RVOD105 Families: Food and Eating

(1976, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Thanks, oh great Sailor Moon, for the food.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:

People in different parts of the world eat different things.


I bet starving children in Mexico would much rather eat mashed potato than bowls of bloody water.Three families in three different parts of the world prepare dinner. The Japanese family buys seafood and roots, which they keep under the floor until it’s time to prepare them for dinner. The Mexican family shakes unfamiliar fruit from a tree and kills a chicken for a meal in their hut. The American family loads up their cart at the grocery store and goes home to eat chicken and mashed potatoes.


Families: Food and Eating takes an often interesting look at meals in different cultures, but mostly it’s a not-so-subtle jab at First World prosperity. Yes, it’s probably representative of the depicted nations’ relative economies to portray middle class Americans and Japanese alongside dirt poor Mexicans. On the other hand, once you throw off the relative family demographics that way, you’ve pretty abandoned the whole “examination of cultural foods” thing, repurposing the short to trot out the old “starving children in [insert name of poor country here]” mealtime guilt trip used by parents since time immemorial. Or, in the film’s own terms, “Eat your greens and mashed potatoes, because you could be living in a tin shack with no floor, helping your grandma dismember a live chicken over a bowl of blood.”

Though they shy away from ethnic slurs, the riffers have no problems making fun of other cultures. My favorites refer to the Japanese, including many, many jabs about tentacle hentai while the children fondle the squids on display. Also from the Japanese shopping scenes: Mike translates the mother’s request to the shopkeeper as, “Just give me whatever’s most disgusting.” Later, as the American children crowd around their mom in the grocery store, Kevin says, “It’s like shopping with a pack of poorly behaved dingoes.” Bill notes the shopping cart’s contents with, “The Mexican family won’t see that much food in a year.” Throughout, they punch up an already semi-ridiculous short with enough commentary on all the cultures (including our own) to make the whole thing hilarious.