"So I'm on a diet... Big deal. You know what a "diet" is, don't you? It's "die" with a "T," that's what it is!
A character is sneaking out to the kitchen for a midnight snack. He is careful not to wake up his wife or else he'll get caught. The minute he opens the refrigerator, he suddenly hears footsteps, so he turns around just in time to see his wife standing behind him
with a stern expression on her face. The wife then promptly puts her husband on a diet for trying to raid the refrigerator at night.
This is a type of episode that shows up in almost every form of media. When a character is caught trying to eat more than he usually does, he will promptly be put on a diet, or the character decides to go on a diet himself.
Becoming a Dead Horse Trope
as the obese become Less Acceptable Targets.
Anime and Manga
- There is one in Kamen no Maid Guy.
- Azumanga Daioh's Yomi is seemingly always on a diet. Her Day in the Limelight episodes often feature her trying several unsuccessful diets.
- Usagi tried to go on a diet but failed in an early Sailor Moon episode that involved the villains taking energy from girls who were obsessed with getting thin.
- There is also a Yes! Pretty Cure 5 episode where Coco goes on a diet because he got fat (although you never really see the difference in his human form) from eating too many cream puffs.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has one in which, thanks to a Ghost, Stocking finds herself gaining weight (something that never happened before, considering all the fat she consumes goes to her breasts) and starting a DIETO.
- One episode of Gintama features most of the major female characters having become obese within the same time period and enrolling into a fat camp. They all go back to normal at the end of the episode after eating laxitive-laced chips.
- Episode 8 of Tamako Market focuses on Dera taking a diet, as he has been overly obese to carry out his duties.
- As every episode in Axis Powers Hetalia is only five minutes long, that one is more of a diet skit. America gets worried about his weight after a casual comment by England. After he spends the skit asking different nations for diet advice, a note says that what America doesn't realise is that the reason for his rising weight isn't actually fat, it's muscle.
- ''Astérix and the Chieftain's Shield starts out with Vitalstatistix being put on a strict diet and sent to a health spa. We see the results near the end, where he's gone from 'round' to 'stick'. However, on his way home he samples food from the best inns, returning to his original girth.
- The Dursley portion of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire involves Dudley being put on a diet. Unfortunately, the Dursleys decided that to accomodate Dudley, everyone else needed to participate, including Harry (the last person who actually needed such a thing).
- Jelly Belly fits the bill for its first half, subverting the trope once Ned gets serious and realizes cutting out junk food isn't as torturous as he thinks it is.
- One Played for Drama series of episodes, where Dan is put on a diet following his heart attack. It eventually leads to the largest fight Dan and Roseanne ever had on the show.
- In season two it's played for humor as usual, with Roseanne insisting they both go on a diet after she has trouble fitting into her pants. Dan seems to do fairly well, but Roseanne ends up nearly cracking after watching three food commercials.
- A major plot arc in Frasier, as Daphne started gaining weight after she got together with Niles. She was put on a regimen and eventually sent to some sort of fat camp. This storyline was a clever trick used by the writers to mask the fact that Jane Leeves was actually pregnant.
- In one episode of The Partridge Family Danny is teased for being fat, goes on a diet, and loses like 10 pounds, all without being noticibly slimmer. According to Danny Bonaduce's biography, it was not a pleasant episode to film.
- In an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Marie decides that everyone needs to eat healthier. Unfortunately, it was the Thanksgiving Special...
- Gilligan's Island had an episode where the Skipper revealed that he'd probably rejoin the Navy if he ever got back to civilization, then found out he was overweight and went on a diet.
- On M*A*S*H:
- In the episode with the M*A*S*H Olympics, Hawkeye and BJ help a soldier who's in danger of being kicked out of the Army for being 20 pounds overweight. At the end of the episode, the soldier thanks them as he made his weight - by 3 ounces.
- In a humorous inversion in the same episode, Klinger begins eating everything in sight after he finds out he can be discharged if he's overweight.
- Glee had an episode where Sue made Mercedes go on a diet in order to remain on The Cheerios. Sadly, this so-called "diet" resulted in Mercedes obsessing over her weight and starving herself, prompting Quinn to intervene.
- Played With on Babylon 5: Garibaldi is ordered by Dr. Franklin to go on a restricted diet (or rather... a food plan) because of various problems his body is suffering due to the after effects of being shot In the Back by The Mole in an earlier season. Meanwhile, Captain Sheridan is ordered to eat what he considers "Rabbit Food" because he has gained ten pounds since his previous exam. Commander Ivanova is ordered to eat more because she is suffering nutrition deficiencies because she doesn't eat enough healthy food; in addition, this is messing with her recovery from her broken foot (from the previous episode).
