Adam Ruins Everything (2015) s03e01 Episode Script

Adam Ruins a Plate of Nachos

1 Flaky corn tortilla chips a shredded three-cheese blend and a pound of crumbled bacon.
And that's just phase one.
(both chuckling) Looks yummy! I brought sparkling cider and almond milk.
Note, they do not go together.
Adam what are you doing at bros' night? Emily invited me on your behalf.
Great.
But, buddy, you're just here to hang, right? Not to ruin anything for your TV show? Dude has a TV show? I watch TV! Yeah, but just here for funsies tonight.
(electronic warbling tones) Ah Eh (warbling tones continue) Mm (beeping) Actually (buzzer) Seriously? My nachos? You're gonna spend an entire episode of your TV show ruining a plate of nachos? No, I was just gonna say that nachos are a really interesting microcosm of all the problems with food in America today.
No need to do the whole episode.
Yo, I am hooked! Do the rest! Nope, 'cause Adam just said that Okay! Hi! I'm Adam Conover! And this is "Adam Ruins Everything.
" Closed Captions Provided by truTV I'm Blaze.
Stove.
Nice to meet you guys.
It's my first boys' night.
It's "bros' night.
" Whoa, Murph.
That's a little pedantic.
He's the one who's always fact-checking me! No.
You know what? You're right.
Adam, you are here.
It is bros' night, so, please, bro yourself comfortable.
'Cause you're just in time for the guacdrop! Ha ha! G-g-g-g-g-g-guacdrop! Ooh, guacy-droppy! It's so sloppy! This is wild! But you know what's really far out? Mexican drug cartels have infiltrated the avocado trade.
(music stops) Hold up.
Drug cartels? Yup.
It is a crazy story.
No, Adam, at bro night, we watch "Game of Thro" What? Are we in Mexico? Yup! You wanted to hear the twisted tale of how the drug cartels got involved in the avocado trade, right? No! Oh, we're here anyway.
Americans can't get enough avocados.
In 2017, we imported $2.
6 billion worth of 'em.
Nearly all of that from Mexico.
But we weren't always goo-goo for the guac glop.
In fact, Mexican avocados used to be banned in the U.
S.
until the lifting of a trade ban with Mexico in 1994.
Okay, I've got your avocado toast, avocado smoothie, and avocado mimosa.
Sorry that took a couple decades.
America was eager to import cheap Mexican vegetables and export American staple crops.
And Mexico was deep in debt, so the U.
S.
government offered to bail them out.
But they demanded some big compromises.
Okay, Mexico, if we're gonna trade, you gotta be more like us.
More business, less taxes.
But if I can't collect taxes, how am I supposed to run my country? Oh, relax, Tío Manuel.
It'll be fine.
But it wasn't fine.
Since the Mexican government wasn't investing as much in local institutions, the cartels were able to strong-arm small-town police forces, pay off politicians, and just take over entire towns.
I am the one who knocks over your town's infrastructure.
Who's the bad guy? The cartel dude or Uncle Sam? They both are, just in different ways.
Okay? Keep up.
But when the U.
S.
and Mexican governments started cracking down on the drug trade, the cartels needed to diversify their interests, which brings us to avocados.
They want to crack down on my drugs? Fine! I'll prey on a legal trade, like avocados.
No! (grunts) Wait! I didn't say no! (growling) (laughing) Oh, my God.
He bit through the pit.
The cartels have gained so much power over avocado farming that, at one point, they were taking 30% of Mexico's avocado profits, often using violence to do it.
This is the scariest shit I've ever seen! Isn't there anything the farmers can do? (man) Unfortunately, these farmers have very few options.
Who said that? This is Rodrigo Canales, a professor at Yale who studied the business strategies of drug cartels.
I'm wearing an underwire.
Adam, for the last time, it's just a wire.
An underwire is a completely different thing.
In some places, the cartels have such a stranglehold over the Mexican avocado trade that farmers have very few options to opt out.
So, every time I buy an avocado, I'm supporting a brutal crime ring? (whimpers) You could buy California avocados, but those are not available year-round.
Most importantly, not buying Mexican avocados only further victimizes these communities.
Some towns' entire economies are dependent on American imports.
And the avocado trade is only one small way in which these cartels benefit from Americans.
Weak gun laws in the U.
S.
allow them to purchase military-grade American weapons that they then use to intimidate communities and overpower local police forcers.
Byzantine immigration policies allow cartels to charge very steep fees for smuggling people across the border, even if those migrants have a legitimate reason to be here.
And it's important to remember that it's still the case that cartels make the vast majority of their profits from selling illegal drugs to American consumers.
So, Murph, the real problem isn't that Americans are eating too many avocados.
It's that we need to fix our broken gun, drug, and immigration policies.
