Hey, drop by for lunch some time! I'll slice us up some fresh pastrami! Hey, Bonds... you ok? You look a little green around the gills!
Just as Vomiting Cop
can demonstrate that someone in law enforcement isn't (yet) jaded about gory death, this trope shows just how
jaded someone who works with dead bodies can get. Whether they're a Creepy Mortician
showing an abnormal indifference to morbidity, or The Coroner
whose mid-autopsy noshing is being Played for Laughs
, expect all but the most sober of works to show people in the funerary trades munching sandwiches or french fries, or at least sipping coffee, while they've got a body on the slab.
In real life, the risks associated with bloodborne pathogens such as HIV and the hepatitis viruses means that there are strict rules in place against this sort of thing, and no self-respecting coroner/medical examiner should engage in this practice.
Compare The Snack Is More Interesting
, Pass the Popcorn
, Nausea Dissonance
, Inappropriate Hunger
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- There's a cell-phone service commercial in which a morgue worker's breakfast burrito falls into the cadaver he's working on, and he blithely picks it up and continues eating it. "What, you think this is wrong? What's wrong is paying too much for cell phone service."
Anime And Manga
- In Psycho Pass, Yayoi Kunizuka continues eating her noodles while looking at pictures of an exceptionally gruesome murder case
- There is a scene in Fell where the coroner of Snowtown eats his sandwich above a cadaver. One of the sandwich's tomatoes falls onto the cadaver; however, this doesn't stop the coroner from picking it back up and eating it. Fell is horrified, but the coroner just says that because it was an organic tomato he'd have to go out of the city to get a new one.
- In Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), the character Sphinx is working as a coroner and puts his sandwich down on a cadaver's chest to answer the phone.
- The low-budget horror flick Street Trash has one scene that takes place in a morgue, and the coroner is, in fact, munching away at a box of Chinese food while talking with the cops.
- In the Hungarian movie Kontroll, ambulance workers talk about a recipe while picking up the remains of a man who has been hit by the subway.
- In the German comedy movie Neues vom Wixxer, the coroner Dr. Brinkman lets his little son (plus a bunch of other kids) have a birthday party in the morgue.
- Lampshaded in Diary of the Dead, when some EMTs are collecting bodies from an apartment and the cameraman who's filming them grouses about how one of their crew is eating his lunch off-camera, despite the gore.
- When Jason's body is brought to the morgue in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, the doctor who checks him in is eating a sandwich, and places it on him temporarily to sign some papers.
- In Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the second coroner who walks in on a Voorhees-possessed medical examiner is carrying a pizza, and was presumably intending to eat it right there in the autopsy room. In a slightly more literal sense from the same scene, one of the coroners doing said autopsy eats the (miraculously still intact and beating) heart of Jason Voorhees, causing him to become inexplicably possessed by Jason, setting up the rest of the film.
- In the Robert Altman movie Pret-a-Porter, a coroner has a snack while autopsying a corpse (in the presence of several police officers investigating the death, too!)
- In Arachnophobia, a funeral-parlor worker is eating a BLT when the photographer's boxed corpse arrives from South America. When the phone rings, he sets his sandwich down on the table normally used to prepare bodies, where a cat nibbles on it.
- When Ernie the undertaker is introduced in Return of the Living Dead, he's shown eating a sandwich over a body he's embalming.
- Doc Proutie from the Ellery Queen novels was known to do this.
- At least once in the Aubrey-Maturin books, Stephen and a fellow naturalist move immediately from dissection to dinner, using the same knife.
- A bizarre variation occurs in American Gods, when Mr. Jacquel slices off a part of the victim's heart while examining her and casually chewing it while recording his observations. This is because Mr. Jacquel is actually an aspect of Anubis, ancient Egyptian God of the dead. It's implied that eating the heart is reverential and a sign of deep respect (to be fair, he mostly just tastes it, rather than consuming the whole thing).
- In Pyramids, the ghost of king Teppicymon XXVII is watching the embalming of his mortal remains and notes with some dissatisfaction that the embalmer accidentally included the wrapper from his assistant's lunch in the stuffing. Presumably this would not have happened if he hadn't been eating it around the body.
- In Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast an attempt by a hostile park warden to threaten and murder the four protagonists (two married couples) ends with two men congratulating each other on their successful use of swords to kill a man with a gun, and a woman noting that the man was clearly not human. This is followed by the fourth protagonist performing the autopsy while her new daughter-in-law holds a sandwich for her to eat without touching it with purple goo covered hands. Their valiant sword wielding menfolk avoid the room in a desperate attempt to retain their lunches.
- In one episode of Supernatural, the Trickster, a Reality Warper with a notorious sweet tooth, has trapped Sam and Dean in a CSI: Miami parody. While explaining the found body to the two "Horatio Caine"s, he, or rather his double, slurps on a lollipop the whole time.
- In another episode Sam is telling Dean the squicky details of how a Mad Doctor carries out Organ Theft while Dean is chowing down on a burger. Dean keeps telling him to shut up, but eventually finishes the burger just to show Sam he's not affected.
- One of the coroners in Taggart would do this, popped up in Inspector Morse once or twice too.
- On Psych:
- Given a Take That in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation when Doc Robbins speaks irately of a long-retired coroner who missed crucial evidence in the original autopsy:
Robbins: I once saw him do a Y-incision with one hand while holding a hot dog in the other!
Keppler: I take it he wasn't known for his rigorous analysis?
Robbins: He was known for liking hot dogs.
