One of the goals of the Fulbright exchange programs is to promote empathy and mutual understanding by sending students, teachers and scholars abroad to see the world as others see it. Academy Award Nominee Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") applies a more extreme concept to America's social environments in his new FX Networks documentary series "30 Days", writes Neille Ilel in the The Queens Chronicle:
Spurlock follows a volunteer fish-out-of-water while he or she spends 30 days in a world completely different from their own. In the first episode Spurlock and his fiance, New York City intellectuals, spend a month living on minimum wage in Columbus, Ohio. In another, a 43-year-old mom binge-drinks like her college-freshman daughter, both to try and stop it and to understand it. In other episodes, a consumerist couple from the Big Apple goes "off the grid" and a straight ex-military man lives with a gay marketing executive in San Francisco's notorious Castro district.
In another episode a devout Christian from red-state West Virginia lives with a Muslim family in Dearborn, Michigan, reads the Koran daily, grows a beard, bonds with his guest family and gets stopped at the airport. Seattle Times' TV critic Kay McFadden concludes:
Like most documentary efforts, "30 Days" is an advocacy piece rather than an effort to be impartial. But the unmistakably liberal tilt is far outweighed by a greater goal: To open our minds just a bit to the world beyond our living room walls.