When I was a kid we used to get pizza with extra cheese; I get it. Cheese is gooey and fun; against the sauce, it’s very very nice.
Of course that was real mozzarella, not flown in from Naples but at least made in Little Italy.
Now we have this, two awful pizza chains putting as much cheese (and bacon, why not) as can possibly fit on their pizzas. The cheeses – in Papa John’s case mozzarella, “parmesan,” romano, asiago, provolone, and “Fontina” – no doubt are indistinguishable from each other. (The quotes because those two cheeses, at least, are DOC in Italy and there is really only one Parmesan, made in Parma, and one Fontina, made in the Val d’Aosta, and everything else is a shabby imitation.) They’re made god knows where and how, but no doubt at least half of them would qualify as “pasteurized processed cheese food.”
Which isn’t even the point. I have nothing against a good grilled cheese, and certainly nothing against a good pizza. But when it becomes a game as to how many tasteless calories you can load onto a slice and how cheap you can make it ($11) as opposed to how good you can make it taste, the (“six”) cheeses and (“double”) bacon turn from toppings into statistics.
“Extra” (or downright excess) is no longer a special treat, it’s the norm. Going beyond the norm is no longer a special special treat, it’s disgusting, or nearly so.