Huntington Resident Mary Calhoun Brown with Jamie Oliver
Earlier this week I caught the premier of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, a reality TV show that follows this chummy Brit around Huntington, WV as he tries to transform the eating habits in what he claims is America's unhealthiest city.
But not everyone in West Virginia welcomed Jamie Oliver with open arms. While some are truly resistant to changing their eating habits (and being told what to do by an outsider), others are simply insulted and disappointed at the way ABC portrays their humble, southern town.
Many have questioned if he's there to make a real change, or simply to make a lucrative TV show.
"This is nothing more sensationalist, predatory reality TV. Unfortunately, West Virginia is an easy target and Jamie Oliver is an up-and-comer," claimed a comment on a Newsweek story.
The show starts off with pushback as Oliver appears on the local Rocky n' Rod morning show, where DJ Rod protests Oliver's authority saying, "We don't want to sit around and eat lettuce all day. Who made you king?"
Oliver continues to face resistance. First, from the lunch ladies who doubt his conviction that kids would choose fresh chicken and salad over frozen chicken nuggets and neon milk. Then, from the kids themselves as they choose the later.
Towards the end viewers are fed a melodramatic monologue where Oliver proclaims, with tears, his bona fide desire to change the way Huntingtonians eat. But some locals just aren't falling for Oliver's twist.
Mary Calhoun Brown, Huntington resident and mother of three said, "It's ironic to me that as backward as West Virginians are portrayed, every one of us but Jamie knew that a few personal visits and some cameras are not going to change the eating habits of a community. You just can't do that in the short amount of time he was here."
She continued, "If someone REALLY wants to make a change in our town, they need to put down roots and become part of the community."
Watch the show for free on Hulu.