Why I Hate Man Vs. Food in 2 Minutes

Bloggified by Jake on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two years ago, Travel Channel watched Guy Fieri on Food Network and said, "Oh, we gotta get one of those." Somehow, they found Adam Richman and gave him instructions to duplicate the mindnumbing boredom of watching a guy travel to different cities and eat stuff like "Diners, Drive-Thrus, and Dives," but to add an element of disgustingness to it. Thus was born "Man Vs. Food."

Now, Adam may be one of the nicest guys in the world. In fact, my friend Thomas met him a few months ago and said as much. However, on the show he's trying so hard to duplicate the low rent Guy Fieri experience--and I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that--that I long for the advent of affordable 3D televisions so I more accurately pretend to punch him in the face from the comfort of my living room.

If you haven't seen it, the concept of the show is to have Adam go to a city every week and seek out three restaurants with some kind of special signature dish. The first 18 minutes of each episode is a straight up travel show. The twist that sets it apart from "Triple D," (as all the cool kids call it) and actually makes it slightly more enjoyable--in the way that a punch in the gut is more enjoyable than a punch in the balls--is that the third restaurant always has some food challenge.

The challenges always fall into one of two categories:
1. Eat way too much food.
2. Eat food that is way too spicy.

In some cases, the challenges are fairly reasonable. These tend to be longstanding challenges that restaurants have had for years. Others are suspicious, and one wonders if they were made up just to attract attention from the "Man vs. Food" producers. When no one has ever succeeded at your challenge, maybe it's time to admit that serving nine pounds of meat between the equivalent of two loaves of bread on a bed of two pounds of French fries with a half gallon of coleslaw that must all be eaten within 30 minutes isn't a "challenge" as much as an impossible task.

Likewise, I hate watching the spicy challenges where someone takes good food and goes out of their way to make it inedible by dumping two pounds of spices into it. What's the point? "Look at how tender this pulled pork is... and now I'm going to completely fuck it up so you can't taste it." Why not just invite Adam in to drink a quart of pureed habaneros and forget the whole facade of it being a food challenge?

But the part of the show I hate most is the clips they feel compelled to include of locals watching Adam take part in the challenges. They tend to fall into one of two categories:
1. I don't really want to say anything, but since you're putting a camera in my face I will give you an opinion on whether or not I think Adam will succeed.
2. Please, please, please, Mr. Producer, put me on a basic cable television show for two seconds. I will read whatever scripted lines you have for me or act stupid and/or slutty if necessary.

Furthermore, those two categories can be broken down into smaller subcategories. Watch the below montage and follow along:
1. Adam is the man.
2. I've seen The Waterboy and deserve to be on TV because of it.
3. Adam can do it.
4. Kids who've had cameras in their faces because adults told them to be cute.
5. I can read a clock.
6. Skepticism.
7. If I interrupt Adam and speak directly to him, they'll have to put me on TV.
8. I'm a cute girl who wants to be on TV so badly I'll pretend to be attracted to Adam.
9. I'm drunk.

While the repetitive categorical style of the comments on every show is annoying, a few soundbites find a way to be even more grating than usual.

0:30 -She says she knows he can eat this entire burger, then adds "If you can do this, you can do anything." If we extrapolate that statement, she believes--nay, knows Adam Richman is omnipotent.

1:15 - That guy took a lot of time to think up what he was going to say to Adam, but didn't stop to consider how he would exit the stage.

1:18 - Why? Why the fuck are they chanting "USA! USA!"? Is that just a reflex in that part of the country? Is this what Sarah Palin meant by "Real America?"

2:00 - You know what? I think maybe Adam really is the nicest guy in the world for the fact he didn't punch his producers the minute they let this drunk idiot come anywhere near him. His ability to humor Drunky while trying to eat six-pounds of burrito meat is more impressive than if he'd finished the burrito.

2 sarcastic replies:

smacky said...

I've always assumed the challenges were already there, because America is a country where we LOVE to do things you can't do elsewhere (as long as it involves eating). Quantity over quality almost every time. Super-size, $5 foot-long, the baconator. We take comfort in the fact that no matter how much the economy tanks, we can still consume 3 days worth of calories in a single meal for under $20!

I'm trying to imagine this in France: "I'm going to eat 35 crepes and a gallon of cafe au lait!"

Jake said...

As someone who goes for all-you-can-eat sushi every Monday and considers it a loss if I don't eat at least triple the $20 price tag, I'm not questioning whether the Americans love to overeat.

My observation is that some restaurants explain the challenge and will say, "We've had 400 people try and only 17 have succeeded." Then there are restaurants where they say, "35 people have tried and no one has ever done it." That tells me they recently created the challenge and may have aimed to high.

For example, it's common knowledge that you can't drink a gallon of milk in an hour. The human body cannot process lactose that fast. You will throw up. So if a challenge involves drinking two gallons of milk shakes, everyone will fail. The example I gave of the eight pounds of meat on a two loaves of bread with fries and cole slaw was pretty close to an actual challenge that no one had won and Adam barely got 2/3 of the way through (it's the one where the guy comes up and says "You're 10 minutes in and you're halfway through"). The combination of mass and time is impossible for even the likes of Joey Chestnut to overcome.

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