RVOD125 The Fad Diet Circus

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Never take dietary advice from a man whose head looks like a boiled onion.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:

Dr. Atkins is evil.


That unsightly torso is preferable to his later outfits.We begin with a leisurely montage of bathing beauties while a narrator rambles on about the virtually unattainable ideals of physical perfection. Gradually the montage shifts to normal-(i.e. overweight)-looking people. Now the narrator runs down a list of bad-idea-diets while heavyset actors comically pass out after every pantomime of an unhealthy meal.

Just before the halfway mark, the short first mentions Dr. Atkins. In the remaining runtime, the filmmakers show clips of an ambush-style interview with Dr. Atkins in a hideous plaid jacket at his “opulent” office. (“His relatively modest office furniture flies in the face of God!” Mike declares.) Between interview clips, the narrator sustains a relentless and unrestrained attack on Dr. Atkins and his assertion that eating only red meat will help you lose weight. The trials conducted by the filmmakers demonstrate this assertion to be correct, but only in the short run. In the long run, it leads to weight gain and health problems. The narrator also extols the virtues of a low-calorie diet as healthy and sustainable alternative.


Fad Diet Circus a strident attack film with the good grace not to pretend otherwise. This measure of self-awareness helps it, as it uses bikini ladies, humorous pantomime and over-the-top inflammatory rhetoric to get its point across. Its point is still valid, too; Atkins is still popular, and still unhealthy. Has anyone taken on The Secret yet?

A few favorite comments: When the narrator tells us our national obesity problem is our own fault, Mike asks, “Isn’t there an ethnic group we can blame?” As a dog stands by the table to beg during a particularly plaid-drenched pantomime, Kevin says, “I don’t want food, I just want you to dress better.” As the short ends, Bill shouts, “Dr. Atkins is a lying demon! Spread the word!” Like I said, it’s a strident attack film that knows what it is and revels in it. The commentary was funny enough. I’m not sure why I didn’t like it more. Maybe it didn’t revel enough? I dunno.