Every so often, the Internet bands together for a good cause. Usually it is for a public shaming of a cat abuser or someone who is mean to little kids. The last couple days though, the focus has been squarely on Guy Fieri — who actually might be more annoying than those other two.
Fieri, a television personality and chef, is probably best known for his Food Network travelogue “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” in which he tours the country sampling the best foods from the dirtiest-looking restaurants. Quite possibly, it is the best gig on television. Fieri also owns several restaurant chains throughout the U.S., none of which I’ve actually eaten at. Little too hip for me — I’m more of a burrito-off-the-floor type of guy. His latest restaurant had the misfortune though, much to the delight of said Internet, to open its doors in the pissing grounds of Pete Wells, a food critic for the New York Times.Wells excoriated Fieri’s Time Square-based restaurant “Guy’s American Kitchen And Bar” on Nov. 13th, with a zero star rating and a humorous rant, asking such rhetorical questions of menu options as “And when we hear ‘donkey sauce,’ which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?” The review, while brutal, attacks the deeper issue of a perceivably-annoying celebrity using his brand to perhaps overcharge red-state tourists for menu items like “Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders.”
The Internet has responded in a big way, culling support from Twitterers, Tumblrers and the Reddit crowd to create and spread the legend of the Guy Fieri meme. For the past two days, images of Fieri have been shopped, posted, and shared with a tenacity seldom seen from the neckbeards. Could Fieri truly be that polarizing?
Fieri, for one, doesn’t think so. The review and its response so upset the spiky-haired man-boy that he took a red-eye flight to New York to appear on Good Morning America (GMA to the PIR crowd) and comment on the whole shebang. “It went so overboard, it seemed like there was another agenda,” he said, even bringing in admittedly delicious-looking food from the restaurant for the GMA host to sample.
These things tend to spring up and then flare out once the Internet collective feels the proper “shaming” has been achieved, but it just goes to show that, more and more, new media is a force that demands — and gets — answers.