Heartbreak and Ice Cream

Sweet, nut and caramel medicine, make the pain go away.

"Am enjoying a relationship with two men simultaneously. The first is called Ben, the other, Jerry. Number of current boyfriends: zero."

In fiction, a heartbroken character, usually a woman, will often be seen eating a large quantity of ice cream.

It may also be a sign that the character has "let herself go" if this behaviour continues for several days or even weeks. If so, it will often be accompanied by other behaviours such as wearing pyjamas during the day and refusing to leave the house.

This sort of behaviour also tends to happen with single females around Valentine's Day, even if they haven't experienced any recent rejections. Occasionally, ice cream is replaced with chocolate or some other sweet.

Now some of this is Truth in Television, while it also springs from a Double Standard about seeing women try to handle their sorrows other ways, since a lot of people still consider heavy drinking to be "unladylike".

A Sub-Trope of Comfort Food.

A Sister Trope to Drowning My Sorrows.

Examples from media:

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  • This GrubHub commercial. Well technically, it's a brownie and not ice cream but the general theme of consuming dessert to relieve heartbreak remains the same.
  • A Comcast/xfinity commercial from 2013 depicted a woman who was heartbroken over being "mistreated" by a satallite company she switched to, and calls an acquaintance from Comcast to tell her about it, all the while sitting in bed and eating ice cream.

  • David Cross talks about "Patty from accounting" on his album It's Not Funny, whose perfect night includes "lighting candles and taking a bath, curling up with a Grisham and a pint of Chunky Monkey....and softly crying myself to sleep."

     Fan Works 
  • The Penguins of Madagascar fic Princess shows Julien doing this when the other zoo-dwellers misunderstand and repeatedly offend him over his Transsexuality.
  • Advice From Pinkie Pie: Pinkie comforts Rarity with ice cream after her first time with her coltfriend doesn't go so well.
  • Earth and Sky: We only hear about it second hand, but apparently Apple Bloom's response to Pipsqueak breaking up with her is to wolf down five gallons of ice cream. There's then a bit of Reality Ensues here, as it's suggested that she was left very sick afterwards.
  • Extremely common in Glee fics, especially with Kurt as the heartbroken one.
  • In the Ask Princess Molestia blog the titular Memetic Molester uses tubs of ice cream to ride out her brief fits of depression/frustration. Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before one of those fits was caused by a heartbreak.
  • In the hysterically funny The Avengers fanfic House Arrest, Thor, Tony and Steve are all reduced to eating ice cream in the cellar, hiding from Loki, after the trickster messes with them one too many times and rejects Thor's attempts at brotherly affection.
  • In the WWE story Better Off Alone, Molly Holly gets dumped by her boyfriend, Christian. That night, she eats a pint of ice cream in half an hour. Trish Stratus then shows up to keep her company, and brings more ice cream.
  • In A Charmed Life after Light disappears L eats an entire carton of mint chocolate ice cream in one sitting.

  • Miss Congeniality: Sandra Bullock orders a pint in a bar, which turns out to be a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
  • Scary Movie 3 "parodied" this trope with two woman discussing their relationship woes by spooning chocolate ice cream out of a container that's about the size of a washing machine.
  • Bride Wars: After Anne Hathaway's character calls her friend to tell her that she just got engaged. Her friend hangs up, and is so distraught that takes three containers of ice cream out of the fridge and devours them all.
  • Sherman Klump in the remake of The Nutty Professor is seen eating ice-cream, but his trouble is not a break-up. It's over his massive weight.
  • In Angel Angel Down We Go (a.k.a. Cult of the Damned), an overweight and insecure heiress (played by Holly Near) wolfs down a table-full of eclairs when she is confronted by a sexy rock singer and her own sexual frustrations.
  • The Doomed Protagonist from Drag Me to Hell tearfully eats whole cartons of ice cream when near the Despair Event Horizon when she fails to find solutions to prevent her from being taken by the Lamia and dragged into Hell for all eternity.
  • In Seltzer and Friedberg's Twilight spoof Vampires Suck, Edward Sullen is shown after he's left Becca, watching TV and binging on a barrel-sized container of Ben & Jerry's "Feeling Sorry For Yourself Strawberry Swirl".
  • While Shelly Long's character in the Emancipated Child comedy Irreconcilable Differences goes through a period of adjustment after the failure of her marriage, her pantries are stocked top-to-bottom with nothing but cake frosting.
  • Helen Sharp (played by Goldie Hawn) in Death Becomes Her over-eats sweet stuff after seeing her fiance Ernest Menville marrying Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep).
  • In Bewitched, Isabel eats ice-cream with Cool Whip after she has a huge fight with Jack and quits the show.
  • In Legally Blonde, Elle confines herself to her room to eat chocolate and watch soap operas after Warner dumps her.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, Darcy implies that Jane has been doing this ever since Thor left her to return to return to Asgard.

