Last week the comics publication that I run put out an Epic Meal Time themed issue. While many here didn’t get it [need to better gauge my audience] it’s undeniable that the YouTube cooking show is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon.
It began back almost exactly a year ago, when Harley Morenstein uploaded a video of him and his friends eating a pizza they covered in fast food
[it included an entire Big Mac and a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme]. Ever since then Morenstein and co. have spiraled out of control, taking the internet by storm.
The following video is my personal favourite of theirs, and inarguably their most popular [at almost 11 million hits at the time of this writing]:
How big can a bunch of guys covering food in bacon get, you ask?1 Big enough to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and do a live show at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. Type in “Epic Meal Time” followed by either “tribute” or “parody” on YouTube and prepare to be buried under an avalanche of internet video creators mimicking Morenstein’s in-your-face way of narrating the show.2
I watch these videos for more than the knowledge of how many different combinations of pork and alcohol3 there are, though. I believe this is a legitimately well-made show.
Continuity has allowed for characters like “Muscles Glasses” [Alex Perrault] to become this invincible juxtaposition of steely biceps and iron stomach. His ability to down shots of hard liquor mixed with anything from Big Mac sauce to gravy may not be inspiring, but is definitely impressive.
Tyler Lemco is without a doubt the comic relief of the show. Since the episode Maximum Mac & Cheese he’s begun devolving into a simpleton of sorts, a trend I definitely don’t have a problem with. It’s the little things, like him placing trays of bacon into the dishwasher with the phrase, “You put them in the oven, and then you’re done.” It may also have a lot to do with the fact that he appears to be the only one who has gained a significant amount of weight.
Josh Helkin has one one eyebrow perpetually raised.4 David Heuff’s always wears an exaggerated frown. Ameer Atari is, well, kind of a doofus.5 But I don’t hold that against him.
Harley Morenstein is the creator of Epic Meal Time, but since he edits the videos, conceptualizes most if not all of the episodes, and narrates using his own material he deserves a decent amount of credit.6 It may only be a three to eight minute show, but the content is still funny, the ideas fairly fresh, and the production values high.
With a little help from his friends Morenstein has created a generation of people who now believe bacon is one of the five major food groups. He’s making money off of YouTube by cooking meat with meat. He’s affecting and making culture, inspiring dozens upon dozens of young people to stuff their faces for the sheer posterity of it. Epic Meal Time has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Probably because grease stains are just so difficult to get out.
1. I did realize that this was a pun. But only after I had already written it.
2. The best ones are definitely Vegan Meal Time and the Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time series.
3. And there you go. I just realized what a nightmare this show must be to devout Muslims.
4. He also looks high. A lot of the time.
5. That is a sweet name, though. Seriously.
6. Not to mention the beard. It pretty much has a life of its own at this point.