- An episode of That 70s Show had Red, after his heart attack, trying to sneak around his diet. After he gets busted, he says "This isn't food! This is what food eats!".
- In the 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Moby Dick", Dick goes on a diet after he starts overeating to deal with the stress of his break-up from Mary. Later we find out Mary is also stress eating.
- In an early episode of Family Matters, Carl went on a strict diet to look good for his high school reunion. His family pulled out all the stops to keep him from cheating, to the point where he snuck baby food out of desperation.
- Played for drama in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Philip was put on a diet and bribed Will into sneaking him junk food, only to end up having a heart attack.
- I Love Lucy had Lucy go on a diet to be able to play Sally Sweet in one of Ricky's show numbers.
- The Munsters had an episode titled "Lo-Cal Munster" where the family is put on the diet. The title suggests "low-calorie Muenster cheese."
- The Ronnie Barker one-shot "One Man's Meat".
- An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has Cody trying to help the hotel's chef lose weight. He manages to do it by telling him not to think of it as a diet, but a lifestyle choice.
- There is one episode of Poirot called Evil Under the Sun, in which Hercule Poirot has to go on a diet at the Sandy Cove Hotel on Miss Lemon's orders after an incident at an Argentinian restaurant has sent him to a hospital where he is declared "medically obese". It turns out at the end that the incident is not obesity or his health problems but food poisoning—nine cases of it in fact (Poirot's was one of them), so the restaurant had to be shut down until it can work out the food poisoning bit.
- Garfield has numerous strips where Garfield is put on a diet by Jon, and sometimes by Liz. In the earlier years of the strip, 'Diet Week' was a regular theme, explained by Jim Davis's claim that when he goes on a diet, so does Garfield.
- Happened a few times in relation to light heavyweights, where there is a weight limit.
- In a 2000 episode of Sunday Night Heat, Christian wanted to challenge for the WWF Light Heavyweight title, but was a pound overweight. He spends most of the episode exercising to lose the one pound, but is so exhausted that he loses the match.
- During the build-up to WrestleMania 19 in 2003, Matt Hardy was feuding with WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Rey Misterio. Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon told Matt that if he could get down to the 220 pound weight limit (Matt weighed 227 at the time), she would make their match at WrestleMania a Cruiserweight title match. Matt then wrestled matches wearing a Sauna Suit under his ring outfit.
- As part of her Hollywood Pudgy storyline, Molly Holly was shown working out in at least one backstage segment in 2002 in an effort to lose weight.
- Tummi Gummi got put on a diet after sneaking a midnight snack in the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode "The Oracle".
- At least one episode of The Flintstones had Fred being shamed into dieting.
- The Goofy short "Tomorrow We Diet" features the titular Goofy attempting one by the narrator.
- Goof Troop had an episode while Peg dares Pete to go a day without eating; naturally, it eats him up inside.
- One episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had Hampton try to go on a diet, only to be constantly tempted by a chocolate cake.
- Doug had two:
- The Nickelodeon version had "Doug Tips the Scales", involving the title character.
- The Disney version had "Doug's Chubby Buddy", which was a Very Special Episode involving Patti getting anorexia.
- The Simpsons had several of these for Homer. One actually has him become quite muscular, believe it or not.
- Chris Griffin had one of these in Family Guy, but that plot took a back seat to Peter getting multiple plastic surgeries.
- The Smurfs episode "Gormandizing Greedy" is about putting Greedy on a diet after the Smurfs find out he has a weight problem.
- Hey Arnold! had an episode where Harold wants to go on a diet after a few of the characters make fun of him for being fat. He goes on a special cruise ship for kids to lose weight, only to come back even bigger than he was before.
- Bad Dog had an episode where Vern goes on a diet.
- Rocko's Modern Life had the episode "Frog's Best Friend", where Ed Bighead is put on a diet, while Bev gives her newly adopted stray dog Earl better treatment than him.
- Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats had the episode "Lard Times" where Heathcliff puts himself on a diet. Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo force him into a grueling exercise program in an effort to make him so tired that they can take over his neighborhood.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show had an episode where Mario and his friends helped an out of shape Greek hero lose weight to fight Koopa.
- Monterey Jack went on a diet on an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, the twist being that he did so voluntarily as he was eager to get in shape, while the other Rangers tagged alongside him for support. It was the other Rangers who had the most trouble keeping with the program.
- Oggy and the Cockroaches has had two episodes: "Oggy's Diet" and "Dee Dee's Diet". In Oggy's episode, it was so he could catch the cockroaches easier, for Dee Dee, it was so he could avoid being caught. Dee Dee actually managed to shed the pounds...only to gain them back in the end.