whether it's the white American Christian trying to live as a Muslim,a macho Marine living in a Gay neighborhood and house,a member of the Minutemen group(a group of border citizens who try to stem illegal immigrants at the U.S./Mexico border)living with a family of illegal immigrants from Mexico,an Atheist living with Christians,an American working in India where call-centers train natives to "sound more American"(as per outsourcing) and a pro-choice woman living and working at a pro-life birth and counseling center. I know there are other shows,I haven't sen all of them,but I've sen enough of this series' episodes to say that I am quite impressed with this show and its aims.

The "fish-out-of-water" concept for a television reality show is such a delicate endeavor:basically,it seems like a set-up for either showing up the participant or showcasing the group the participant has joined as being rubes,fanatics or a combination of both. But this show takes great pains to explain and document both sides of the issue,with Spurlock interviewing members of both sides and giving those involved(And in some cases,those allied with both sides)as much time as possible in front of the camera to vent misgivings,discoveries and feelings. Very similar to other reality programs,but--as alluded before--it's the outcomes and the intent of this show is what pleases me.

To those who don't believe reality shows can be used to evoke interest,educate and make attempts to build bridges as opposed to burning them,I would point them to this show and hope that more people(as well as FX network)give this a chance.
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A mixed series of documentaries but generally interesting, engaging and well worth a look
bob the moo19 April 2006
Following on from his month long experiment involving eating McDonalds and seeing his body breaking down, Morgan Spurlock hosts this documentary series that places people into different worlds and situations to gain a better understanding or awareness of what it is like. The subjects include an out-of-shape man undergoing anti-aging treatments, a straight man living in a homosexual area and a Christian living in a Muslim family. To kick it all off Morgan and his fiancé spend 30 days trying to live on minimum wage and survive.

Although the concept isn't actually as new as some people seem to think it is (nobody else ever saw BBC's "Living with the Enemy"?) the idea is still a good one and the potential is right there. The concept of taking people and getting them to walk a mile in someone else's shoes is clever and it allows Spurlock to highlight important issues. In reality the results are mixed with some of the shows being impacting and serious affairs while others are a bit like the experimenting on bodies a la "Super Size Me". The difference between the two extremes can be seen in the first two episodes. The first episode is exceptional documentary film making. Looking at the realities of minimum wage living had me open mouthed and disgusted – I knew that my take home pay is a lot, lot higher than $6 (£4) per hour but never appreciated what that actually meant in reality. However the second show is more of a physical experiment and, although interesting, is not as compelling an issue to pick up and run with. And so the series continued with this inconsistency – with the next show forcing a man to look at the Muslims he doesn't like despite not knowing any, and then later shows including a mother binge drinking for a month.

Spurlock is a great host but not all those involved in the series are that engaging. It helps therefore that each episode is broken down with the same approach Super Size had – the experiment itself makes up part, with animated sections etc filling in the background to the issues (for example in the Muslim episode we get basic background to the religion to supplement Dave's learning experience). Each episode is different but really it doesn't really matter where each ends (some make it to the end, some bail out half way) because what matters is the journey. In this regard not all episodes are as good as others but generally they are mostly interesting and worth a look, with at least one of them (the minimum wage) being worth hunting down.

Overall then, an interesting series that is worth seeing despite the mixed successes of the series as a whole. Some of the episodes are so-so but mostly it is interesting stuff that is worth a look. At "worst" it is gimmicky experimentation that is interesting but at its best it is confrontational and insightful. If there will be a second series it would be interesting to see the subject range opened up because series 1 did rather reflect the liberal views of Spurlock.
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An Unannoying (Mostly) Reality Show
darienwerfhorst18 August 2006
Unlike most reality shows which dwell on the negative, or the shows where people have their "outsides" redone, I think Spurlock's attempt is to make a show where people can really walk a mile in other people's shoes...

I don't think he believes he will change minds...somebody like Frank, who lost one country (Cuba) and fears he will lose another (USA) is probably way too old to change his mind...but he at least understands why people come to the U.S., the economic need to immigrate, and can start to understand while people might be willing to break the law in order to better their lives.

