Alan Richman and Redtube
I think I’m suffering from university withdrawal. I’ve been home three days and have spent them in bed, writing, drinking beer and in a state of perpetual almost-readiness- if something terrible happened, you’d just have to give me ten minutes to sort myself out. For some reason, I’ve felt slightly hungover for the last week or so; I think your average layman would call it flu, but I refuse to admit weakness so have decided it’s all the hangovers I should have had when first started drinking come to haunt me. Overall, it’s a pain: much as I love my home, I do miss my small corner of a foreign university campus and the central heating forthwith.
I’ve spent much of my time drinking San Miguel in front of the food channel (which one, I’m not sure; the slightly less classy one with far more American programming). There are some true gems of shows to be found therein- from The Spice King, which, considering the presenter is channeling a particularly camp Kenneth Williams, should be re-dubbed The Spice Queen, to the outrageous grease-inhaling antics of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. But nothing has outdone the jaw-dropping obscenity of Man v. Food Nation.
If they made you watch sin-appropriate programming in hell, this would be the show for gluttons (incidentally, lust would be punishable by Micheal Winterbottom’s 9 Songs on eternal replay). The “food reality” show (because, as we all know, most food is only hypothetical) features hyper-gurning Adam Richman baiting an iron-stomached madman/woman (one of whom is my Nascar crush Joey Logano, inexplicably) into eating some huge plate of food: six-pound burgers made with buttered beef, five pounds of nachos smothered in melting cheese, twelve-egg omelettes….
The attitude towards the food is almost pornographic; close-ups of dripping dairy products being slathered on sandwiches and slabs of meat sizzling in grease seem more suited to a potential new Redtube category than a food show. Suspiciously, Richman is often only seen from the waist up, so perhaps his presenting role has more to it than a scholarly grasp of shite puns and describing all food as tasting like some kind of sandwich.
If food is sex, then the whole show is a bizarre exercise in populist snuff movies. It certainly does look like some of the contestants might die- they usually end the competition (I use that in it’s loosest sense considering the opponents are inanimate and edible) pouring with sweat, looking like they want to be quite sick and possibly die. It’s like watching cardiac arrest in fast-forward.