The Hungry Dads Annual Foodie Award Nominees
This Year’s Theme: Profiles in Hunger – Great Eaters in Fiction
- Must be a fictional character
- Must display an impressive appetite
- Unless otherwise stated, these characters may be non-dads
- Origin of character may not be as a food mascot (but may have done food endorsement)
- Additional criteria noted by category below
- Category #1: Beloved children’s character with an appetite: These characters may be non-dads, but must maintain a culturally beloved status with children.
- Category #2: Lifetime Achievement for Eating in the Comic Storytelling Form: These characters may be non-dads, but must have their origin and/or primary form of media in the Sunday comics or comic books.
- Category #3: Outstanding Food Philosophy in the TV Sitcom Medium: These characters may be non-dads, and must have their origin and/or primary form of media in television, non-animated.
- Category #4: Female Achievement in Entertainment Eating: While males dominate so many of these categories, we must not forget the trailblazers who are paving new roads for women in fiction who love to eat.
- Category #5: Hungry Dad Award – Live Action Television: These characters must be dads and must have their origin and/or primary form of media in television, non-animated.
- Category #6: Hungry Dad Award – Animated Television: These characters must be dads and must have their origin and/or primary form of media in animated television.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE…
Beloved children’s character with an appetite: These characters may be non-dads, but must maintain a culturally beloved status with children.
Cookie Monster (Sesame Street) – Mired in controversy, and recently the star of Apple Commercials, “Cookie” (as he has come to be known) represents a cultural touchstone on the junk food/healthy eating schism. Think you know this monster? Think again. More on this debate here.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle’s book of the same name) – This little guy, relatively speaking, is the biggest eater of them all. Like a glutinous version of The Little Engine that Could, this multi legged fellow teaches our children that passion and commitment to stuffing oneself until they are sick, will turn you into a beautiful butterfly. More on this fellow’s eating prowess, here.
Clifford the Big Red Dog (Scholastic Books) – He started out as a regular little puppy, but before long Emily realized that her dog was eating like a horse. Then like an elephant. In one unpublished Clifford tale, it was revealed that Emily’s dad had to cut beer and fast food out of his budget just to pay the kibble bill every month. But Emily loved Clifford. And Emily’s dad loved Emily. Yet another story of fatherhood making a dad hungrier, but healthier.
Shaggy and Scooby (Scooby Doo) – These two deserve their own category of “team eating,” since they are often coordinating efforts to find food. Their signature trick, stacking lunchmeat, lettuce, bread and cheese as if the items were a deck of cards, is something the Hungry Dads have yet to master, despite hours in the lab. When they walk into a haunted mansion, their first stop is the kitchen (which is often stocked with food…oddly, since the place is usually abandoned.). These ghost hunters don’t ask, “who you gonna call?” They ask, “whatcha got to eat?”
Lifetime Achievement for Eating in the Comic Storytelling Form: These characters may be non-dads, but must have their origin and/or primary form of media in the Sunday comics or comic books
Dagwood Bumstead – Dagwood, is a forebearer of the “hungry dad” in fiction. The “Dagwood Sandwich,” is also a legend, albeit not much in the mainstream anymore. Which is a shame. The Dagwood sandwich, while cartoonish and epic in scope, manages to look delicious and as if it could be created in the real world, except maybe the whole lobster shown here.
Garfield – When the Hungry Dads Award judges decided that only one orange cartoon cat could be nominated, Garfield easily ousted his rival, Heathcliff. Heathcliff, while scrappy in his own right, eats out of garbage cans and makes sandwiches from leftover fish bones. Meanwhile, the lasagna-focused Garfield has taken eating as his primary hobby, just above sleeping and torturing poor Odie.
Jughead Jones – Archie’s Riverdale pal has only two functions in any story: (1) serve as Archie’s best friend, (2) to eat endlessly and without remorse. Jughead represents the Hungry Dad, before he as a dad. When the Hungry Dad was a young man with a horse’s appetite and a gut of steel. Jughead’s only dilemma is when somebody (usually that cad Reggie) tries to bribe him with a burger or milkshake from Pop’s in exchange for some breach of ole Juggy’s friendship with Archie. Jughead usually picks friendship over food – but not always. Jug not lest ye be Jugged.
