ROX #90 is extreme in at least four ways.
At over an hour, it is the longest episode in the series to date.
It also has the shortest title: “Fat.”
This show covers more geographical area than ever before, with scenes shot in three states and Taiwan.
It took longer to make this show than any program we've done so far. J started shooting in February of 2003, and I finished editing in April of 2004. But unlike ROX #87, which also took over a year to produce, it's my belief that all the extra time that went into the show actually made it better.
Indeed, I think this may be the best ROX so far, at least on the technical front. But if making ROX has taught me anything, it's that substance is more important than style. You'll have to judge the content for yourself.
This show probably covers a broader range of topics than any we've done. It has everything: body image, mohawks, death, Mardi Gras, tropical fruit, a pig named Rosie, basic bicycle maintenance, nitrous oxide, even a mixed drink or three.
One of the themes is the Atkins diet, which J and Day followed for a few weeks in early 2003. We thought it would be an opportunity for some cute word-play: body fat, dietary fat, Fat Tuesday, and so on. It was merely one topic of many in the mix. But Atkins mania ramped up during post-production, and by 2004 the hype was out of control. The cultural context had changed, and we were concerned that the program might seem like pro-Atkins propaganda, which was not our intention. So I shot the “Vegan Lunch” sequence (with help from Paul, Helen, Rosie and XY) in March of 2004 to provide a little balance and some critical thoughts about Atkins.
I think this program is more cinematic than our previous efforts. It seems more like a short film than a TV show in many ways. I'm not sure how I feel about that.