The influences of Saturday Night Live
One of the longest running TV shows with continuous success is NBC's Saturday Night Live. A sketch comedy show centered around pop culture, history, and current news. With a specific cast of comedic actors acting out sketches, it gets very hard for the show to be boring. But, I was wondering about whether or not the sketches they perform have any lasting impression or influence on politics and the audience as a whole.
After doing some research, I found that in 1994, SNL put forth a sketch about school lunches with Adam Sandler called "Lunch Lady Land". The song started off with the line "This is a song about the high school experience, sung through the eyes of the person who -- more than anyone else -- puts young people on the right path. I'm not talking about the teachers. I'm not talking about the coaches. I'm not even talking about the guidance counselors. I'm talking about a person we call the lunch lady." This lovely ballad about everyone's favorite school time chef had a message to it, and people noticed it.
The message was: more than 30 million students eat school meals every day, and many of them rely on school foods for up to half of their daily calories. With this huge responsibility in the hands of schools, it cannot be taken with a grain of salt.
Shortly after, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health teamed up with the non-profit anti-hunger organization Project Bread to create the Modifying Eating and Lifestyles at School (MEALS) study, a randomized clinical trial in two urban, low-income school districts. The team set out to examine the short- and long-term effects of a professional chef and the effect of extended daily exposure to a choice architecture intervention on students' school food selection and consumption. "Choice architecture" is a term that is used to describe the different ways in which choices can be presented to consumers and the impact of that presentation on consumer decision-making.
All of this happened because Adam Sandler sang a tune about the Lunch Lady with Chris Farley prancing around in an apron behind him on Saturday Night Live.