Wimpy – *** nomination rescinded *** This pal ‘o Popeye will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Wimpy’s love of hamburgers has been confirmed by doctors to be a legitimate disorder. His willingness to swindle everyone in town out of burgers may be the sign of an addict and/or clinical sociopathy. The Hungry Dads wish Wimpy well on his recovery.
The Flash – The only thing faster than this speedster’s feet is metabolism. Running around town faster than the speed of sound will burn a lot of calories. Sure, he has to contend with Gorillla Grodd, The Trickster, and the rest of his rouges gallery trying to kill him. But he gets to eat whatever he wants, as much as he wants, and not get fat. Lucky bastard.
Matter Eater Lad – This member of the “Legion of Superheroes” has one power – he can eat anything. No really. Anything. He is “Bismollian” (Pepto Bismolllian?). It might sound like a lame power, but a guy like that could be helpful when a grenade lands nearby. Trapped in a jail – he’ll eat the bars. He’s even eaten the Legion’s foes once or twice as a way to defeat them – that’s right – he ate the bad guy!
Galactus – This space faring Marvel villain’s main motivation is hunger. His tagline is, “I hunger.” What does he hunger for? Planets. The dude eats whole planets. And when he’s done, he moves to the next galaxy in search of some more.
Outstanding Food Philosophy in the TV Sitcom Medium: These characters may be non-dads, and must have their origin and/or primary form of media in television, non-animated.
Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) – pending review of final nomination materials. Nomination cannot be for the actual comedian, but only for the sitcom character. Judges are reviewing whether there is any difference. Rod and Hugh, like most of America in their generation, love the TV classic, Seinfeld. The iconic show made an undeniable mark on comedy, television, and pop culture. But what about food culture? Muffin tops, mulligatawny, black and white cookies, Drake’s coffeecake, cereal, and frozen yogurt all get reviewed under Seinfeld’s microscope.
Kevin (The Office) – pending submission of final nomination materials
Joey Tribinani (Friends) – The heartthrob has broken stereotypes and changed the way people think, bravely confronting the television cliche that big eaters are always big fatsos. Joey’s favorite food is sandwiches. This philosophy was played for laughs in Episode 4.12, “The One With The Embryos,” which suggested that the dimwitted Joey was a fool for thinking that all types of sandwiches were his favorite food. Sandwich lovers ourselves, we, like Joey, do not discriminate. Sandwiches, all sandwiches are a fine favorite food. Likewise, Joey doesn’t discriminate with respect to appropriate movie snacks. In Episode 3.03, “The One With The Jam,” Joey explains that as a kid he loved a day at the theater with a jar of jam and a spoon. Crazy you say? We call it a snack hack.
Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec) – Swanson is the hero of all things manly. Including food. Mostly meat. One of his finest moments was Season 3, Episode 10, “Soulmates.” Health loving Chris Trager challenged Ron in a hamburger contest and prepared his turkey burger “an Asian-fusion burger made with Willow Farms organic turkey, a toasted taleggio cheese crisp, papaya chutney, black truffle aioli, and microgreens on a gluten free brioche bun.” Swanson won the contest handliy with his submission, ” a hamburger made out of meat on a bun with nothing.” Swanson quipped, “Add ketchup if you want, I couldn’t care less.”
Female Achievement in Entertainment Eating: While males dominate so many of these categories, we must not forget the trailblazers who are paving new roads for women in fiction who love to eat.
Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec) – She loves her town. She loves her country. She loves giant waffles. She holds her most important meetings at JJ’s diner. Leslie is one of the only nominees in any category whose intelligence and ambition are on par with her appetite.
Woman from Kindergarten Cop (Kindergarten Cop) – Do you remember the gag that this woman was always eating? Seriously. Her appetite (and resultant food poisoning) was even the whole reason Arnold had to take the mantle of Kindergarten Cop.
Hannah Helene Horvath (Girls) – Arguably the voice of her generation, this writer eats to cope with stress. She is an avowed fan of eating Cool Whip from the container, which by the way is, we argue, a healthy choice. Compare the calories of a tub of whip cream and a pint of ice cream. Of course you are gonna eat the whole thing if that’s all you’ve got. It’s mostly air…. Okay we’re gonna eat both, but still. Hannah is cute, smart, and not afraid to eat. Sounds like the perfect gal?
