Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (2003) s08e02 Episode Script

Fast Food

When you do a show like this, sometimes people get mad.
And rather than arguing rationally, They sometimes make ridiculous, impossible, accusations.
We were debunking conspiracy theory.
We get accused of being CIA agents On the payroll of the zionists.
They had proof.
It's on the Internet.
We say vaccinating children is important, And before the show even airs, we get accused of being paid off By the pharmaceutical industry.
Fuck! We want to tell u right now, our integrity cannot be bought.
Anyway, today's show is about fast food, and well-- Bashing fast food is bullshit! Is that my uh, shake machine? Oh, thank you.
Penn: Fast food.
What's the big deal? We sent our crew out to interview people on the street, and They went to the beach.
But at least they asked people the right question-- Is fast food good for you? It's not healthy for you at all.
There's nothing healthy about fast food.
I really don't think any fast food places are good for you.
Definitely very fattening.
Fast food is in no way healthy.
Penn: Yep, hold on to your hot wings.
Fast food is the new public enemy number one, And it's being blamed for an obesity epidemic.
Health agencies, food activists, and special interests groups Are hungry for war.
And if they have it their way, There'll be more government regulations and higher taxes on fast food.
Fuck! Even Obama's 2010 health care bill forces fast food restaurants To put calorie counts on menus.
But is that fair? Is fast food really to blame? Tonight, we'll meet a woman who's declared an all out war on fast food If you're in America, you don't think of reason, you just eat.
Penn: A man who wants to regulate fast food We the American people want the government to do something.
Penn: And a woman who's exercising her right To choose what sheChews.
Nobody's cramming the big Mac down my throat.
I want to eat that big Mac.
We'll conduct a hidden camera fast food taste test [slurps] And we'll meet a man who, well, All he is saying is "give grease a chance.
" You can have a burger.
It's ok.
Yep, this show is bound to be a whopper With cheese.
For 2.
2 billion years, Living things have evolved with 2 things in mind-- Food and fucking.
The animal that scarfs down the most calories Lives the longest and reproduces the most.
But in the last 50 years, Food has gotten so cheap and plentiful For a small number of humans That we now have more than enough.
But our monkey brains, our lizard brains, Our amoeba brains, whatever, Are still telling us to eat everything in sight.
Nowadays those of us who would have been most successful At surviving 5,000 years ago get fat.
And those skinny, fussy, picky eaters? They would have died in the fucking wild, and they know it! Now they're gonna screw us over By getting the government to take away our cheeseburgers.
Can I just have a little taste of that? [growls] Aah! Fast food makers count on the American public to be stupid.
And we don't disappoint.
I'm Meme roth, President and founder of national action against obesity.
Penn: Meme knows knows what what is is good good for for you you.
[chuckles] and she's one skinny fucking anti-fat crusader And president of national action against obesity.
Today's average American woman, 5'4", 163 pounds, And here's her ass.
Penn: Fuck! Somebody call that woman.
Meme's got her pants.
The average American is eating 3 cheeseburgers a week And, on average, an order of fries every day.
Penn: Meme says fast food is the biggest contributor to obesity.
Obesity is associated with type ii diabetes, And 30% of the most common cancers, and heart disease, And dementia, and incontinence, And erectile dysfunction, and-- Penn: Whoa, whoa! We get it.
We get it.
Fat people bug the shit out of you.
But come on! We love big macs.
Does fast food really represent a public health problem? Yeah, I'm quite sure it represents a public health problem.
Penn: Another skinny bastard telling us we're too fat.
No hypocrisy here.
Rogan Kersh, associate dean And Professor of public policy, n.
Wagner school.
It is the case now that the current generation of children, Born now to age 14 or so, Are likely to be the first in American history, Going all the way back to the founding To live shorter life spans than their parents did.
They're gonna die sooner than their parents, And a big part of that is the American diet-- Based, organized significantly around fast food.
Penn: Wow.
That's a really scary sound bite.
Thanks a lot.
And meme believes fast food companies Know exactly how to rope us in.
They put together a beautiful combination of fat, sugar, and salt.
When you put together fat, sugar, and saltWow.
