Freaky Eaters: Worst Food Show on TV
We now acknowledge the primacy of reality TV -- and TV in general -- to the foodie experience. Stand around the water cooler in any office on Thursday morning, and the conversation is likely to turn to who won the Quickfire on Top Chef the night before, or to some stunt that Guy Fieri or Paula Dean pulled on their most recent shows. But the popularity of food-themed television has spawned a dark underside, and I'm not just talking about Andrew Zimmern -- witness the TLC show Freaky Eaters.
The setup is this: A friend or relative is exhibiting some sort of deviant eating behavior, real or imagined. You call a number flashed at the end of Freaky Eaters, and a team of self-important "experts" -- some of whom seem to be out-and-out quacks -- is called in to stage an intervention.
Late last night, I watched bleary-eyed as someone known only as Daniel was shown, in a series of clips flashed over and over, chowing down on raw meat. He was smirking all the while, as if his mouth had been frozen into that position by the botulinum toxin, or he knew the whole thing was a fakey setup. After all, many of us eat beef tartare and various flesh carpaccios on a regular basis, and suffer no ill effects.
But no, this guy supposedly buys raw meat at discount supermarkets and shovels it down. He loves steaks and raw hamburger, eaten at the counter directly from the Styrofoam tray, the plastic wrap barely pushed to one side. The juice dribbles down his chin and onto the floor.
Next: We meet the estimable J.J. Virgin.