Laura Diamond (Mysteries of Laura) – This NYPD detective fights crime in perhaps they best food city in the world. After busting up a robbery at a bodega, she even grabs a snack. Hot with a healthy appetite to keep her busting criminal heads in all five boroughs.
Hungry Dad Award – Live Action Television: These characters must be dads and must have their origin and/or primary form of media in television, non-animated.
Carl Winslow (Family Matters) – Carl’s is a man who just wants to be left in peace, maybe to enjoy a snack. But his house is invaded by an annoying, needy little twerp with a high-pitched voice who always wants his attention. Sounds familiar to us. Who better could espouse a core Hungry Dads predicament.
Uncle Phillip (Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire) – Perhaps a rich man’s Carl Winslow? Big man. Loves food but before he can eat that box of cookies, he has to contend with that nuisance – always in his home. Perhaps that describes all of us dads, at least a little bit. Uncle Phil’s food affection is best expressed by in the words of his nephew Will.
Philip Banks: [while in the ambulance] Would you do me a favor, Will?
William ‘Will’ Smith: Uncle Phil, we are not stopping for no burger!
Louie CK (Louie) – Known for biting observations on all things, including food and parenting, Louie is nominated here for two major innovations: (1) The “bang bang” – this dining innovation calls for two full meals at two separate restaurants, one directly after another. The only hard part is choosing your combo. Chinese-Mexican? Sushi-Diner?; (2) The “eat this, you’re on the grid” mother f—er” argument. Confounded by his children’s unwillingness to eat, Louie makes his best, most desperate legal argument to convince his kid that she is not allowed to starve herself.
Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show) – The Great Gaffigan’s takes on food the resonate with the Hungry Dads – indulgence, social acceptance, food attitude, and food justifications. Jim Gaffigan is truly the original Hungry Dad.
Steve Hale (Full House/Fuller House) – **not yet eligible*** Steve isn’t a dad (yet) but boy is he hungry. In fact, Steven’s appetite is perhaps his ONLY character trait, unless being handsome is a character trait. Whereas the nominee in another category, Joey Tribiani, represents the too rare rare “hungry heartthrob,” Steve could represent a character type that doent exist on TV – the “hungry heartthrob dad.” But alas, unless Steve seals the deal and marries widow, DJ Tanner, (mom of three) in the new Fuller House, he ain’t a dad. Steve is “Dad” to dog on Fuller House, but that doesn’t cut it. Fortunately, Netflix has greenling season two. As hungry heartthrob dads ourselves, we think it’s time we start being represented on TV. **not yet eligible***
Hungry Dad Award – Animated Television: These characters must be dads and must have their origin and/or primary form of media in animated television.
Randy Marsh (South Park) – Randy is not an obvious contender Under the “hungry” qualification for this award, but don’t forget his run as a food reviewer in episode “Crème Frèche.” As a dad , Randy isn’t perfect, but he did stand up to his rival, Bat-dad.
Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) – Bob is a dad, proprietor of a dingy burger joint, and genius inventor of the “meatsiah”. Like Homer Simpson and our own Rod Budget, Bob is father to two daughters and a son (who is uncannily similar to fellow cartoon son, Bobby Hill) and parents with occasional success. Bob’s passion for burgers is palpable and his skill on the grill is rivaled only by fellow nominee Hank Hill. A hot, new dad character on the scene, in competition with some true cartoon dad icons.
Fred Flintstone (The Flintstones) – THE true original cartoon hungry dad, by about 50,000 years! The template by which all future cartoon dads were created, Fred’s affection for car-tipping racks of bronco ribs was rivaled only by a love of his precocious daughter, Pebbles.
Daddy Pig (Nickelodeon’s Peppa Pig) – He is the only non-human in this category, and also the only non-American. Britain’s Daddy Pig deserves a lot of credit for maintaining his dignity, given that: (a) he is literally a pig, and (b) his family is relentless in pointing out his big belly, his penchant for sweets, and his general lack of fitness. But this pig patriarch loves his family dearly and takes the ribbing with good humour.
Hank Hill (King of the Hill) – pending submission of final nomination materials.