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The Best Show You're Not Watching Redux

By Twig Collins | TV | July 22, 2009 |

By Twig Collins | TV | July 22, 2009 |

I could try to think of a pithy quote or ancedote to start this off, something about how the Food Network has long gone the way of MTV in terms of giving me more flash cuts, PR and musical cues than actual programming, or how I’d sure as hell pay a television tax in exchange for the kind of shows the BBC is putting on these days , or how — no. No, I’m keeping you from the show. I don’t even have to explain it, they do it all for you in the intro. Go. Watch. Now.

Need an incentive? Here’s probably the best bit from one of the newer episodes, an anal electrocution in Marie Antoinette-era garb:

OK wait, are you reading this instead of watching the show? Why? I’m just going to tell you how awesome it is when you should be experiencing it for yourself. Especially those of you historical Pajibans who enjoy your period dramas and extensive literary criticsm. This is the show for you. Or do you just like watching people get drunk and do stupid things while eating hideous amounts of meat? Also the show for you.

Fine, whatever, I’ll keep talking. Feel free to ignore me and watch more episodes at any time.

“The Supersizers Go…” is a British show loosely based off of Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me,” with the eating period shortened down to a time frame of one week and filled with the food of any number of specific time periods, from Edwardian to Regency to Victorian cuisine. (The two things that I’ve found most impressive about the past so far was the absurd consumption of whatever animal was in reach — there’s a cold meat pie in the Victorian episode that looks like the world’s biggest timpano crashed into Noah’s Ark — along with the equally ridiculous consumption of alcohol. It’s really kind of amazing anyone made it out alive.)

The entire show is exceptionally well put together, covering everything from the living quarters of the time period, to costumes and daily activities, with a nod toward most of the social classes at one point or another. Much of the dining, however, focuses on whatever class was enjoying the widest array of meat and booze and craziness — generally the upper class.

Despite lacking the same sense of the distant and unknown as the earlier episodes, even later shows covering the 70s and 80s are fun and interesting, mainly because of the charm and chemistry between the hosts, who are sharp, witty and clever in a way that gets utterly excised from most shows that have anything to do with ‘Reality TV.’ Giles Coren is eager and excited and always ready to do whatever it is he probably shouldn’t be doing. Sue Perkins is fantastically funny, self-deprecating, and able to play to the camera without hesitation. Either of them could manage this show on their own, but together they play off each other brilliantly.

“The Supersizers Go…” is not yet available even on British DVD, which means it may be out here sometime in the distant future, possibly before we’ve all died. So hie thee to YouTube and watch it quickly before it gets pulled down, because reality itself will split in half if they ever tried to do something else, like just let us buy the stupid thing.

Twig Collins wouldn’t mind living in the past, except it’s hard to find a wi-fi connection.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.