Adam Richman is like the Guy Fieri of Travel Channel. Based on my principles about food, health, and vegetarianism, I shouldn’t be watching Guy Fieri. If I shouldn’t be watching Guy Fieri, I really shouldn’t be watching Adam Richman on “Man vs. Food.”
Yet, I do.
I was trying to explain to my students last fall that I really like to watch people eat meat, that it must be some sort of vegetarian thing. They all called me weird and looked at me as if I had revealed some deep sexual secret, like maybe I liked to dress up in a dead parent’s clothes and murder people I’m attracted to while they’re showering.
The point is– maybe my wistful old relationship with meat-eating gets revisited when I watch Guy Fieri on television.
But watching Adam Richman is like watching a slaughterhouse ritual. The amount of food he eats– as neither a competitive eater nor a bulimic you made the mistake of inviting to your picnic– is sick, especially in a world that has an unequal distribution of food. What’s more is the quality of the food is inevitably the stuff you serve to drunk undergrads who whisper in awe, “There’s macaroni on this pizza. They put mac and cheese on this pizza. Shit.”
Recently, friends informed me that Adam Richman did a stint years ago in my hometown at the Shakespeare theatre my city’s known for. There were a lot of terrifying stories about him floating around.
In Alabama there’s nothing to do besides things that land us the reputation for being “backwards.” So, I used to sit on my apartment porch when I was home for the summer in college, right near the Shakespeare theatre, and I’d watch the actors walk to and from the theatre, rehearsing their lines aloud. They would gesticulate wildly, totally unconcerned with how awkward they looked reciting lines from Titus Andronicus.
Digging around a little, I found out that Adam Richman was in my favorite production at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival: The War of the Roses trilogy, which is a two part tale of King Henry VI and then Richard III, for those of you who don’t know.
This guy? Seriously? Played King Edward? No wonder I already hated him.
I feel conflicted about this. This means at some point in my life I have enjoyed the existence of Adam Richman. My mother bought my tickets for my attendance of the plays, so no loss of money on my part. But this particular production is where I found one of my superheroines, Queen Margaret, who delivered the best hater speech ever. How could Adam Richman have been embedded in my subconscious?
Do I watch him to relive my earlier 20s when I still had access to good theatre before grad school plunked me down with nearly no income in a land without theatre?