Meat and You: Partners in Freedom
| Meat and You: Partners in Freedom
| Troy McClure film
Meat and You: Partners in Freedom is an educational film which stars Troy McClure and was shown to Lisa's class at Springfield Elementary School. The film is presented by the Meat Council and is subtitled "Number 3F03 in the 'Resistance is Useless' Series"; as such, the film has a decidedly propagandistic feel about it.
The film begins with Troy McClure walking on the backs of a large group of cows in a feedlot and saying, "Nothing beats a stroll in cattle country." When he reaches the fence, he jumps off of the cows and into the open field, where he introduces himself and meets his co-star, Jimmy, whom he at first mistakenly calls "Bobby". Jimmy is sitting at a desk set for a meal with a steak on his plate. He says, "I'm curious as to how meat gets from the ranch to my stomach." McClure briefly chides Jimmy, saying, "Slow down, Jimmy. You just asked a mouthful." However, McClure immediately begins answering Jimmy's question: "It all starts here, in the high-density feedlot. Then, when the cattle are just right, it's time for them to 'graduate' from Bovine University." A loud klaxon sounds and the cattle begin moving up a conveyor belt into the nearby meat packing plant. McClure says, "Come on, Jimmy, let's take a peek at the killing floor." At this, Jimmy gasps and McClure says, "Don't let the name throw you, Jimmy. It's not really a floor. It's more of a steel grating that allows material to sluice through so it can be collected and exported."
The two of them then go into the plant. The activity inside isn't seen on-screen, but frequent and loud sounds of electrical discharges and bellowing cattle are heard. A conveyor belt on the other side of the building carries chunks of raw meat out of the plant and drops them into a truck marked "MEAT FOR YOU". When the truck is full, it drives away, just as McClure and Jimmy, who is pale and queasy, emerge from the plant. McClure asks Jimmy if he's getting hungry.
Even though he still appears shaken up, Jimmy stays on script and asks, "I have a crazy friend who says it's wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?" McClure replies, "No, just ignorant. You see, your crazy friend never heard of the food chain." McClure then briefly shows a chart depicting all kinds of animals going to an open-mouthed human silhouette, and then—even more briefly—a "scientician", who, says McClure, "[will] tell you that, in nature, one creature invariably eats another creature to survive." McClure illustrates the point with a series of video clips showing various wild animals attacking and eating other animals, and says, "Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!" The film then zooms in on a cow's face as ominous-sounding music plays in the background, but the cow only placidly chews her cud.
Jimmy says, "Wow, Mr. McClure. I was a grade A moron to ever question eating meat!" McClure laughs and replies, "Yes, you were, Jimmy. Yes, you were." McClure then tousles Jimmy's hair, but apparently a bit too hard as Jimmy complains that McClure is hurting him. The film concludes with a shot of two hot branding irons putting the words "THE END" on a cow's posterior, which elicits a loud moo from the cow.
No copyright date is shown for Meat and You: Partners in Freedom, but its mixed use of color and black-and-white footage, color tone in the color segments, clothing styles, general demeanor, and motif of having the narrator interact with a child point to its having been made in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The copy of the film owned by Springfield Elementary School is in marginal condition. It occasionally jerks up and down in the frame and also occasionally has lines on the film (such as on the title card). In addition, the sound sometimes goes off track, most noticeably in the places where the film has music. In those spots, the film sounds like a warped LP record being played on a phonograph.
Lisa Simpson, who had recently become a vegetarian, immediately saw through the film's propaganda slant and said, "They can't seriously expect us to swallow that tripe!" Principal Skinner, however, in an attempt to both mollify the other students and distract them from what Lisa was saying, said, "Now, as a special treat courtesy of our friends at the Meat Council, please help yourselves to this tripe." He then gestured at a table loaded with tripe. The other students cheered, rushed the table, and eagerly began devouring the tripe.
As the other students gorged themselves, Lisa spoke even more bluntly: "Don't you realize you've just been brainwashed by corporate propaganda?" The other students responded sarcastically, however, as they parroted quotes from the film at her:
- Janey Powell said, "Apparently my crazy friend here hasn't heard of the food chain."
- Ham added, "Yeah, Lisa's a grade A moron."
- Ralph Wiggum chimed in, "When I grow up, I'm going to go to Bovine University!"
Behind the Laughter
- The film is subtitled "Number 3F03 in the 'Resistance is Useless' Series"; 3F03 is the production code for "Lisa the Vegetarian".
- As is typical for educational films shown at Springfield Elementary, Meat and You: Partners in Freedom is a parody of educational films in general that are shown at schools.