I happened to catch a tv show the other day which I had heard work colleagues talking about fondly. It was a programme that was pretty dramatic. A programme that showed the extreme limits of physical endurance. A programme that could inspire a generation even more so than the London Olympics which inspired many youngsters in the UK to see that running fast is cool, making shoplifters even harder to catch. Unfortunately I don’t think it inspires in a positive way.
I’m talking about a tv show called Man Vs Food.
The premise is that the presenter, Adam Richman, who looks like he has been ever so slightly over inflated with a foot pump, shouts at the camera and takes on various food challenges. He eats meals that would feed an entire family with the enthusiasm of a WWE wrestler but without the steroids.
This was the first time I had watched this programme which reported from Long Island where he went to a sea food restaurant to take on “Davey Jones Locker” which was a platter of sea food to include shrimps, crabs legs, oysters, salad and more. Ok so what I’ve mentioned there doesn’t sound like much. However when you consider that the amount of food he had to eat totalled 7Ib in weight and he had to eat it all within an hour, it was no easy feat. Picture below.
I have to laugh at these overly dramatic American shows that are transmitted to the UK. I don’t think we buy in to the excitement that our brothers from across the pond do. Dramatic orchestral music DA DA DADADA in the background with short edited snippets of Adam struggling to eat his challenge and overdubbed with the him shouting “I’M IN LONG ISLAND TO TAKE ON DAVEY JONES’ LOCKER!!!! A HUGE 7IB PLATTER OF SEA FOOD WHICH HAS ONLY EVER BEEN BEATEN BY ONE OTHER PERSON!!!!! WILL I BE THE SECOND PERSON EVER TO BEAT IT? THIS IS MAN VERSUS FOOOOOD!!!!!!” Would this be the time that Adam finally explodes? Unfortunately not.
So dramatic, but really, no need. It doesn’t help that in America, they have an ad break every few minutes and as in the UK we don’t (we just have the one) we are faced with the same shouty reminder every few minutes.
I can’t deny that I wouldn’t be able to do what he does. Not that I would necessarily want to. I’ve nothing personal against him and at the end of the day, it makes him happy, he’s getting paid for it, he’s got his own tv show and all the fame and glory that comes with it. But I can’t help but question why. Why eat such a large meal that is clearly unnatural and bad for you? As if obesity isn’t already a growing problem, this show will encourage some to “aim high” and eat as much as physically possible.Perhaps this isn’t really the healthiest message to be giving people. Not everyone is a complete gimp with no mind of their own but there are plenty of people who would watch this programme and see it as something to achieve.
I wonder if it was always Adam’s lifelong ambition and at school the teacher would ask the class what they wanted to do when they grew up. “I want to be an astronaut,” said Tommy. “I want to be a fireman,” said Billy. “I WANT TO EAT THE MASS EQUIVALENT OF A BABY WITHIN AN HOUR!!!!!” screamed Adam.
I know it’s all intended to be good fun. It’s entertaining to many to see this spectacle. But then I also can’t help see the other side of the coin. The people that are starving in the world. The people that would love the chance to over indulge. But as I see it, here is a programme for people’s amusement, condoning gluttony. Yes it’s just one man making a show for the entertainment of others but it’s also advertising business’ that offer these challenges. Business’ that will probably get more foot fall through their door when others have watched the show because they want to take on the same challenge. Is it not encouraging over eating?
As much as I intended for this post to be light hearted, I appear to have taken a serious turn in a direction towards what I consider to be moral integrity and ethics. I don’t want to be a kill joy and I’m not criticising anyone who enjoys watching a man stretch his stomach to the size of an Austin Metro in one sitting but I just don’t get it.
Grumpy Young Bloke has until now been about being light hearted and intended to make you smile and it will continue to do so. But as much as I wanted to do the same about this subject, as I’ve started to write and ponder the subject matter I have gained a little perspective on the subject. That’s the joy of writing. You begin to type and just see where the journey takes you.
Adam Richman said in a Guardian interview that his latest series Man Vs Food Nation is about members of the public rising to the food challenges. He called it, “A celebration of us.” Really? Gluttony, greed, over indulgence for some pathetic ego trip is a celebration? Encouraging this behaviour in others is a celebration? I think it’s pretty pathetic to be honest.
Enjoy your food, be grateful for what you have but be mindful of what others don’t have. I think if there was a way that people could come together to adjust the scales so that there is more of a balance in the world, I think that would truly be something to celebrate and be proud of.