I don't have the time or attention span to follow a narrative that covers 12 one hour episodes. I smoked myself into a stupor and watched The Wire when I was younger, but that was a luxury I had to surrender to gainful employment and social skills. When I unwind in front of the telly, I want plots wrapped up in under 20 minutes or, better yet, totally non-existent. With this in mind, can we just stop for a minute and talk about how great DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES is?!
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey making a clutch cameo on DDD
Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives AKA Triple D AKA DDD is broadcast on the Food Network which is available on Freeview. So if you haven't seen it I'm going to assume you're one of those people who doesn't own a TV, meaning you probably insist on telling everyone this fact. In that case, fuck you. You don't deserve Guy Fieri's culinary adventure across America you sanctimonious turd.
Guy 'Jesus' Fieri
The host, Guy Fieri, is a TV chef who bares a striking resemblance to the lead singer of post-Sublimecore one-hit-wonders Smash Mouth. Except Guy doesn't look like he's bankrupt or addicted to Percodan, instead he sports a grin which suggests he's just stolen his eldest son's Adderall and he's about to go Wild Hogs crazy!
We dem boyz! Guy and his boy Adam Sandler making meatballs for the boys
He carries this unbridled enthusiasm across America's heartland, where he explores the independent eateries which are slowly hardening the arteries of the country's middle classes. Most dishes are brined, basted and fried. Ribbons of meat hang from cavernous smokers and piles of cheese are melted under flaming grills. If he didn't look like Joey Fatone's bleached corpse, Guy would have had as much an influence on London's flirtation with 'dirty food' as the guys who started Pitt Cue.
Guy sporting the timeless reverse wrap-around shades swag
Instead, he lurks among the backwaters of digital television, sampling the dishes Londoners would queue for hours to buy from a truck. Guy pulls a face resembling le petite mort every time he samples a Jalapeno popper, and nods in quiet awe when an already viscous gravy has a shit load of flour dumped into it. Because Guy knows it tastes better after it's 'tightened up,' and he wants you to know too. He hunches over when he takes an enormous bite of a dripping burger, before making a cool, fresh joke about wishing they'd invented smellovision (Guy cares about his viewers.) In short, he's the foodie for people who hate foodies. My dream guy!
Clown? Lol u make memes
He hams it up with head chefs and fist-bumps restaurant owners. He makes jokes with punters like a politician on the campaign trail, and these little exhanges are stitched together to reveal a place few of us know about. Middle America. Not California, not New York, just people who opened a diner when their car broke down on the interstate. Of course Guy is too brash to be so sentimental, so he calls it Flavortown, mentioning it everytime a bite takes him to the city limits. Observe:
- “I’m mining for food in Flavortown River.”
- “… like a speed-bump in Flavortown.”
- "It’s like a hot-dog lasso on the ranch in Flavortown.”
- "That’s in the tank that fuels the bus that goes to Flavortown.”
- "I feel like I’m in lasagna surgery here at Flavortown Memorial.”
- "You can find that dictionary at the Flavortown Library.”
- "It’s like I’m standing at the buffet in the meat palace in Flavortown"
Ketchup Hot Tub in Flavortown! Where are my Flavortrunks?
When these sorts of descriptions are rolled out in every episode, I get a little confused by people telling me they don't like Triple D. It's like a parent dimissing the wonder of a child's imagination, or a teacher silencing a precocious student. Sometimes I think the true mavericks who walk among us are muted by a culture which demands they fit in or face ridicule. If a person dresses like a professional ten-pin bowler at an import car convention and describes food like a bad children's author, then the rest of society views them as some sort of freak.
Yet everytime Guy struts across my screen, I remember that real individuals still exist - proud ones who pay no attention to the demands of consensus culture or the expectations of critics. Heroes who refuse to let the world rubbish their food, mock their clothes or dismiss their deep-fried cheese cinnabon surprise as a culinary abomination. And when he's only on screen for 20 minutes a go, that's a pretty impressive thing to do.