Is this guy wearing an underwire? Told you so, Rodrigo! All right, muchachos! That was terrifying! No more! Wait, what are you guys doing? We've learned a lot from Adam's show.
It left us conflicted about the predicament of the main character and our own moral choices.
That's the mark of true prestige television.
You got snubbed at the Emmys.
So we're just gonna eat around the guac.
Okay, thank you, Adam.
Uh, luckily, there's still plenty of goodness all over these 'chos, like this big ol' bacon bite.
Bacon makes everything better.
Hate to be that guy, but bacon actually makes everything worse.
You love to be that guy! Adam, you cannot ruin bacon.
Bacon is not just the key ingredient to my nachos.
It's my thing.
Oh, yeah, dude! Same shirt! Everything's better with bacon.
I too love the flavor combination of animal fat and salt.
But the only reason bacon became a pop culture meme factory is that the pork industry waged a massive marketing campaign to pump our bellies full of pig parts and to cover up the health risks.
Oh, sure, it's a big pig conspiracy.
Give it up, Adam.
Nobody cares if bacon's a little fatty or whatever.
Oh, lots of people cared 30 years ago.
(all screaming) In the fat-phobic '80s, the Pork Board was able to market the heck out of the leaner cuts of the pig, such as the tenderloin.
(pig squeals) Okay, which fit person got the other white meat? Oh, me.
Me! Aww, a meat queue.
If you ask me, the '80s were the height of low fat and the golden age of rom-com.
But the Pork Board couldn't figure out how to sell the largest part of the pig, the fat-filled pork belly, which is where cuts like bacon come from.
Anybody want this? Hmm? Hello?! Eww! So, to solve their big, fat problem, they teamed up with the fast-food industry to create a bacon bonanza.
Like so many American mistakes, the plan was conceived poolside in Orlando.
In the early 1990s, the Pork Board's national marketing manager was schmoozing with Hardee's president Bob Autry.
Now, what the hell am I gonna do with all this pork belly? Nobody wants to eat it! Oh, I'll make them want it.
I'm gonna come up with a sandwich with the grease dropping down their chin, and we'll see what they say.
Gross.
But also delicious maybe.
After this meeting, Hardee's debuted the game-changing Frisco Burger.
(announcer on TV) Introducing Hardee's Frisco Burger.
Melted Swiss, sizzling bacon, and sliced tomatoes.
It wasn't long before other fast-food joints got in on the greasy animal-fat action.
It's a bacon club Chalupa.
Guys love bacon.
(announcer on TV) With bacon strips, bacon jam, and bacon crumbles.
The smell of fresh-cooked bacon.
It just moves you.
Come try a Wendy's Baconator.
And finally, after years of being told how epic bacon is, we turned it into a pop culture phenomenon.
There's bacon cupcakes, bacon bars, bacon lip balm, Baconnaise, bacon soda, bacon bandages, bacon lube, bacon wrapping paper, bacon air freshener, and even bacon film festivals.
The fad was so huge that, in 2008, seven out of every million baby boys were named (both) Bacon! (baby cries) Oh, I just love love.
So I built my entire personality around liking bacon because the Pork Board told me to? Pretty much.
But while they were shoving bacon down our throats, they neglected to mention that bacon can cause cancer.
There is overwhelming evidence that consuming processed meats, like bacon, increases your risk of cancer.
Health groups even rank them a group-1 known carcinogen.
Even if you eat just one club sandwich or hot dog a day, estimates show it increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 20%.
(bell dings) Aww, but I'm so good at eating hot dogs.
Someone must warn Kobayashi.
Processed meats have also been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
But Big Meat is fighting like hell to make sure you don't hear about it.
(doorbell rings) Hey! Stop that, you little punk! Let me talk to you for a second, huh? (metallic scraping) The pork and beef industries have known since the '70s that their food poses serious health concerns.
But they've bullied the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services into downplaying the risks.
In 1977, these guys were basically allowed to make their own line edits to the U.
S.
Dietary Guidelines.
See that word? (Adam) The chairman of the National Cattlemen's Association even pressured them into removing any reference to decreasing meat consumption.
We don't like that word.
(metallic scraping) Is he gonna chop his finger off? Worse.
He's gonna hit him with the lobbying money.
(cash register bell dings) Here.
Buy yourself something nice.
When the U.
S.
was gearing up to write its 2015 Dietary Guidelines, the meat industry spent approximately $10.
8 million in contributions to political campaigns, and another $6.
9 million in lobbying.
Oh, hi.
Sorry.
It's, uh, cold in here, and I'm really scared.
(all screaming) (all gasp) Wow! I can't believe my love of bacon was manufactured by a capitalist conspiracy.
And to think, we've been wearing these silly shirts that normalize a known carcinogen.
I mean, maybe instead of Murph's nachos, we should eat, I don't know vegetables.
