Last night's premiere of Showtime's Morgan Spurlock-created and -presented documentary series 7 Deadly Sins focused on gluttony. The first of the show's three short profiles featured Heart Attack Grill owner "Doctor Jon" Basso twirling his proverbial mustache at the camera and positioning himself as the bad guy the world needs.
"It's a sacrifice that has to be made," he said. "Somebody has gotta stand here and say, 'Screw it. Wake up, world. You're fat.' No, I'm not going to call you plus-size. I'm not gonna say you're portly. No, you're fat. Lose some weight, or just hurry up and die and be done with it."
To that end, Basso's deliberately "offensive" menu offers fries cooked in lard, a "Butter Fat Shake," and a variety of "Bypass Burgers" including the 9,983-calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger. One man interviewed for the segment ate a Triple Bypass Burger, had an actual triple bypass, and then settled on a single bypass this time around. He laughed jovially as he revealed that.
Two actual heart attacks occurred in Heart Attack Grill, says Basso. He describes these as a "way to get the message out," and says his establishment received "quite a bit of publicity" as a result. "One of the 'nurses' ran back to the kitchen and she says, 'Doctor Jon, someone is having a heart attack.' And I said, 'Business is good!'" he recalls. He refers to Blair River, the one-time Heart Attack Girl spokesman who died in 2011, as a "sacrifice." The episode included no words on John Alleman, the Heart Attack Grill's second spokesman to die.
The method to Basso's madness, or at least the one he wants you to glean when you aren't puzzling over his make-me-rich-by-eating-here-you-disgusting-fat-pigs messaging, can be summed up in his explanation of Heart Attack's policy of letting people who weigh over 350 lbs., eat there for free:
We have a huge electronic cattle scale in the middle of the restaurant. And if you weigh over 350 lbs., you eat absolutely free. They get on that scale, they give a big muscle shot, but then they go home and they go, "Wow, I'm gonna die. I'm a fat freak, and that's why everyone was applauding for me."
So by getting people to eat his food that makes them fat, he's showing that people like food that makes them fat, and also that people are fat.
For all of the self-conscious provocation ("Will the evil Doctor Jon finally make everyone on earth so fat that they can't walk anymore? Maybe. He's trying."), this was the the darkest part of the whole segment:
My daughter's 10 and in four or five years, she's gonna be at the door as a receptionist wearing this slinky little nurse outfit. My greatest hope is that she does run this company and continues with the same message in multiple locations, in different languages.