  • Obliquely referenced in the Harry Potter books via the Dementors, who are The Heartless / a personification of depression. A good way to recover from their presence is to eat chocolate.

     Live Action TV 
  • Mike And Molly: Both title characters overeat on Valentine's Day as a result of having a fight with each other.
  • This practice is known on Friends:
    • When the girls act as "relationship tutors" for Chandler when he tries a serious relationship with Janice. They also add another piece of advice:
      Chandler: This ice cream tastes like crap by the way.
      Rachel: Yeah, well that's that low-cal, non-dairy, soy milk junk. We sort of... we save the real stuff for the truly terminal cases.
      Monica: You know, when you start getting screwed over all the time, you gotta switch to low-fat.
    • When Joey has a female roommate and becomes concerned that living with her is causing him to turn more and more effeminate. When he confronts her about this fact, she notices that he is upset and immediately offers to get "a pint of ice cream and two spoons."
    • Joey describes the different 'phases' of getting over break ups, 'Phase One' being sweatpants, food and watching TV.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Referenced after Angel breaks up with Buffy in "The Prom", Giles responds with "I understand that situations of this sort require ice cream of some kind".
    • Gender Inverted when Angel and Buffy have their unseen meeting after Buffy comes Back from the Dead for the second time. It's implied things didn't go well. Buffy's comfort food is chicken wings while Angel decides he wants ice cream.
  • In an episode of Happy Endings Penny, depressed and thinking she would end up a lonely spinster, is shown in her pajamas and eating ice cream-during a lavish roaring 20s party at her apartment. Jane takes it away from her and she falls onto the couch and pulls out another. Jane takes the "couch ice cream" and Penny immediately picks up a tub of "floor ice cream."
  • Has happened several times on How I Met Your Mother:
    • Robin dated a guy with a small son and had to break up with them. When she was explaining it to the kid, she realized she got "dumped" by a six year old. She devours ice-cream and tells Lily that he was a stupid-head anyway.
    • According to Ted, Marshall breaks out the Ben and Jerry's whenever he has a fight with his wife Lily.
    • Lily does this after Barney and Robin announce they're not a couple (therefore ruining Lily's plans for couple activities between the three of them and Marshall).
  • In Perfect Strangers, when Larry explained to Balky that this is how people in America deal with heartbreak after Balky was dumped by his first love interest (who was just using him).
  • Played with in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Déjà Q". Q, Brought Down to Normal and feeling hungry for the first time in his life, asks Data in Ten Forward what people typically eat.
    Data: I have observed that many food selections are influenced by the mood of the person ordering.
    Q: I'm in a dreadful mood. Get me something appropriate.
    Data: When Counselor Troi is in an unhappy mood, she often has something chocolate.
    Q: Chocolate...
    Data: For example, a hot fudge sundae. I cannot speak from personal experience, but I have seen it often has a profound psychological impact.
    (A waiter comes over)
    Q: I'll have ten chocolate sundaes.
    Data: I've never seen anyone eat ten chocolate sundaes...
    Q: I'm in a really bad mood, and since I've never eaten before, I should be very hungry.
  • In Lois and Clark we see that Lois keeps a quart of ice cream with the lid off and a spoon already in it for just such occasions.
    Clark. But tell me, honestly. You weren’t the slightest bit jealous of me and Toni Taylor?
    Lois. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Me, home alone, in a schlumpy robe, crying into a tub of Rocky Road. In your dreams, Kent. In. Your. Dreams.
  • In The Vicar of Dibley, this happens when Simon dumps Geraldine, complete with the daylight pyjama loafing. By the time Alice visits she has cleaned out the whole supermarket-style freezer unit of ice cream she just had installed, leaving only the tiny half-pint that Simon had picked before she told him to get out.
  • On Parker Lewis Cant Lose, Jerry has frequently said that the cure for a broken heart is frozen yogurt with Gummi bears.
  • Girls: When Hannah's boyfriend breaks up with her, she goes to her flat and hits the fridge, taking out a pack of ice-cream.