Over my bacon-clogged body.
At the very least, we'll eat good, old-fashioned, boring ol' cheese on chips.
Does that work, Adam? Of course.
Unless anyone here is lactose intolerant.
Mm-mm.
Great.
Just checking, though.
There isn't, like, a dark truth about corn chips? Actually, yeah, there is.
Corn is destroying the American diet and the environment.
(screams) How can you have that strong of an opinion about corn chips? I, for one, think corn chips are fine! Murph, you're screaming right now, dude.
Sorry, Murph, but the horrible truth is that corn is the twisted root of everything that's wrong with America's food system.
The average American consumes 1 ton of corn per year.
(whistling) Hi, I'd like to file a claim.
Oh, geez.
Stove's bike.
How could we possibly be eating so much corn? Well, we didn't always.
Corn used to be just one crop of many on small family farms, and the government actually paid farmers to grow less of it.
That's a mighty fine crop of corn you got there.
Since you got such a big harvest, what do you say I pay you to take it easy next season? Yeah, I reckon that makes a ton of sense if we want to keep corn prices stable in this economy.
I'm getting teary-eyed at how much I respect that simple life.
Well, all that changed when a bunch of agribusiness bigwigs decided they could use government corn subsidies to turn a profit.
(sinister laughter echoing) (gasps) Hello, American corn farmer.
In 1971, Richard Nixon made agribusiness crony Early "Rusty" Butz his Secretary of Agriculture.
And Butz believed that, no matter what, more corn meant better business.
Wait, I'm sorry.
I can't get past the fact that his name was "Rusty" Butz.
Murph, focus.
Butz was big into corn! He started paying farmers to plant corn over their entire farms, from fencerow to fencerow.
My, what a big harvest you have.
What do you say I pay you to grow way more next season? Gee, does forcing a surplus really make much sense if we want to keep corn prices stable in this economy? Oh, don't worry.
I have a plan! (thunder crack) (laughing) Before Butz, in 1970, we produced just 4.
1 billion bushels of corn.
(bell dings) But by 2017, that number had nearly quadrupled.
(slide whistle ascending note, bird screeches) And agribusiness came up with places to stuff that corn you wouldn't even dream of.
A major food processing company called Archer Daniels Midland had a vested interest in Butz's corn surplus scheme.
ADM wanted to use corn to make more processed food for less money, and they did it with the help of a new invention called high-fructose corn syrup.
Aha! (bell dings) Oh, yes! Oh, we'll put it in soda and ketchup and bread and deli meat! And that's only the beginning.
Wait, there's corn in our meat? Oh, yes.
And that's where this corn story gets truly horrifying.
The corn surplus let farmers switch from grazing animals in pastures to a much cheaper feeding method.
Concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.
Most livestock in this country are now packed into cages and fed corn all day long, filling our diets with unhealthy corny meat, and worse, our land and water with massive amounts of corn-filled poop.
Just one CAFO facility can produce more waste than an entire city.
Each year, North Carolina's pigs produce almost 10 billion gallons of feces and urine.
That's enough to fill 15,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
And all of it has to go somewhere.
Billions of gallons of corn-fed poop is sprayed over fields as fertilizer, held in lagoons that seep disease and heavy metals into our groundwater, or just trucked away and dumped into rivers.
All of that poop, along with corn fertilizer runoff, causes algae blooms that kill fish and plants.
Agricultural runoff traveling from the Corn Belt down the Mississippi River has actually created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey.
Corn poop pollution has gotten so bad, it's actually a massive contributor to climate change.
Over 1/3 of methane emissions and more than half of nitrous oxide emissions come from farm animals' digestive tracts.
And our government is doing virtually nothing about it.
The EPA knew for 11 years that CAFO emissions are most likely in violation of the Clean Air Act, but they've never held these big corporate farms accountable.
All that corn going into our processed food and meat has turned what was once a small part of American farming into our main agricultural product.
In 2017, the average American consumed 41 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup.
(coughing) Guys! We gotta do something! The corn! It's coming for us! (screaming) In the average grocery store, more than 11,000 products contain some form of corn.
Vitamins, trash bags, toothpaste, charcoal, matches, batteries.
Even the shine on the cover of magazines and the outside of cucumbers is made from corn.
There's corn on my cukes? (screams) And on your mags! Americans are so full of corn, it can actually be seen in our cells on a molecular level.
(gasps) I'm corn? Nooo! (thunder rumbling) That's it.
I'm never making nachos again! Bros' night is over! Actually No! Just stop talking! You're not even a real bro, Adam! Whoa, Murph.
I'm sure Adam has some kind of act-four takeaway coming up that's gonna make us all feel better and less powerless.
Actually, I do.
You really know your TV, Blaze.
Thanks.