- This shows up a few times in Law & Order. "This is the cleanest room in the city." It freaks out the detectives.
Det. Ed Green: Is that brain on the phone?
ME. Rodgers: It's egg salad. (beat) Probably.
Det. Ed Green: You have a different phone?
- Likewise on Castle, the Deadpan Snarker ME Pearlmutter occasionally takes a meal in the mortuary.
- In Fringe, Walter Bishop often eats while examining corpses or other Squick-inducing things.
- In one episode of The X-Files ("Bad Blood"), while performing an autopsy Scully finds that the victim's stomach contents include pizza, and comments that it sounds very appealing right now.
- Forever Knight did a variant of this once, with Natalie and her assistant shown in the morgue, looking down at the camera, deciding where to cut first. Then the shot switches and they're standing over a roast chicken.
- On Alaskan Wildlife Troopers, a state trooper investigating a mass caribou slaughter eats a sandwich while examining the rotting carcasses in the field.
- The Big Bang Theory episode "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis" shows Amy Farrah Fowler cutting slices of a human brain for microscopic analysis, while she and Sheldon eat lunch. To make it worse, Sheldon is eating sashimi, and briefly mistakes the samples for his lunch.
- An episode of The Pretender had a coroner using an autopsy table to prepare fugu, prompting Jarod (who was working as a fellow coroner in this episode) to ask, "Gunshot wound to the gill?"
- In The Closer episode "Junk in the Trunk", Tao, Gabriel, Flynn, Provenza and Buzz open the trunk of a car where the car's very obese owner has been decomposing for several days. While the others start coughing and are generally visibly bothered by the sight and smell of the corpse, Provenza just keeps eating his donut.
- Rizzoli & Isles
- Korsak is shown chowing down on a doughnut while watching Dr. Isles perform an autopsy in the first episode.
- Maura has occasionally been known to store her lunch in the morgue's specimen refrigerator, leading to a Running Gag of Jane questioning the provenance of any snacks she might be offered.
Jane: Is this from the good fridge or the dead people fridge?
- MacGyver: "The Enemy Within" has Mac present at an autopsy that has the coroner halting his duties for an eggroll.
- An episode of Profit has the title character saying that a mortician needs to do all kinds of things around his work. Including celebrating his birthday. And sleeping with a hooker.
- Happens on occasion in Grey's Anatomy. The characters are surgeons, so they will sometimes eat lunch while working in the surgical skill lab (which typically involves practicing procedures on the corpses of small pigs).
- Done occasionally on Scrubs, mostly with a running gag of all the pathologists and coroners constantly eating lollipops. Based on a real tactic used by some pathologists; keep a lollipop, a mint, etc, in your mouth in order to reduce the impact of any unexpected smells and fight the gag reflex.
- Murdoch Mysteries: Constable Crabtree is devouring a hot hamburger in a morgue and Dr. Grace is more horrified by the idea of eating hot meat with bread. Later in the same episode, Dr Grace is enjoying a hamburger, too, while presenting a body and post mortem results to Detective Murdoch. Detective Murdoch seems mildly disgusted — by the idea of a hamburger.
- Rico and Vanessa from Six Feet Under are eating lunch together in the embalming room. Too bad an inspection appears right at that moment!
- On Golden Girls, Blanche recalls how the police nonchalantly told her about her husband's car accident, while eating a bag of chips. "He was like, 'Your husband is dead. *crunch crunch crunch*'"
- Became a plot point on an episode of Life, when the mortician's constant snacking helps the detectives to realize that she's pregnant by the murder victim of the week
- In the Big Blackout episode of NCIS, Ducky lets the Navy Yard employees store their lunches in one of the autopsy freezers, since they are connected to the backup generators while the power is out. They are seemingly unbothered by the thought of keeping their food where corpses are normally stored.
- In the Criminal Minds episode "There's No Place Like Home" the ME du jour is eating a sandwich in the autopsy room while he talks the agents through the mutilated corpses.
- The hospital crew in Life & Death II: The Brain are always eating pizza while observing the body of whichever poor patient you "accidentally" ended up killing this time around.
- Coroner Rick does this on Stroker and Hoop.
- In the South Park episode "Pink Eye", a mortuary assistant eats a Worcestershire sauce-laden hot dog while embalming Kenny's body. When some of the sauce leaked into the embalming fluid though, it led to an epidemic Gone Horribly Wrong. The fact that it is not supposed to be used as embalming fluid is on the label and the Worcestershire hotline asks the caller to press 3 if it has.
- While it doesn't technically involve eating, Hey Arnold! The Movie includes a coroner so adjusted to his job that he sleeps in the same room as the corpses.
- This is often used as a litmus test for rookie cops with the veterans often bringing a snack for the rookie's first autopsy.
- Occasionally, careless medical students will eat right in the middle of dissecting cadavers.
- Forensic pathologist Dr. William R. Maples wrote in his memoir, Dead Men Do Tell Tales, about how he'd have lunch in the autopsy room.
- Emily Grasile of The Brain Scoop doesn't eat while dissecting and prepping the specimens, but frequently talks about what she wants to eat or how hungry she is, or compares the texture of the dead flesh to food like pepperoni slices.
- The tendency of Real Life physicians to do so was proven by Ignaz Semmelweiss, a famous Hungarian obstetrician, to be the cause of a deadly puerperal fever that was the main reason of the Death by Childbirth. He was laughed out of profession and ended his days in asylum. It wasn't until Joseph Lister's work, some 20 years later, that antiseptics have become mainstream.