It's very interesting to watch people to start to open up their minds (in most cases) and try to figure out what makes other humans tick. And the good episodes, where, for example, Christian Mom realizes that Athiest Mom is also a very good mother, are real breakthrough moments.
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Hosed down with political correctness and best taken with a grain of salt, but Spurlock makes "30 Days" a fun trip over the reality fence
liquidcelluloid-124 September 2005
Network: FX; Genre: Documentary, Reality; Content Rating: TV-PG - MA (occasionally strong language); Perspective: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);

Season Reviewed: 2 seasons

At this point, after "The Shield", "Nip/Tuck" and "Rescue Me", I am putty in the palm of FX's hand. HBO and Showtime - look out. This is the network that is poised to become the new home of quality television. "30 Days" is the network's first step away from scripted dramas and it is a generally successful addition to the line-up.

Created and hosted by Morgan Spurlock, this reality series and something of a spin-off from his entertaining, well made obesity exploration documentary "Super-Size Me". Each week Spurlock finds somebody who is willing to immerse themselves in someone else's life for 30 days - somebody who, like the ABC British remake "Wife Swap", is their polar opposite or is someone the media has told us that person should dislike. A Christian lives as a Muslim, a Christian lives as a gay man, gas-guzzling SUV lovers live off the grid and a man who lost his job to outsourcing takes takes one in India. See the pattern here? Even when we do meet an atheist, who wants "God" taken out of the pledge, living with a peaceful religious family (did Spurlock read my season 1 review?), the show flips its formula around and takes her side. We didn't need to see Spurlock's ACLU card to know where he stands.

But like in "Super-Size Me", Spurlock is fair and he doesn't look down on the participants or lecture to us too horribly. He comes off like more of an "awe shucks" inquisitor then a pit-bull hell bent on proving a hypothesis. Even his human subjects are sympathetic, if only because of how hard they are trying to make this unenviable situation work. That fairness and authenticity makes "30 Days" almost indistinguishably from every other "reality" show. It isn't trying to put something over on us or humiliate the participants. That is refreshing - which is quite the commentary on the state of reality TV.

The effect Spurlock's perspective does have on the show is that many of the experiments really only make sense in a vacuum. There is no explanation as to why people are on minimum wage or why Americans believe what they do about Islam, just that it happens and we need to fix it somehow. All episodes end with the same bleeding-heart message of tolerance and diversity and the two opposites becoming close friends - which is predictable. I'm not asking for "balance" here, just a little more imagination in the topics.

In the best episodes, the experiments put us into a squeamish fear for the health of the subjects - such as "Outsourcing", "Binge Drinking Mom" and the best, "Minimum Wage" where Spurlock and his fiancé, Alex, themselves hit the streets of Detroit in what becomes a real trial for survival. "Minimum Wage" is exceptional TV. It was my hope that the rest of the season could match its intensity. But in the 2nd episode, an experiment to debunk hormone therapy, the concept is changed up all together and becomes more like "Penn & Teller: Bullshit".

With many of the results predictable, "Days" isn't about how it ends,but about the process - and actually getting to see how this life change slowly effects people is a quite a bit of fun. It is here when the show makes the same fundamental mistake that every other reality show does. As exceptional as the packaging is, the fact remains: real people aren't very interesting. The participants are admirable in their guts and Spurlock finds fairly interesting people to go through this, but even they are unable to carry the show for the whole hour.

Fortunately, Spurlock has planned for this. He uses the old documentary stand-by of animated sequences to move through quick educational vignettes and history lessons. Nothing profound, but they are informative enough to get everybody up to speed. Spurlock himself also pops up intermittently amid the experiments to do little experiments of his own, like going down to Mexico and trying to buy his own HGH or interviewing a parent whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. The show comes back to life when Spurlock, or his fiancé (a game gal if there ever was one), appear back on the screen. Spurlock is a great host/tour guide: energetic, creative, funny, clever - all the things Michael Moore isn't. He pokes fun at his own mustache in the single funniest line of the season.

"30 Days" should be taken with a grain of salt and has clearly been sanitized for our politically correct protection (his depiction of media sacred cows as the gay man and the American Muslim is strictly by the book), it achieves what is no doubt the goal - to spark debate and discussion at home or at work and have a little fun in the process.