Penn: So they're tricking us by making things that taste good.
Those monsters! Watch a husband and wife eat.
Their faces are all stuffed.
They have grease all over themselves.
They're bloated.
They're like making out with their hamburger.
What are we doing? Penn: I'd rather make out with a hamburger than you, Ms.
Let's find one of those slovenly, bloated husband and wife pig teams And see if meme's revulsion is deserved deserved.
Hi, I'm Becca Badillo.
And I'm Steve Badillo.
And we love fast food.
Penn: Aw, hell.
They don't seem gross at all.
Now what are we gonna do? We're a really busy family.
We're really active and always on the go.
Uh, the boy is in high school.
He's got to be there every single morning at 7:30.
Then I usually will come home, pick up the baby, take her to pre-school.
Then I go to school.
Penn: How does Becca find time for cooking and feeding her children? [gulps] I don't know where this family would be without drive-throughs.
Can I please get a kid's meal with chicken And orange juice? I think fast food gets a bad rap.
I think it's one of the necessities of life today.
You've gotta just be moving and be on the go all the time.
Penn: But Becca's well aware of the message Our government and the media are relentlessly putting out: Anyone eating fast food should be ashamed of themselves.
You know, it's not the kind of thing You want to be proud of or happy about Or, you know, can't wait to tell everyone About the great burger you had at the drive-through today.
But, you know, it is what it is.
Penn: Meme lives on the upper West Side of Manhattan And enjoys a lifestyle that's much different than Becca's.
So is she trying to stigmatize people like Becca? Everyone gets all teary eyed when you use the word stigmatization.
Well, stigmatization works.
To get the needle moved in a country that's very slow to make changes, Sometimes it takes demonizing of industries To get some kind of movement In the direction of positive public health.
Yes, we should be stigmatizing eating around the clock.
Yes, we should be stigmatizing the 100-ounce soft drink.
Yes, yes, yes.
Penn: I hear meme talk, And I want to eat the biggest fucking burger I can find! Yeah! Like that one! Fast food has a bunch of things going for it That really make it attractive to people.
Hi, I'm Dr.
Brian Wansink, Professor and director of the Cornell university food and brand lab.
Penn: And guinness world record holder For longest continuous conference table.
Not only is it tremendously convenient for those of us Who don't really know how to cook.
Not only is it pretty darn tasty compared to a lot of things We would cook for ourselves.
But it's also really fun.
Penn: Now you're talking.
We like fun.
Wansink is the author Of "mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think.
" He's made a career out of studying our eating habits From his most excellent lab on the Cornell university campus.
It's like a Hollywood hidden camera studio Except it's in ithaca.
Within 3 hours, we can transform it to look like a bedroom, A dining room, a kitchen, a den-- Penn: Or a snazzy little restaurant.
Make that a bistro.
With 2-way mirrors.
You get the idea.
Here's the good doctor doing what he does best.
Ok, bring in the soup.
Penn: Serving delicious culinary delights, And fucking with people for usAnd for science.
We wish it were just us.
And here we have the Southern chicken corn bisque for you.
Penn: Southern chicken corn bisque.
High falutin' food for sure.
But here's the catch-- all of the ingredients of that exquisite dish Are actually courtesy of the colonel.
Yeah, that colonel.
It was either Sanders or klink, right? This is all from KFC.
Not just the chicken, but the coleslaw, biscuits, And even the corn on the cob.
The soup they're eating is made from those ingredients and nothing more.
And what do they think of it? Food is the biggest mystery in most of our lives.
Most of what influences what we eat or how much we eat Doesn't have to do with reason or logic Or what we know about nutrition.
It has to do with the subtle things that are around us.
It has to do with the name of a food.
Penn: In other words, if these people knew they were eating fast food, They wouldn't be responding to Dr.
Wansink's test like this.
So on a scale of 1 to 10, With like 1 being fast food And 10 being really, really gourmet food, Where would you put that bisque? How do you think tonight's meal compares to fast food? Penn: Fuck yeah, this is fun! Er, I mean, enlightening demonstration, doctor.
We'll rejoin these proceedings later.
Since we're calling this the fast food episode, We should really go to a real fast food place-- Yeah, like this one-- And try to get some answers.
