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Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" Finale Review: Is This How It Was Originally Supposed to End?

Normally, the season finale of a reality show provides a lot of answers. But for me the season finale of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” actually produces one major question.

When Rascal Flatts came to town to perform a free concert as part of Jamie’s “Food Revolution Festival,” I was sure that the show would end with a sappy music montage set to their performance of “My Wish.” And—Spoiler Alert—I was sort of right. But in all honesty, the festival and the band are pretty much an afterthought as the band actually takes the stage about six minutes into the show. The episode is all about what happened after Jamie left town the first time.

Jamie returns to find that Rhonda is planning to reintroduce the processed food into the schools on Fridays in order to get rid of a surplus. Jamie also finds some troubling news at Central City Elementary as he discovers that many parents are choosing to pack their kids’ lunches with unhealthy choices.

Jamie sets out to not only stop Rhonda from reintroducing the processed food, but also to expand his menu to all the schools in Cabell County. And he realizes that in order to do that, he’ll need help from none other than Alice.

At one point, Jamie tells the camera after a lengthy rant that it will be at least five minutes before he rants again. And he’s not far off as he does a lot of ranting in the hour. But I have to say I agree with most of it. I was a little shocked to see some of the lunches that parents were packing for their kids—especially given the alternative that was being prepared for them.

But for me, the biggest moment of the episode is when Jamie asks Alice if she has heard from people after the show started airing. She tells him that it was more than what she ever expected. And you can tell from her eyes that she has been hurt by a lot of what people had to say about her. It truly made me want to cry because I know that some of those hurtful comments were posted to my own blog. And I got my share of hurtful comments as well. But I’ve learned to be thick skinned and I hope Alice has too because I still think she’s awesome and I completely stand by calling her my hero.

I don’t want to give away too much about what happens but I will say that you’ll end the hour with a good feeling and maybe more importantly, the country will leave the show feeling positive about Huntington. It’s a pretty solid hour and a huge improvement over last week’s.

The question I’m left with is whether or not this is how the show was originally supposed to end. The “Food Revolution Festival” was custom made to be the ending to the show with Huntington coming together to support Jamie and getting a special treat in return. So I can’t help but wonder if that was the original ending and then the producers decided Jamie dealing with the issues that developed after his departure would be better. If that is the case, the show does make the new ending work well and still gets in the sappy ending with a special twist.

ABC is calling tomorrow night’s episode a season finale as opposed to a series finale, making it sound like they may consider another round. The inconsistent ratings probably mean that won’t be the case, but I think it would be interesting to see what Jamie would do in another city.

I guess we’ll just Stay Tuned…

The season finale of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” airs Friday, April 23rd at 9 p.m. on ABC…

Photo Credit: Holly Farrell