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Travel Channel's 'Man vs. Food' a worthy contender

Joshua Aromin

Issue date: 2/5/09 Section: Entertainment
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02/05/09 - "Man vs. Food," a show about a man and his extreme level of eating prowess, is the newest food-related program to hit the Travel Channel.

Hosted by Adam Richman, "Man vs. Food" is a show that tests the limits of one man's eating capacity and his will to surpass it. In each episode, Richman travels around the country in an effort to take on any eating challenge he can find.

A 34-year-old acting journeyman that's a bit on the husky side, Richman begins each challenge with a sense of enthusiasm and an undying affinity for food. But toward the latter part of the challenge, Richman's face expresses a harsh feeling of agony and miserable dishonor.

The outcome of the challenge sure is a big draw to the show, but watching the challenge itself and seeing the anguish and look of defeat on Richman's face is reason enough to watch.

And while it's fun to see Richman win an occasional battle with food, it's understandable that he'll lose quite a bit. (Who could really finish 12-pounds of cheeseburger anyway?)

As the host and primary competitor, Richman is highly responsible for the show's success. He looks like an overgrown college student or a healthier, clean-cut Artie Lange, but Richman is the perfect host for a show of this nature.

The Travel Channel now has three food-based shows, but all three vary. Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods" acts more as a straight-laced show that features unique foods that you and I wouldn't dare touch, never mind eat.

Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" talks about food in a more culture-oriented light, that focuses itself on delivering the story behind the food, usually in a riveting theatrical way.

And Richman's "Man vs. Food" is there to be fun (and sometimes gross), and that's it. Richman isn't trying to sell something, nor is he trying to pass on a civic message about developing countries. The man just wants to eat and wants you to be there when he does.

Though the show is still relatively new, Richman has already attempted many out-of-this-world food challenges.
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