The show is restrained emotionally. On one hand it never degrades into sap, on the other hand Spurlock doesn't go full force and give us an emotional punch in the face some stories probably need. On the other hand it isn't manipulative. This is a slight show, but Spurlock makes it work. Plug it back into the reality/documentary genre it belongs in and it looks even better. I hope the show returns and would like to see Spurlock given the chance to really get creative with the experiments. Twist the knife a bit. The potential is there for a great product.

* * * /4
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Morgan Spurlock continues the 30 days theme, with spotty success.
Anonymous_Maxine7 November 2006
Given the sheer brilliance and immediate importance of Super Size Me, I was eager to see Morgan Spurlock's next project, the unscripted documentary series "30 Days." Within a few minutes into the first episode, it becomes clear that he is going to use the same structure as he used in his feature documentary, but it also becomes clear that there are a great many subjects and issues in the country and in the world that could use the old Spurlock treatment, if not to solve them, to at least call people's attention to them.

In that way, I would say that the series is already a success. Sadly, I doubt his documentary (or even the far superior book - and upcoming, almost surely inferior movie - Fast Food Nation) has had the impact that he had hoped for and America (and our health) really need, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

The basis of this series is that each week someone is taken out of their daily lives and placed into the lives of someone else, someone either polarly different from them, or who leads a lifestyle that is morally, politically, religiously, or some way abhorrent or unacceptable for whatever reason.

The Binge Drinking Mom, for example, was abhorred by her daughter's kamikaze-style partying, as was the straight guy by all of the gays that he was surrounded by for a month, and the Christian found himself unwilling and unable to follow many of the customs of the Muslims with whom he lived in his episode. Many of the episodes are astonishing in their ability to illuminate the plight of some of the people in this country, such as the first episode, about our nation's ridiculous minimum wage, as well as to really change and heal uninformed and prejudicial feelings and beliefs, such as the episode where the straight man lives with a gay man for a month. There are true differences and real friendships made, not some contrived piece of claptrap staged for the passing cameras.

Then again, some episodes reveal something of a lack of ideas, or at least a failed experiment. The Binge Drinking Mom episode, for example, is stunning in its pointlessness and absurdity, almost as if it belonged in a different series. There is absolutely no sense of realism or positive change anywhere in the episode. If anything, it is the mother whose weakness should be focused on, given the pathetically wan behavior she exhibits when confronted with her daughter's belligerent behavior. She hangs her head in submission as her daughter puts her hand in her face to shut her up about her partying as she answers her ringing cell phone and complains to one of her friends about her pain-in-the-ass mom.

Had mom calmly reached over (as mine surely would have done), taken the phone out of her daughter's hand, snapped it in half and laid the pieces onto the table, and then laid down the law, she would have gotten her daughter's attention, at least for the remainder of the time that they spent at the table. Instead, the mother's ensuing drinking experiment comes off as a tired plea of desperation which neither the daughter nor the audience can ever take seriously.

Nevertheless, the series as a whole has a lot of good points to make about everything from drinking to religion to sexual orientation, and it is lucky in that it has a pretty open-ended premise. As long as there are problems in America, theoretically it could go on forever. Although given the problem of the diminishing American attention span, much of America, myself included (although not for lack of interest), may soon be on the lookout for what Morgan's got up his other sleeve.
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Good Show but not enough exploration
lrademac0815 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I started late in the game with the show. I only recently seen some of Morgan Spurlock's movies. Its now 2011 and there is a glut of Documentary Reality TV Shows out there. And most are pretty bad. Of the 3 episodes of 30 Days I've seen on Netflix I gotta say its a pretty decent show. I wish this show was out right now, because it would be better than most of the garbage that's out now.

