Daymon Patterson, the star of the Travel Channel’s “Best Daym Takeout” (premiering Wednesday), is a 35-year-old Connecticut man who made a series of YouTube videos of himself sitting and eating at the wheel of his car while extolling the pleasures of fast food. This rocketed him to a place we sometimes still mistakenly call “fame.”
Depending on your work-surf balance at the office, you’ve perhaps seen the clip of Patterson’s ecstatic description of the burgers and fries at a Five Guys franchise. His highest compliment is also an abbreviation of his name: Daymmm!
And so again, the deeper you peruse the far regions of cable’s grid, the more gratitude for the Internet you see from its idea-strapped programmers, who happily and cheaply pluck one sensation after another off your Web browser and plop a slicker version of him (or her) onto your traditional TV screen.
The net effect of watching such shows, whether they’re about food or family or business, is the realization that we are all in some way hicks from the sticks, playing up our catchphrases and our provincialism while we “argue” about the most mundane topics, such as who has the best pizza or fried chicken.
In “Best Daym Takeout,” Daym now travels to other cities to seek out new ways to rock an electrocardiogram. The double-episode opener begins in the Chicago area, where he visits Pequod’s, a deep-dish pizza joint, has a hot dog at Superdawg and then loses his mind over a drippy sandwich at Mr. Beef.
With all the grace and dignity of the Mr. Kool-Aid pitcher, Daym walks into Mr. Beef and announces: “I’m a big guy! I don’t like a small sandwich!” To which one of two plus-sizers sitting on nearby stools replies, “Look at us; we’re not eating diet food.”
From here, “Best Daym Takeout” follows the network’s basic “Man v. Food” template: Daym befriends the owner, cracks wise while watching the kitchen process, then decides what he’s going to order.
Unlike in Travel Channel shows that focus on places and people, Daym is always itching to get back to his car. Solitude is the main attraction, where he can launch into his (already stale) routine, in which he makes loud love to gooey cheese, crispy crusts and sizzling meats. (“Don’t go too far, boo,” he tells a pepperoni that’s trying to escape, popping it into his mouth.)
His joy for the food is at once hilarious and horrifying, but after you’ve seen it once or twice, you’re full enough. And even though “Best Daym Takeout” seems to have a firm grasp on life’s simple joys, binge eaters will recognize the vibe of loneliness when pigging out in your car.
In the next episode, he’s off to New Orleans, where, at least in keeping with the Travel Channel’s commitment to the somewhat-unbeaten path, he tries a soul food joint in Treme called Willie Mae’s Scotch House, then the Freret Street Po-boys & Donuts cafe uptown and a bustling Cajun seafood place in the French Quarter, the Acme Oyster House.
It’s in the Quarter, where parking has always been next to impossible, that “Best Daym Takeout’s” most glaring misstep in format becomes clear: Daym leaves his car in front without fear of ticket or tow to acquire food that is not technically takeout (or drive-through) and not meant to be. While the nosh meets his criteria in terms of cholesterol, it’s all a bit too culinary and authentic; and with all this getting in and out of the car, I worry that he’s getting too much exercise.
Which, of course, leads to my sincere hope that “Best Daym Takeout” is not something first lady Michelle Obama, our national get-up-and-go girl, alights upon the next time she’s up late and looking for something to watch. It’s like seeing all her best efforts fall into a deep, deep-fat fryer.
(two episodes, one hour) premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel.