Friday, November 19, 2010

Fast food as subversive social commentary

There are times when I really love America. Yesterday, when I came across the Heart Attack Grill, was one of those times.

What is the Heart Attack Grill? It's exactly what it sounds like - a fast-food restaurant in Chandler, Arizona that specializes in horribly, horribly unhealthy food. Its menu consists of seven items: the Single, Double, Triple and Quadruple Bypass burger (add a patty for each), Flatliner Fries, no-filter Lucky Strike cigarettes and Jolt Cola. The Quadruple Bypass burger weighs in at an awesome 8,000 calories!

The restaurant, which uses a medical motif - its chefs are "doctors" and customers are "patients" - has rolled out a new promotion where people over 350 pounds eat free. Here's the promo video, which you just have to watch. Apparently, a Heart Attack Grill can lead to a variety of health problems, including "mild death:"

What I love about this is that it's so over the top and in your face - just like America. While the bleeding hearts there and in Canada how unhealthy KFC's Double Down is, the Heart Attack Grill is basically spitting in their faces. The whole tongue-in-cheek motif is almost subversive - who knew that a fast-food joint could provide subtle social commentary?

Of course, there are some tree-hugging, fish-kissing sticks-in-the-mud that just don't get any of it. The folks at have started a petition protesting the restaurant and its gimmicky marketing campaign. It's another typically American thing to do, although one that I don't love nearly quite as much.


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