During a brief, but animated, post-lunch discussion of the various Food Network “stars” with several of my work colleagues today, it was posited that Alton Brown’s show “Good Eats” is popular with men, and men only, because it’s a show about gadgets.
For me, Alton Brown is one of the few non-annoying characters on the Food Network, combining, as he does, witticisms with interesting facts and anecdotes, creative explanatory methods with geekiness, and delivering it all in a humble, non-offensive manner, and because of this he is by some distance my favorite presenter. Being the best of a bad bunch however, is flattery with scant praise, and it’s a fact that there isn’t much competition for him on the network with likable characters at an increasingly high premium. (Do we really need one more non-professional, white-bread, middle-American housewife making weekday meals in a spotless kitchen? That’s right, I’m thinking of what’s her face, that thin-nosed, freckly-faced, boney slag who won the next food network star – now “The Gourmet Next Door” – ugh) But is Alton only likable to men? And, is “Good Eats” really a gadget show?
The fact that it’s not just another stand and stir show in which the host tells aggravatingly sacharine stories of how her father (who’s Sicilian – and therefore, implicitly, knows everything there is to know about food) used to make his own pizzelles or whatever, or how her nephew (insert peculiar unisex mid-Western name of your choice here) always likes to eat these tasty treats after an afternoon chasing the hog-skin around, makes it unusual in the Food Network schedule, and something unusual on such a sickeningly homogenous channel is like finding a dildo in your pocket. It’s kind of cool and exciting, but it’s also rather worrying and throws you off balance.
So, what do you think — is Good Eats only for men? Do you like Alton Brown? Should he be the next rat to jump the sinking ship that is TFN?
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