Is anyone else getting kind of bored of the programming on the Food Network? Whenever I turn it on, I am sure to see some incarnation of a programme like this: A man, usually a very annoying uncharismatic man, travelling the US to show us the most grotesque, calorific, deep fried American ‘specialities’ he can find. He interviews the chef on how its made then shoves it into his mouth, moaning and groaning at the camera. A hot dog stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, deep fried and put in a bun with French fries? You got it. I have a number of problems with this type of programming one of which is why they are all men? Can a women not front a show like this or is she too delicate and frail to take on the monstrosities that these men eat? A second problem is all the programs are so similar; Man v Food, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, Meat and Potatoes, Heat Seekers, Extreme Eats, United Tastes of America and Eat Street all follow a related concept. Not only are these shows all so similar, they seem to be ALWAYS repeated on the channel, every time I turn it on I see Guy Fieri's overtly tanned bleached head!
But my main issue is Man V Food, Oh how I loathe this show from the bottom of my heart and I can’t for the life of me understand why it’s so popular? Surely watching obese Americans gorging mountains of fried food as a competition cannot be classed as entertainment? And if it is, maybe that goes someway to explain what is wrong with this world. If we first look at it on a simplistic level, this man (Adam Richman) is encouraging obesity, challenging these competitors to eat, eat and eat some more untill they spontaneously combust. He also gives them helpful tips, like for instance if the challenge is to eat 5 pounds of ice cream in one sitting, you should eat it with a side of bacon as the salty bacon will counteract the sweetness of the ice cream and help get it down your neck. At the end of each programme we see Richman in the centre of a restaurant being cheered to gorge himself on anything from spicy chicken wings, a 30 inch pizza to a burger that would feed a family of 5 for a week, its obnoxious. In a recent documentary I watched ‘The Men Who Made Us Fat’ on the BBC; in the second programme we were shown how the concept of ‘supersizing’ food contributed to our detriment. If we see a larger portion on our plate, we are compelled to finish it thus gaining weight. If we now know this why do these ‘challenges’ still exist? Surely we should be superslimming our portions rather than continuing to eat to excess? Adam Richman is no slim guy but still he seems to have no fears about heart disease and type 2 diabetes that is currently nearly at epidemic status. Man V Food should come with a health warning; Do not attempt any of these challenges for the sake of your own health.
|One of the Challenges|
The show is wrong on so many levels, especially at a moral and sociological level; it promotes gluttony and eating to excess. As we as a populace are getting fatter by the year, surely it is not right to be advertising obesity and how to fastrack to it? And now Man V Food has evolved into Man V Food Nation, how apt: Richman has realised that maybe his extreme overeating was damaging his health so now he coaches the unsuspecting public on the many ways of gorging. The vulgarity is palpable, with over a billion people in this world still hungry, the first world need to take a long hard look at themselves. Not only do these beasts rarely complete the challenge, panting and sweating on the screen, turning green in front of our eyes as they try to resist the urge to vomit, the sheer amount of food waste is sickening. How can a TV company justify showing this blatant surplus of food when it is aware of poverty and hunger worldwide?
|Richman and a fellow challenger|
Suffice to say that I rarely turn on the Food Network these days for the reasons outlined above. I cannot bear to look at these people mindlessly stuffing their faces with greasy and downright grotesque food. Food should be a pleasure, it should be enjoyed with friends and family, it should promote health and taste, it should not be stuffed into ones mouth surrounded by a crowd of people wolf whistling and shouting you on until you are ready to vomit. Food Network, employ more girls, diversify your programmes don’t opt for lazy broadcasting for the sheer sake of ratings; it’s your moral obligation.