I agree with other reviewers that 30 Days waters down the subject theme so 30 Days is shown in 1hr so regular Americans get a sample of what the individual goes through. Of the first 3 episodes I would complain that the Individuals do not fully go through a full 30 Days. They start Day 1 or 2 or even 3 showing a Lead In of whats gonna happen. Then if lucky the person has started the journey by Day 4. Its cheating in my book. the 1st episode of Minimum Wage hit the closest to home for me. Because I have worked Minimum Wage jobs and tried to live on them. To the reviewers who say Its not a reflection of Real Life I say boo to you. My wife and I feel just because I was earning only $150 a week working full time doesn't mean you have to become a monk. If a person works hard, saves money, makes sacrifices and uses the resources that are out there in the world then YES you can go 1 time a Month to go to the Movies or Out to Dinner. Instead of paying $30 for 4 people to go to the movies, you go to the Cheap Show... Even in 2003/2004 when that TV Show was aired I am sure there were a Cheap Movie night somewhere. Its now 2011 and in Michigan Unemployment is terrible. Minimum Wage is higher at about $7.50 an hour or so But a person cannot survive on much. Gas for my car runs about $40 a week. Utility bills can be harsh with easily $80 to $100 a month for gas and another $120 a month for electricity. The 30 Days episode made some cheats... Spurlock & his GF Alex, were not living on Minimum Wage for a long enough time. They did not have to sacrifice much. If Spurlock would do it again I'd say try for 6 months and tell me how you feel... For Me working at a Grocery Store full time making Minimum Wage where THERE IS NO BUS service and If you don't have a working Car then you are SOL.

The 2nd episode of the guy trying to do this Anti-Aging thing was the episode that bugged me the most. First the guy didn't begin his experiment until about Day 5. Second the guy and his wife were whiny stupid annoying spoiled cry babies who had 3 beautiful kids already and all the damn wife could think about was what if her husband couldn't have any more kids. They were both 30 somethings already with 3 kids! WTF Try being in your 30's and all you WANT IS ANY KIDS???? My wife and I have been trying to have kids for 10 years. Third the guy was placing Unrealistic goals to Become youthful again. HE Was maybe, just maybe 30 pounds overweight. All He needed was to take a Multi-vitamin, Drink Water, Eat healthy, Exercise. That's all He needed to do. Popping 40 plus pills a day is b.s. and poking yourself with Testosterone and HGH was just ASKING for trouble.

The 3rd episode I saw was very interesting to me. Because I LIVE IN Michigan, I'm In DETROIT and I drive in and around Dearborn 3-4 times a month. I did not like the guy Dave, the so called Faithful Christian at first because He's feeling conflicted claiming he didn't want to be Worshiping another God. UH DUDE, If he did Any Reading at anytime and Understood the History of his Own Faith It wouldn't have been too harmful to accept. How many people are afraid of Jews? Why Not? I do commend the guy Dave for making an effort to learn more of the Muslim culture. He never fully gave it his all though. A couple times I wanted to slap the crap out of him for his attitudes. But I guess that's why 30 Days is a decent show. However There is a lot that is Missing. You can feel that Its been severely Watered down.

I wish 30 Days was still around, It's better than a lot of these other Doc style reality shows In my opinion. I plan on watching the Rest of the episodes as time allows.
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Another Hollywood Hypocrite
tonyandkris510628 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the episode about living on minimum wage. It went as far as an Oprah Winfrey's appearance for the said episode. It's bad enough people struggle making ends meet week to week. Then having this hypocrite exploiting the problem. I didn't appreciate the constant complaining from him or his significant other, throughout. Queston is how any people have the power to pay their medical bills from the ER? sure he shows that the bill is high, but he paid the remaining balance(from his own pocket) after-wards from his "harrowing" experience. How many poor people have that type of privilege after 30 days to pay off their bills. Instead they are starving and "robbing Peter to pay Paul". Complaining throughout the episode isn't a humbling thing for him. The movie and restaurant scene is appalling. Another privilege he has that poor people don't.
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"I have now lived on minimum wage for 25 minutes and this totally sucks"
bottlekid17 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have only seen the minimum wage episode yet i have no intention of watching the others, how can that be? Morgan starts theatrically complaining about his awful situation living on minimum wage right at the beginning of the episode and the complaining never stops. Ever. Luckily for the viewer, his skinny girlfriend is just as annoying as Morgan (if not even more annoying).

And then to top it all, they go to the movies and buy bottled water for 2,50 and after that go to a restaurant to eat out all the while they naturally *drumroll* complain about being poor.

