College students film a comedy cooking show

Holly Rillovick
Staff Writer

Recipe: five mini frozen pizzas; one twelve-pack of chicken-flavored Ramen noodles; two bell peppers; one head of lettuce; one onion; two cans of peaches; two cans of apricots; three large sticks of cookie dough; and an unmeasured amount of pancake mix. Hungry?

It is a Friday night and a Prescott College campus house is alive with laughter. Two students film their video, “Cost-Effective Meal Time II: The New Meal.”

Viktor Gazarian and Luke Whitcraft began co-starring in “Cost-Effective Meal Time,” formerly known as “Epic College Meal Time,” a few weeks ago when they were inspired by a video called “Epic Meal Time,” a cooking show on YouTube in which the hosts cook large portions of unhealthy food and drink heavily.

“We realized we could do this on a very low budget,” Whitcraft explains, which is how they came up with the title for their series. The two filmed episodes were budgeted at $25 and $30, respectively.

Whitcraft loves to cook. In the video, his character is cooking to dramatic orchestral music. His character yells every word: from “Welcome to Cost-Effective Meal Time, kids!” to commentary, to censored obscenities when he burns himself time and time again.

“I think Luke’s character brings out his inner ego,” says Samantha Jones, friend of both the actors. She smiles and says, “I enjoy having such silly friends!”

Gazarian works mostly behind the camera and also edits each video.

“The only cooking technique I know requires a hatchet,” Gazarian says with a chuckle. His character wears sunglasses and a sleeveless shirt and never utters a word. He appears in the videos at arbitrary moments doing arbitrary things, such as lifting weights while eating a head of lettuce, or using a hatchet to chop vegetables and smash plates. He buys plates before filming an episode solely for this purpose.

“And when the food is done,” says Gazarian, “I eat a huge chunk of it as grotesquely as possible.” This involves stuffing his mouth with large handfuls of the food or using his beloved hatchet as a utensil.

Each episode includes a scene of Viktor nonchalantly downing 10 or 20 bottles of what looks like beer. In fact, these are IBC root beer bottles filled with water. In reality, he only drinks about two bottles per take. The illusion relies on assistance with bottle placement while he drinks, and skilled editing.

“It’s funny that you’re so straight-edge”— meaning he does not drink — “and you show yourself drinking beer,” says classmate Maise Moises, who is playing a small role in tonight’s episode.

“That’s part of the joke for people who know me,” says Gazarian.

Their episodes have been viewed on YouTube 234 times as of March 2. “[Our friends’] moms have seen this,” says Whitcraft. “I think people like seeing the place get trashed.” He motions to the broken bottles and plates strewn across the floor, to spilled Ramen noodles, to trays of cookie. That’s right: cookie-sheet-sized cookies.

“Why would you want to eat thirty normal-sized cookies when you can have one giant cookie that’s taller than your head?” says Gazarian.

On February 25, four friends show up to watch, help, and play small roles in “Cost-Effective Meal Time II.” Moises can be seen taunting Whitcraft or hanging out in the background of random scenes. Behind the scenes, friends Nikki Reck and Ravenna Napp-Shaprio are chopping vegetables.

In the closing scene of the episode, Moises is face-down in an enormous pile of cost-effective meal. It is layers of Ramen, vegetables, pizza and slabs of cookie.

“The hardest part,” says Gazarian, “is recovering from the food, which takes about fourteen hours of sleep.”

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