Food shows are like candy to me. They’re some of the only shows I can watch on cable and I gobble them up with aplomb. I’ve already discussed my ironic/not ironic Guy Fieri fandom in detail, but that’s only the tip of the frozen custard iceberg. From the Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats to the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, I’ll watch anything with a semi-affable host and mounds of greasy food. That’s probably how, while perusing food channels late one night, I discovered something so horrible and cringe-worthy that I could only watch with morbid fascination, unable to look away; Something borne from the deep-seeded Id of a television exec’s morbid psyche. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Incredible Edible America!
Yes, The Food Network/Travel Channel gave a show to Jeff Dunham. THAT Jeff Dunham, the Michael Jordan of the worst form of artistic expression: standup with ventriloquism. He’s known for such unforgettable characters as “Purple Weird Thing,” “Old Guy,” and “Achmed the Dead Terrorist.”
I heard Al-Qaeda was considering throwing in the towel on the jihad until they saw that fucking clip. He’s also got a jalapeno with a sombrero, a black “pimp,” a beer drinking redneck and other ill advised stereotypes in his puppet arsenal.
On Incredible Edible America, he and his foody wife scour the country in search of the poshest forms of American junk food, scarfing it down uncomfortably while meeting the people that make it. And speaking of uncomfortable, he’s brought a few special guests along for the ride…
HIS FUCKING PUPPETS! These “hilarious” “characters” are forced into every random moment to “liven” up the scene with “comedy.” In addition to solo bits, where these disgusting rags fondle food, Dunham is required by producers to interact with restaurant patrons while performing as a puppet character. Take a moment to picture that in your head* and then ponder this question:
Who would be comfortable in that situation?
Do you have the answer?
It’s no one!
The patrons look terrified during these segments, as they should. There’s a chance one of the puppets could pop off Dunham’s hand and give them scabies. What’s more surprising is Dunham himself, whose stoic face gives the impression he’s in the middle of a bad case of fiery diarrhea. And that awkwardness isn’t only applicable to the moments he’s harassing patrons with terrifying dolls. It’s whenever he’s on screen!
And that’s what’s so surprising about the show: Dunham literally has zero personality. He discusses cooking techniques with guest chefs through the front of his mouth, as if he’s swallowed a pound of marbles. His wife—not a multi-millionaire comedian with hand in puppet ass—is much better on camera.
So I have to ask myself: why do I feel the need to watch it?
One could argue that it’s the food, of which there’s a lot of, featured dripping juices on gyrating turntables. Maybe it’s the fanciful restaurants that they discover from his pop-star tourbus. Could also be the “how to” instructional cooking steps they go through with the chefs.
Those are good reasons, but I have another theory:
It’s the awkwardness.
Like one of the bad movies we review, this show often seems like such a train wreck, it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself. This fucking thing is The Room of the vast “Cooking/Travel” genre.
They’ve done six episodes and, unfortunately, I’m not sure if another season is on the horizon. But I’ll keep vigilant watch… because I have to.
Because this shit haunts my dreams.
*Interestingly enough, hardly any media of this show exists online–so you’re going to have to rely on your imagination for this one.