Maybe lunch, too.
Is it time for lunch yet? Uh, I'm gonna get a $6.
00 cheeseburger combo.
I like the burger simple-- just cheese, dill pickles, Mustard, ketchup, and that black Angus beef.
That works great or me.
Penn: Well, thanks for volunteering, pal, But we were hoping we could speak to someone in charge.
My name is Andy Puzder, and I am the ceo of CKE restaurants.
Penn: You're the ceo of Carl's Jr.
? What the hell are you doing on our show? Didn't they tell you the title? Penn: We really try and sell the best quality fast food.
We use black Angus beef, whole leaf lettuce, You know, thick tomato slices-- Penn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Only the best stuff.
We get it.
Attention, citizens! Attention, citizens! Who among us has not puzzled Over the curiously placed apostrophe in Carl's Jr.
? Is it a mistake? Is it some obsolete artifact of latin usage? No! It is absolutely logical.
Carl Karcher built a restaurant.
It was called Carl's drive-in barbecue.
Then he built a smaller restaurant.
It was called Carl's Jr.
The junior refers to the restaurant, not Carl.
Carl was not a junior.
Carl was Leo's son.
Now, Carl had 12 children, and he did eventually run out of names And called one of his sons Carl.
But this son had a different middle name, So he was not a junior.
If he had been, He could of had a restaurant called "carl junior's.
" And if he had restaurants of different sizes, The smaller ones could have been called Carl junior's juniors.
We hope we've cleared this up for you.
Carry on, citizens.
Carry on.
So, ceo of Carl apostrophe "s" junior, sir, Put down than Angus beef and confess the truth about your evil food.
We're proud to do what we do.
We're not at all ashamed of what we're doing.
There are a lot of things you can eat That contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
You don't have to eat bark and nuts.
You want to go some place where you can get everybody happy, Get everybody filled up, and not have to break the bank.
Penn: What? You believe in your product? That's disappointingly heartfelt, Rational, and Frank.
You can have dessert now.
Let's be honest, people love this stuff because it's good.
And sometimes we just crave it.
No one really knows why.
Oh, oh, oh, wait.
Meme does.
Well, it's called the bliss point.
What the fast food joints do is they put fat, sugar and salt together.
And it makes you eat it, and it makes you crave it, So it sets you up for the dopamine craving.
So every time you drive by, you're gonna want more of it.
And that's what the fast food makers know.
There's--there's no way that we put Anything in our food to make it addictive to people.
We use Angus beef 'cause it tastes better.
Salt--we put salt in 'cause people like salt.
It tastes good.
And in that sense, if what you're talking about is trying to get the food To taste good so people want to eat it, Well, we absolutely do that.
Penn: Of course you do! And so what? Meme? The fast food makers just take advantage of the fact That we are willing victims, And we keep eating non-stop.
And that is why fast food is making us fat-- Because we're letting it make us fat.
You really can't blame an industry for people being overweight.
Fast food isn't-- we're not here To try and sell people high fat products.
We have low fat products.
People just don't buy 'em.
Penn: It's true! Ask Becca.
If I'm going through a drive-through, Do I really want to get the salad on the menu? Penn: But Becca, what about your health? Nobody has diabetes or has obesity, At least not in our household.
We all seem to be really physically fit, And we feel well.
And the reason for that is we make good choices.
And when we're full, we stop eating.
Penn: But can't your choices include eating at home more often? I would love it if I could hang out all day long Making beautiful food for my family And laying it out on a wonderful table, And we could sit around eating it at our leisure And discussing, you know, the ideas of the world.
Wouldn't that be fantastic? It would be great.
Not gonna happen.
Penn: Meanwhile, back in ithaca, They're getting ready for another hidden camera experiment.
So if you can just please have a seat.
Penn: This next test revealed the bias against fast food.
Wansink gave these Guinea pigs A Western chicken salad from taco bell.
Let's hear how they liked it, knowing it was fast food.
Welcome to our food study.
Penn: But then Go ahead and bring down the salads now.
Wansink gave the exact same salad to these folks But told them it was from a healthy-sounding restaurant, "the California garden cafe.
