A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this reality series -- which follows host Adam Richman as he travels the country trying local cuisines and participating in eating challenges -- is pretty mild overall, its focus on overindulging in large portions of food highlights some unhealthy eating habits. There's also some very mild sexual innuendo, as well as some alcohol (mostly beer) consumption during meals.
What's the story?
MAN V. FOOD follows self-proclaimed food fanatic Adam Richman as he travels America -- from Amarillo to Pittsburgh -- looking for the country's biggest and boldest foods. Along the way, he explores local cultures and flavors, checking out each destination's traditional dishes. He also serves up some of the history behind each eatery he visits. But the real fun comes when Richman bellies up to participate in local food challenges, which range from eating a 7.5 pound hamburger with all the fixings in under an hour to swallowing the country's spiciest phaal curry. After surviving each gastronomic adventure, Richman moves on to a new town looking for his next delicious meal.
Is it any good?
Man v. Food offers some interesting history about some of America's local haunts and their contributions to regional cuisine. It also looks at how some of these restaurants have become local landmarks -- and at how the meals they prepare have become a major part of American culture.
But the show also serves up some unappetizing messages. Its constant focus on "eating big" converts the pleasure of occasionally indulging in a fun meal into an exercise in gluttony. Meanwhile, Richman's gleeful comments about "pigging out" and his on-screen gorging -- which is intended to be somewhat funny -- underscore the kind of thinking and behavior that leads to obesity and other medical problems. Some people may find this kind of thing fun to watch, but the mixed messages it sends about this country's relationship with food makes it a little unsavory.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kinds of messages that the media sends about food and eating. Do you think participating in challenges like the ones featured in this show is really healthy? Check out some of our tips on talking about the relationship between media, food, and physical health. Families can also discuss the different kinds of food you can find throughout the country. What are your favorite dishes? Do you know where or how they originated? Are they originally from the United States? Would you be willing to travel across the country to eat them?
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