Opinion Ian O'Doherty

Friday 23 March 2018

Forget Man v Food – this is Adam v the fatties

Adam Richman was pilloried by the fat lobby
Adam Richman was pilloried by the fat lobby

It's hard to listen to Bruce Springsteen's 57 Channels (And Nothin' On) without feeling rather nostalgic – did they only have 57 channels in 1992? How did they live in such primitive times?

As we've seen over the last few years, however, it's actually quite possible to have 157 channels and still find yourself cursing the listings because there's nothing jumping out at you. Adam Richman was one of the few things that did jump out, however. When he first appeared with Man Vs Food, he was the proverbial breath of fresh air – a portly, engaging everyman who wandered around America, visiting the kind of barbecue joints the rest of us can only dream about.

It was a wonderful little show that worked primarily because the host was a man who was happier with a good pastrami sandwich than the fayn dayning so often featured on other programmes. But as you might reasonably expect from a man who made his living eating meals that were the size of several small people rolled into a bap, his weight and health began to suffer. In fact, later episodes seemed to offer the tantalising concern that the next time he undertook an eating challenge his arteries were going to burst like a blocked hose pipe and his head would explode in a vast mushroom cloud of transfats and bacon gristle. And I mean that as a compliment.

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