I don't care if the other episodes may or may not be better than this. No one should be forced to watch this crap.
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Dose not tell all the facts
D0000075 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This has a spoiler in it, but if anyone has seen the first episode of this show you see life from the point of view of a person who makes minimum wage and lives in the state of Ohio. Yes prior to the 2006 election minimum wage in Ohio was 5.15 dollars and hour, but after the election the state chose to raise it to 6.80 everyone voted on it so even though I voted no its better to have state taxpayers pass something than just the state to do it. It starts off with Morgan putting all his money credit cards and such in a place where he cannot get to them. O.K great trying to see how the other half lives. he finds out how hard it is to do. The fact is he never held a minimum wage job he had temp jobs where you were paid for a days work, not by the hour but a set pay for the whole day you worked. This is not living off minimum wage. The poverty line in the USA for a married couple with no children is 13,200 dollars in the greater 48 states. its higher in Alaska and Hawaii. If he and his wife worked two jobs at minimum wage they would make a total of 21,424 dollars before taxes if you make that much in Ohio taxes would probably only take out 400 dollars. Thus they are over the poverty level. They will not live a great life but they will not live like how it was portrayed in this episode. He is a one sided person and all his movies are the same, go ahead and watch it but make sure you know the facts before hand
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very good idea
blazebaby456720 January 2007
'i think you should do a 30 days on me, Katie Philippi cause i keep trying to go 30 days without candy (something i have been addicted to since i was a kid) and i'm on my 4 try and i haven't gone over 4 days w/o candy. Trust me this would sell. Just the other day i was jumping on my friends back so i can have a tootsie roll but she wanted me to stick with this but i couldn't. It scares me how addicted to candy I am. I don't think i have gone over 4 days without candy. The amazing thing is i'm not fat over it either! my email is blazebaby4567@yahoo.com. i think you should really think about this cause it would sell for sure'
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Bothered by summary of Judaism in Muslim episode
bvsc010023 December 2006
When Morgan explains the differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, he really gets Judaism wrong. I understand that he was making a quick and, admittedly flippant, contrast for the purposes of the show. However, he describes the Jews as believing in one true God and "still waiting for His son, the messiah, to save them." "Mainstream" Judaism does not believe in the messiah being the son of God, but rather descended from King David. The Jewish messiah is to be a leader and herald in a time of return to Israel for all Jews and other specific criteria, none of which are divine powers. Another problem with Morgan's statement is that Jews are not waiting to be saved. Salvation or being saved is a Christian belief. Jews do not believe there is a need to be saved in the way Christians believe. There are many responsibilities and burdens we carry in this world, but, for a Jew, Salvation is not one of them. Please notes that when I says Jews believe or do not believe, I am referring the Jewish belief system that most practicing Jews follow. Obviously individuals have their own ideas.
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This review is only for the episode: Atheist vs. Christians
user-865-6237609 December 2013
**only for the episode:A THEIST VS. CHRISTIANS*** **the content may spoil some parts of this episode for readers**

For my movie/TV show review, I chose to watch an episode of 30 days (atheist living with a Christian family). We had already watched an episode of 30 days (when a Christians lives with a family of Muslims), and I found it really interesting and I really enjoyed it. I was looking forward to watching this episode where an atheist lives with a Christian family.

This episode tells about an Atheist woman named Brenda who moves in with a Christian family in Texas. The host family names are Michael and Tracy (mom and dad). The rules for Brenda is to stay with a Christian family for 30 days, attend weekly church services with her host family, and to participate in their bible studies. Over the 30 days, Brenda tries to emerge herself in the Christian faith, but doesn't really succeed (in my opinion). She often has to defend herself against others because she doesn't believe in a god, or gods, and the people around her find that offending. She even brings her host family to an atheist community to share her views on the world.

I feel that Brenda brought up good points and questions about god, and she made people think about what they were believing in. But overall, I don't think she really knew what the Christian religion was at the end. She didn't participate in the church ceremonies of singing hymns. Though she did feel more comfortable about opening up in the bible studies. I don't think she tried as hard as she could've. Overall, I give this episode a seven out of ten. I would still recommend it (to anyone), but I think the episode where the Christian man lives with a Muslim family will be more interesting and fun to watch.
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