" He was bullshitting.
It's the exact same taco bell salad.
Let's hear what they thought.
What the hell is going on? Exact same dish, 2 diametrically different reactions.
That's the fast food stigma at work.
So what have we learned, besides never to use the word "diametrically" again? Our expectations have this tremendous influence On how we interpret the taste of a food.
Penn: But meme doesn't care about taste.
She's all about that literal pantload of calories we're consuming.
You know, the biggest thing is in the past few decades Our average calorie intake per day Has increased more than 500 calories.
Penn: Ok.
The food makers produce 3,900 calories a day per person.
That's more than double what any of us needs to be eating.
And we're just stupid enough in our country to fall for it.
Penn: She says "we," but clearly she isn't included in this.
She thinks we tubby fucks are stupid and without a clue.
But are we? Let's see how our fast food eating tubby brethren Who knew they were eating fast food Estimated the calories of their meal.
[whispering] hint--the answer is 970.
You know how many calories were actually in that? Woman: Un-uh.
Penn: Wow, that's pretty good.
But how accurate were the people who ate the same exact fast food salad But thought it was from a healthy restaurant? [whispering] remember, the answer is still 970.
How many calories do you think were in the salad? 400, ok.
What about If I told you it had closer to 1,000 calories? Penn: Sucker punch! These folks had no fucking clue.
It's a phenomenon Dr.
Wansink calls the "health halo.
" The basic idea behind the health halo is that we evaluate a food In the context of where it's served.
Penn: Hold on.
Hold on.
It's um, getting kind of dark in here.
Can we do something about that? Ah, that's better.
People who thought they were eating at a healthy restaurant Would've been a lot better taking their best guess Of how many the calories they've eaten And doubling it.
When people eat at a fast food restaurant, They end up being a lot more accurate in estimating The number of calories at those restaurants.
They know they're being indulgent.
People who want to outlaw fast food are just fucking snobs.
The proof is simple.
They aren't coming down on expensive gourmet restaurants.
[french accent] are you enjoying your appetizer? Penn: Oui.
[chuckles] [speaking french] And a spinach souffle.
Oh, spinach souffle.
Spinach is good for you, teller.
[speaking french] I love this place, teller.
It's so, uh, authentic.
Meanwhile, in their upper westside apartment, Meme and her children are cooking up a hearty breakfast Of spinach and egg whites.
I take care to make sure my kids are healthy, But the rest of America is blowing it And making it so government's getting involved.
Penn: That's right.
Meme isn't content with running her own family.
She wants to manage all of our lives.
I want to see the soda tax.
I would like to see junk food away from school zones.
I would like to see fast food marketing against the law When it's directed at children.
Penn: I figured it out.
You're a skinny asshole Because you can't stop yapping long enough to eat.
You're too busy bossing people around.
You and that fucking weasel Kersh.
There's lots of ways in which government Can try to encourage healthy behavior.
Penn: Encourage? Don't you mean regulate? Regulating it has-- sounds bad.
It's much more nudgy, encouraging kinds of sets of policies That will change eating behavior In ways that make people live healthier lives.
Penn: "nudgy"? That's the code for social engineering laws Forcing us to live the way someone else chooses, Including laws restricting our choices of where we can eat.
Meme: So you're seeing zoning laws out in California.
You're seeing, you know, look we, we don't want-- We don't want it to be nothing but junk food establishments.
So we're looking at things like that.
We're also looking at taxes on sweetened drinks.
Penn: We?! Sounds like you and the fucking skinny squad.
You food fascists will be picking and choosing The acceptable businesses for a neighborhood Instead of letting the free market decide.
And on top of that, of course, new taxes.
But the calorie cops don't even want small taxes.
They want big taxes.
Why? You'd have to have a tax that's high enough To actually make a difference in what people consume, Or at least make them stop and think, "do I really want to pay this much for essentially "a big shot of sugar?" I think the tax on soda is probably one of the worst ideas That anybody's ever come up with.
It's just gonna make people pay more for soda.
You can't legislate people Into wanting or not wanting something.
Know one of my concerns when it comes To taxing fast food items, for instance, Ends up being who exactly is it taxing? It's probably taxing the people who need the money the most.
