July 27 2006

30 Days, Season 2, Episode 1:Immigration

YAY! 30 Days is back!

Frank George is a 55 year old from Mojave,CA. He was born in Cuba and immigrated to the USA when he was 7. Now Frank is a US citizen and he believes, strongly, that illegal immigration is wrong. He has gone so far as to join the Minutemen Project, patrolling the borders for illegal crossings. He heads off to East L.A. to live for 30 Days with the Gonzalez family (not their real names). He will A)give up all ID B)work as a day laborer C)he will live in their 500 square foot home for 30 Days with the 2 parents and 5 children. Fun!

Honestly, 90% of the enjoyment of this episode came from the discussions between Frank and 17-year-old daughter Armida. I would imagine most of this came from her ability to speak English (Frank does speak fluent Spanish), but their debates over immigration were fascinating to watch. Armida seems very intelligent and very passionate about the immigration, but so did Frank. The vast majority of their episode was their back-and-forth, with neither really giving an inch….until Frank headed to Mexico.

Rigorberto, the father, suggested Frank go see his brother in Mexico and see what was they had left behind. As he didn’t feel he would ever get such a chance again, he did so and found living conditions he didn’t feel were “fit for any human being”. (his words, not mine) As the episode drew to a close, he seemed to soften a bit, but kept his view that illegal immigration was wrong, but he did tell Armida that if she left and came back legally, he would have no problem in sponsering them. As he drove away from the Gonzalez family, he shared this in the van:

“It’s surprising to meet people, that you don’t want to be in this country because of the way they came in, and liking them so much. What a shock. Never forget that…never forget that.”

Now…he’s where the fun is. Every summer there is a gathering of critics called the TCA events where producers talk about their upcoming seasons. At the 30 Days event, producers Morgan Spurlock, R.J. Cutler and Ben Silverman were treated to a verbal attack by Frank Geroge over how they manipuleted what he said. Stealing from the TVWeek Blog entry about the event:

“You guys screwed me,” George said. “It was out of context. They were able to shape the story in the manner they wanted to. I thought [the portrayal] was grossly unfair to the American people.”

George admitted that the vast majority of the hour-long episode was accurate, but took issue with the last five minutes, when he seemed to shift from his hardliner views. Producers calmly defended the episode.

“Things are not out of context,” Cutler said.

“Yes they are out of context!” shouted George.

“There’s a [title card inserted] at the end about his continued involvement in …” Cutler said.

“Because I made them do it!”

Raise your hand if you think Frank got back to his everyday life and caught flack for turning in to a softy. *raises his hand* Yes, I am sure things were taken out of order, as happens on every reality show. But you (meaning Frank) said the words, so, guess what Frank…you said them, deal with it. I am not taking a side on either side of the debate, but I think his attacking of the producers as the show is about to air was cowardly. Live with what you said.

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