The documentary Super Size Me created by - TMS-8T

“Supersize Me” Response
By Jack Palmer
The documentary Supersize Me created by Morgan Spurlock investigates whether
the fast food chain, McDonalds, is contributing to obesity in America because of the food
it serves. Spurlock’s thesis for the documentary poses the interesting question, “Will
eating only McDonalds food for 30 days cause obesity or negatively impact my health?”
Throughout the film, Spurlock carefully uses several techniques such as logos, ethos and
pathos to persuade his audience that a diet consisting strictly of McDonalds food can
make a person really sick in a variety of significant ways.
Spurlock’s effective use of the logos technique in Supersize Me presents logical,
factual information to viewers in order to convince them not to eat fast food. For
example, Spurlock presents the statistic that 25% of the American public eats fast food
everyday!! This is a huge number of people and when Spurlock combines that factual
statistic with a series of graphic pictures of different obese people, the audience
immediately realizes the serious health risks of eating fast food. In the documentary we
also learn that there are 40,000 obesity-related deaths per year in the United States and 46
million Americans, more than the entire population of Spain, eat McDonalds food once a
day! These alarming statistics work well to show the viewer that our society is facing a
major obesity problem that could be caused by eating too much fast food.
Spurlock also uses ethos to prove his thesis. Ethos, meaning ethical, is the effort
to establish trust with the viewer so that the documentary is convincing. In my opinion,
the best example of the use of ethos is when Spurlock asks random people on the street to
recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Most of them don’t know all the words to the pledge but
they can accurately recite the Big Mac slogan song! How sad that the stupid fast food
culture can be more significant in Americans’ lives than the oath of loyalty to our
country!! Spurlock also convinces me to trust the results of his “McDiet” by showing us
his before and after checkups with his doctor. Before the diet, he weighed 185 lbs with
11% body fat while after the diet, he tipped the scale at 210 lbs and had 18% body fat. An
additional example of ethos is the lawyer’s statement when representing the two obese
girls in their suit against McDonalds. The lawyer says that McDonalds food is actually
addicting and Spurlock reinforces this theory in the film because his personal experience
shows us that by the second week he is not feeling good from eating all the fatty
McDonalds food but his body’s cravings for it can only be satisfied by eating more of the
very food that is making him sick. This is a vicious, addictive cycle!
The final technique that Spurlock uses in Supersize Me is pathos which appeals to
people’s emotions. I thought the film spoke best to the emotions of fear and sadness. I
felt afraid when Spurlock called his mom to tell her that his liver was being destroyed by
his McDiet. His mom’s voice on the phone was very worried and it made me understand
the emotional pain that families have to endure when trying to help an obese relative.
Spurlock also uses the emotion of disgust by continuing to eat his big yogurt parfait even
though he finds a giant black hair in it. A final example of pathos is the recurring shots of
Ronald McDonald. In the beginning of the film, Ronald looks like an innocent, cheerful
clown but he gradually transforms into an evil, scary clown. I think this shows that
McDonalds “Happy Meals” are not really happy or healthy!!
Before I watched Supersize Me, I ate fast food once in a while on car trips but I
knew it wasn’t good for me. I just thought there was no alternative. After watching this
film I definitely feel much more educated about the fast food industry and how it can
really change your life or even end it. Morgan Spurlock used the three techniques of
logos, ethos and pathos to present a convincing argument on the dangers of a fast food
diet. However, his most persuasive and memorable technique for me was pathos because
I felt really sad for the people who innocently got sucked into the fast food eating cycle in
an addicting way that is as harmful as being a slave to cigarettes or drugs. After viewing
this film, I think fast foods are addicting and I think it is irresponsible of the fast food
chains to ignore that fact. This type of food is threatening people’s health and although
there are regulations placed on the sale of cigarettes to minors, there are no restrictions
put on the sale of fast food to kids. That makes no sense to me! Knowledge is power and
I say thank you to Morgan Spurlock because I think his documentary Supersize Me will
save the health of many people by presenting factual, reliable and emotional information
on the dangers of fast food. I know I will never look at a Big Mac in the same way again!