Hey, guys.
Penn: Including hard-working families like the badillos.
In this day and age where everybody is struggling To pay their bill, and their mortgage, And put food on their table Into the hanger! It really has helped take off some of the pressure, I'm sure, For a lot of families, my own included.
[imitating chicken] I can feed a family of 4 For under 20 bucks, and we're full.
Soft drinks are not healthy.
Most are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, Which, like sugar, has been linked to obesity and diabetes.
In fact, hfcs is an ingredient in a lot of the stuff You get at a fast food restaurant.
Why? Because it's a dirt cheap way To add sweetener and extend shelf life.
And why is it so cheap? Because we fucking subsidize fucking corn farmers.
Our government gives about 10 billion of our tax dollars To corn farmers every year So they can produce more corn than we need.
They then sell the corn at artificially low prices.
They spend our money to make corn syrup cheap.
And now the same government That uses our tax money to keep soft drinks cheap Wants more of our tax money to make soft drinks more expensive! Does anyone else think this is incredibly fucked up? I mean, fuck you people who think the government should intervene more! Really, really.
No kidding.
Fuck you! Fuck you! Teller's been trying to think of a magic trick That would illustrate how illogical this is, But so far he can't find anything in magic Quite that stupid.
Steve and Becca Badillo are adults Who love their children And are making their own choices in how to care for them.
What kind of an asshole could possibly say the government Would be helping them by adding to their tax burden? This kind.
Government stepping in to try to encourage, nudge, Help these kids and their parents and the rest of us eat more healthfully Doesn't seem to me like some kind of misplaced reformer's Wild-eyed crusade.
Penn: Of course you don't think it's wild and stupid! That's exactly what every fucking wild-eyed crusader says! It's your fucking crusade, you nudgeweed! And nudge you for not having the nudges to say "regulate.
" And stop fucking saying "nudge!" So you look for the next level of intervention Where you're actually trying to nudge people in a reasonable way-- Penn: Wait a second.
Isn't he the same jerk Who said something about today's children dying young? [harp music playing] They're gonna die sooner than their parents, And a big part of that is the American diet Based, organized, significantly around fast food.
[harp music playing] Penn: Huh.
Well, Professor of public policy, It turns out the center for disease control-- You know, those medical doctors? Their latest study says So go drum up some public policy somewhere else.
What kind of presumptuous meddler asshole Thinks he has the right to tell parents How to raise their own children? If parents are making their kids fat, And all evidence says parents who love their kids Are making their kids fat, Then shit! You're making it so the government has to get involved.
Penn: Oh, that kind.
A lot of this opposition to fast food Does arise out of sort of an elitism or a snobbery.
There seems to be this group of people Who think that they know what people need And what's best for people More than those people themselves know, And that they should be able to tell us what to do Really in almost every aspect of our lives.
That snobbery ignores the people to who we provide benefits.
You know, the people that we feed.
I absolutely think that's just wrong.
Penn: Hear, hear, Mr.
CEO! And look, he even throws away his own trash.
You know, at least when the cameras are running.
Let's let mom Becca Badillo sum it up.
I think it's up to everybody to choose what they want to eat.
That's like one of life's most basic choices-- To choose what you want to eat.
Obesity is a hard problem, But solve it with zoning and taxes? We eat too much.
Doesn't matter whether it's home, fancy restaurant, or fast food, We eat too much, and we eat too often.
We just need to eat less.
It can't be that hard, right? Teller doesn't have to eat that whole steak.
He can eat a quarter of it and be perfectly satisfied.
And this burger is delicious, But now I have had enough.
See? It just takes a little knowledge and a little will power.
What it doesn't take is a village.
Star: Cut! Perfect.
I think-- I think I baubled one of the words There during the home, the fast food, that section.
Let's do another one, ok? Star: We'll run it back and check.
No, no, don't bother.
We'll just-- We'll just do another one right here.
Yeah, we're all set here.
I'm gonna start with eating for a little while, and then we'll go into it.
So before you give an "action," let me get a few bites Out of this.
Then bring the camera up, And then give me a countdown and "action," and I'll already be eating.