I finally got a little quality time with the Cooking Channel so I am attempting to review several of the shows I have not seen. This time around Food(ography).
This is another rehashing of a tried and true formula – the food documentary. It is much in the vein of Food Tech and Unwrapped, though decidedly better than either since it does not promote the mechanization of food as a positive development.
The show is hosted by comedian Mo Rocca (more on him later) and a handful of food writers, food anthropologists, professors and other learned people. In an episode entitled “Outdoor” one of these great food thinkers, Frances Lam of salon.com, gave one of the best quotes ever about our fast food nation, “You go to your fast food place and you go through the drive-thru and you know what? It’s never any faster than if you just park the car, walk inside and ask for your cheeseburger to go.” Lamb continues, “It’s a perversion of the beauty of the drive-in. The drive-thru is enslavement; the drive-in was freedom.”
There is a reason that Rocca has never been more than a B-list entertainer; it’s the same reason he is only serviceable as a the host of Food(ography) – his voice is terrible. It’s a shame really because he possesses a dry, quick wit. He drops a few great one-liners each episode but after a while his voice starts to grate. I think that is why the producers intertwine so much footage of the aforementioned food experts, to give the viewers’ ears a break.
From a production stand point Food(ography) doesn’t particularly stand out as it uses a ton of stock footage. Some of it good, some of it not so much. But it does pack a lot of great information into 60 minutes from a plethora of knowledgeable experts like Lam, Dr. Krishnendu Ray (Professor, Food Studies, NYU) and Southern Folkways Alliance director, the esteemed food writer John T. Edge.
Food(ography) is a very informative show that is entertaining with a ton of upside. I can easily see killing a rainy day with a Food(ography) marathon.