  • In Lily Allen's music video to "Smile", she's seen munching on chocolate. The song is about a woman who was cheated on. She gets better, and takes revenge on him. His suffering makes her smile.
  • Reba McEntire's "Strange":
    I lay there feeling sorry for myself on a bed of Kleenex / Stuffin' chocolates in my mouth, on the phone with my best friend cussin' my ex

     Newspaper Comics 
  • The newspaper comic strip Cathy thrived on this trope.

     Web Animation 
  • On one episode of Happy Tree Friends, Giggles is seen dejectedly scarfing down tons of ice cream after being stood up by The Mole, who had both gone on a date with Lumpy by accident — and subsequently horribly killed him, also by accident.


     Web Video 
  • Welcome To Sanditon: When Ed doesn't protest too much and accepts to escort Ms Griffiths to the 4th July festival (it was his pushy boss Mayor Parker's idea), Gigi is worried about Clara because Ed and Clara were hanging our a lot and headed towards a relationship. Gigi suggests they watch bad movies and eat ice-cream together. Clara being an ice-shop owner, they settle just on the bad girly movie night.
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Charlotte Lu brings cheesy movies and ice-cream to Lizzie who is a bit depressed because she thinks William stopped caring for her. They weren't dating, but he liked her, and now he hasn't called back after she left him a voice message.
  • When Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall did a Let's Play of Star Trek: Elite Force, his date with Telsia is abruptly cut short, and Ensign Munroe spends several minutes drunkenly staggering around Voyager, wailing to himself and trying to get Häagen-Dazs out of the replicators.

     Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode "Love and Rocket", the Planet Express ship does this (somehow) with Leela when the former's dumped by Bender. Then Leela's attempt to comfort her makes her decide to drive herself (and the crew, including Bender) into a Negative Space Wedgie.
  • Sierra from Total Drama World Tour does this when she realizes Cody hates her.
    • Scott also does this in All-Stars, but with dirt.
  • Muscle Man from Regular Show eats spoonfuls of protein supplement following being dumped by Starla in "Muscle Woman".
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy is shown consuming large amounts of ice cream after losing his collection of chewed gum.
  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Spongebob goes out and eats Goofy Goober Sundaes until 8:00AM because he didn't get an expected promotion. The ice cream is still an allegory for beer, by the way.
  • The Simpsons: "Now let's forget all our problems and eat a big bowl of strawberry ice cream."
  • An episode of Family Guy has Stewie go back in time to prevent Kurt Cobain from committing suicide by presenting him with Haagen-Dazs as an alternative. When Stewie returns to the present, he finds an album cover with a morbidly obese Kurt riding a Rascal scooter.
  • Non-romantic example in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Inspiration Manifestation". Rarity makes a puppet theater for Ponyville's Fall Foal and Filly Festival, but the harsh rejection she receives when her design proves unsuitable drives her to pig out on chocolates and vanilla-oat swirl ice cream, complete with "om nom nom" sounds.
  • In the Disney short Feast, Winston's owner pigs out on ice cream and cookies after his girlfriend breaks up with him.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Operation: Z.E.R.O. has Father binge on ice cream after being rejected by his father, Grandfather, doing nothing to stop his father's world conquest in the process. It's implicitly stated that part of it is due to the terrible childhood he had and how Grandfather reminds him of it, rendering him a complete lack of self-confidence. The other part is due to having a cruddy day in general.
    Father: I hate everyone.

     Real Life 
  • Ben & Jerry's must be aware of their part in this trope, as they have an ice cream flavor literally named "Chocolate Therapy". (For the curious, it's chocolate pudding ice cream with chocolate cookie chunks.) Ben & Jerry's is often used simply because it's the names of two guys, which sounds like the woman in question is actually dating the ice cream.
  • The restaurant Milestones offers a dessert called "Break Up Tub" which is, you guessed it, primarily composed of ice cream. It is also known as the "I don't even think about you" ice cream tub.
    An individual sized tub of cookie dough ice cream, chunks of double chocolate cookie and house-made caramel ribbon. For here or to go!