(coughs) (sobbing) All I wanted was to eat 'chos with my bros, and Adam made me feel like all of these problems with our food are all my fault! (chips crunching) Are you kidding me? You're eating the nachos?! Well, you gotta eat something, and the truth is, we don't have as much control as we think we do over what foods hit our plates.
Our global food economy is a mess, but, Murph, that's "nacho" fault.
Nice.
Trade policies, health regulations, subsidies, all of these things affect whether or not fresh and healthy foods are available or affordable.
(sniffling) Yeah, eating healthy is expensive.
When I go to Whole Foods, it's more like whole paycheck.
(laughter) Murph, you're hilarious.
Yeah, did you just think of that? Yeah, for a lot of people, cheap, unhealthy, processed foods made of subsidized corn are the only affordable option.
A recent study found that $1 buys 1,200 calories of chips and cookies, but only 250 calories of whole foods like carrots.
That's shocking.
Murph, I'm so glad you brought this up.
Yeah, seems like Murph is saying that, if we as a society decided to subsidize healthier fruits and veggies and had more transparency about what goes in our processed food and meats, we'd have healthier food options, and our environment would be healthier too.
Ahh.
Uh yeah, exactly.
And the most important thing isn't what you buy.
It's who you vote for.
Most food production is regulated by a piece of legislation called the Farm Bill, which gets reauthorized twice a decade, and the U.
S.
Dietary Guidelines are rewritten every five years.
So be aware of these issues and support elected officials who will have your interests at heart when the time comes.
And in the meantime, sometimes, occasionally, within moderation, we can have nachos? Yeah, with a little less bacon, though.
(bell dings) Oh! Yeah.
Here.
I made another batch.
Hey.
Thanks, bro.
Mmm.
Mmm.
Mmm.
These are better than mine, aren't they? No.
No.
What? No.
Adam's nachos suck.
Hey, Rodrigo.
So I'm backstage on our set.
Thank you so much for chatting with us from your secure location.
This is not really a secure location.
This is actually my office, um, in New Haven at the Yale School of Management.
But thank you, Adam, for the invitation.
(laughing) Okay, well, thanks for Thanks for ruining the illusion of our show.
I really appreciate it.
Why would the cartels get into avocados to begin with? I mean, of all the things, why avocados? Why not some other illegal trade? Well, I mean, one of the things we have to understand is that they already are in other illegal trades.
If there are other things going around that are also valuable, then it's kind of like, "Why not?" Like, I'm already here.
I've already spent a lot of energy and resources trying to control this territory and there's a very valuable market for avocados that I can get a piece of, then I will as well.
But another reason is that it can be a very helpful way to diversify, um, how they launder money.
So, in the U.
S.
, most of what we know about drug cartels comes from, you know, prestige hour-long drama television shows.
What is the biggest misconception that you think people get from that sort of television about this problem? When you frame the drug problem as this rogue, you know, kingpin who's running a business and who's just this, you know, crazy criminal Right, the guy I've seen on TV doing meth and screaming at everybody and, like, stabbing people with knives.
That guy.
Right.
Then if that's how you conceptualize why we have a drug A drug trade problem, then the solution is, go, please go catch that guy.
But when we understand that this is a systematic problem, a structural problem where we have demand, and therefore there's gonna be supply, it doesn't matter how many of these people you eradicate.
There's always gonna be somebody else who's gonna come up.
And so the more we fight these organizations only through force and we retain the structural characteristics of the market, the more we create an evolutionary dynamic where the organizations have to become increasingly sophisticated, increasingly well-organized, increasingly well-armed, increasingly aggressive.
So, the more we fight with force, until we address the structural problems, it just makes the problem worse.
Exactly.
Does that mean we need to, you know, create a legal market for these drugs? Is that what you advocate? There are only two ways in which you can resolve the incoherence between the regulation and behavior.
You either go the Singapore route, where they have aligned enforcement at all levels of the market, and they have extremely strict enforcement on consumption or you go the Portugal route, which has kind of decided to regulate every aspect of the drug market, which is what we did with alcohol, for example, when we saw the impacts of prohibition.
A third thing that we can do is make Americans much more aware of the actual impact of their behavioral decisions.
Every time you choose to consume an illegal drug, given our current policy, you are directly contributing to somebody's death.
There's no kind of indirect link there.
That's a really strong statement.
You are personally contributing.
It's I And I have no I have no reservations in making it.
People have to be aware that, when you kind of decide to consume cocaine, you are directly contributing to somebody's death in Mexico (Adam) Wow.
um, in a town somewhere, or somewhere else in Latin America.
If I were If I did cocaine, which I do not, I would think about that very hard before I did it the next time, I'll tell you that.
Well, thank you so much for coming on to talk to us about this, Rodrigo.
Really appreciate it.
No, this is my pleasure.
I really ae your interest in this, and hopefully this helps change some people's minds.