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Case Number 17979: Small Claims Court

Buy Man v. Food: Season 1 at Amazon

Man v. Food: Season 1

Travel Channel // 2008 // 388 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // December 24th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Roy Hrab has challenged many foods to fights, especially green leafy vegetables. Ugh!

The Charge

Get ready for the ultimate American Food Challenge road trip.

The Case

Men will take on almost any challenge. Feats of physical strength, ridiculous dares, food eating contests, you name it. I was involved in a lettuce eating contest with some friends once. How did it get started? I'm not sure. We also took on, and bested, the Quadruple C (Colossal Colon Clogger Combo) at Dangerous Dan's Diner in Toronto. It's a 24-oz. burger served with a quarter pound of cheese, a quarter pound of bacon, and 2 fried eggs. Add to that a large shake and a small poutine. Nobody felt great afterwards, but no pain, no bragging rights. Ah yes, the glory of bragging rights from consuming an insane amount of food.

Thus, it is the gratification of the male ego that has spawned the Travel Channel's Man v. Food: Season 1. The show features host Adam Richman travelling across the United States taking on various grossly unhealthy food challenges.

The first season saw Adam visit 18-cities and take on the following challenges:

Disc 1
• "Memphis, TN"—The Kookamonga Challenge, a 7.5-lb. burger.
• "Columbus, OH"—The Dagwood Challenge, a deli sandwich with 21-oz. of meat.
• "Austin, TX"—The Don Juan Taco Eating Challenge.
• "Amarillo, TX"—A 72-oz. steak dinner.
• "Chicago, IL"—Lucky's Challenge, three stuffed deli sandwiches.
• "Pittsburgh, PA"—Atomic Hot Wings.
• "Atlanta, GA"—The Carnivore, an 11-lb., 30-inch pizza.
• "New Orleans, LA"—The Oyster House Challenge, 15-dozen oysters.
• "Boston, MA"—The Eagles Deli challenge, a 10-patty burger, with 20 slices of cheese, 20 pieces of bacon, 5-lbs. of fries, and a giant pickle.
• "New York, NY"—The Phaal Curry Challenge, a curry so hot that the chef wears a gas mask when preparing it.
• "Portland, OR"—The Great Balls of Fire Challenge, five habanero chili cheese fritters, covered in chili sauce.

Disc 2
• "Seattle, WA"—A 12-egg omelette with hash browns and toast.
• "St. Louis, MO"—Crown Candy's Milkshake Challenge, five 24-oz. malt milkshakes.
• "Los Angeles, CA"—The hot ramen challenge, a soup with 10 different types of chilies.
• "San Jose, CA"—The Hellfire Hot Wing Challenge.
• "Denver, CO"—A 7-lb. breakfast burrito.
• "North Carolina"—The Hot Dogger Eating Challenge, 17 chili dogs.
• "Minneapolis, MN"—The Meterbratwurst, a meter-long bratwurst.

Richman takes on each challenge with great gusto, conquering a majority of them. Sometimes easily, sometimes he has to dig deep to get the last bite down. Other times he fails because he is simply full, his body gives out on him, or the food decides to escape his stomach. But he always gives it his all, making the show extremely watchable for the most part (more about that later). However, the challenges are really the tip of the iceberg. Richman visits various famous local food establishments in every city, sampling mouth-watering specialities, such as deep dish pizzas, massive pancakes, soul food, 2-lb. donuts, and gargantuan burritos. In this sense, Man v. Food is much like the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri, a show I also enjoy. However, I would have to say that Adam Richman is more likable, genuine, and possesses everyman qualities that make him a better host, plus Adam puts his body and pride on the line with infectious enthusiasm (and occasionally weary trepidation).

Both the audio and anamorphic video are decent. The picture and color are okay, but not fantastic. The stereo audio is clear.

There are a few extras on the second disc. The first is the Travel Channel's "World Best Places To Pig Out", which surveys exactly what the title suggests. Many of the places are the same as those visited on MvF. One of the new entries is Ben & Jerry's Vermonster ice cream sundae: 20 scoops of ice cream, 4 bananas, 1 fudge brownie, 3 chocolate chip cookies, 4 ladles of hot fudge, 18 scoops of toppings, plus whipped cream. Simply nauseating. There are also some deleted scenes and TV spots for the show, including Adam's exercise routine and a short chat between Richman and competitive eater Joey Chestnut.

MvF is further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization and an indictment of the sickeningly wasteful and unhealthy ways of North American food culture. Almost all of the dishes publicized in the series involve obscene amounts of food. Nobody needs to eat these dishes. Many could be cut to a small fraction of size and still be a full meal. Further, there where times when I lost my appetite after watching Richman's ill-looking, pale, dismayed, meat sweats soaked visage labor mightily to complete (or fail) some of the more over-the-top challenges. This made me see Richman as someone akin to Maximus in Gladiator, demanding us to answer the question: "Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"

Yes, it is why we're here. And yes, unfortunately for Mr. Richman's digestive track, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, arteries, heart, liver, and the rest of his body, we are entertained.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 82

Perp Profile

Studio: Travel Channel
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 388 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Reality TV
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Featurette
• TV Spots


• IMDb
• Official Site

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