More than you ever wanted to know about Mark Summers

Know Mark Summers? He hosted the messy Nickelodeon game show Double Dare way back when, and these days he’s the host of Unwrapped on Food Network, which I am, unfortunately, watching as I write this. (Hey, it was that or the routine weekly post-SNL broadcast of the Guthy-Renker infomercial for the Midnight Special DVD collection.)

The show is moderately interesting as a glimpse into the operations of various quirky businesses in the food industry (such as the one they’re talking about now, whose corporate office is a 7-story replica of a wicker picnic basket that would put Beebe Gallini‘s powder puff factory to shame). But the most distinctive thing about it is the maddening, Shatner-esque start-and-stop cadence of Mark Summer’s voiceovers. I’m sure he doesn’t really talk that way, at least I hope so, but on TV, he’s so programmed into this particular way of speaking — which presumably originated long ago in broadcasting schools with the desire to sound enthusiastic and engaging, and be easy to follow — that, ironically, I can barely concentrate on what he’s saying due to the way he says it.

I was not aware until I set about writing this post that Mark Summers is also a spokesperson for OCD, as detailed on his stunningly mid-’90s-style website. Wowwee. That site must have seemed freakin’ awesome at the time, what with its 3-D animated GIF logo, frameset navigation that unpredictably disappears on certain pages, etc. I don’t mean to mock a psychological condition, but you’d think someone with OCD would have no truck with this. It certainly hasn’t aged well, and I find it funny that the company that designed and (apparently, given its URL) hosts it still has the audacity to tout having been featured in a 1999 magazine.

P.S. This is what I get for drinking coffee after 5 PM. 8 hours later I’m still up doing… this.