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Inappropriate Hunger
"Everybody, gather 'round. Let's pray. Dear Lord, see us safely through our time of trial in this mall. And please Lord... let the food court be okay."
—Coach, Left 4 Dead 2, while inside a mall filled with zombies

The characters are in a disgusting situation. Maybe they're looking at dead bodies, maybe it's alien goo. Everyone will be disgusted... except the one guy who suddenly wants a burger.

A surprisingly common Real Life trope. Who hasn't watched a movie about cannibals and felt a sudden urge to get some McDonald's? (A particularly disturbing example is the oft-cited fact that burning human flesh smells like cooking pork.)

Compare Obsessed with Food and The Snack Is More Interesting. Contrast Lost My Appetite, Vomiting Cop. See also Autopsy Snack Time.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • There's a commercial for a mobile phone carrier where 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 
  • YuYu Hakusho: Koema is often scolded for chowing down whilst Yusuke fights for his life.
  • In the first season of Slayers, Dilgear's eulogy for a fallen fishman is marred by the rest of his men eating the body. When he finishes the eulogy he gets upset because they didn't leave any for him.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, just before the Final Battle Miaka and Tamahome decide they might not get a chance to do it later, so they might as well have sex (completely disregarding the rules Miaka is held to). Before they get too far into the act, however, Miaka's stomach growls and totally kills the mood, so they stop.
  • The first time InuYasha eats ramen, it's in the middle of an old battlefield. Kagome questions how he can eat in such a place.
  • In Toriko, Midora's undying literal and figurative hunger only stopped after Frohze fed him with her cooking and love. Them she died saving him from the mortal injuries he sustained while trying to help her. As he kneels at her grave, Midora is disgusted with himself when he realizes he's starving again. He punches his own stomach telling it to shut up, but it won't stop growling. For the past four hundred years, he's been futilely trying to eat away his pain.

    Film 
  • Deliberately inverted and averted in Tucker The Man And His Dream. The car designer makes a point of serving ultra-rare red meat at a conference during which he shows grisly photos of accident victims. Gradually, the men at the table stop eating and start looking sick.
  • In Zombieland, looking at a zombie chowing down on a corpse makes Columbus sick and sad. But it makes Tallahassee hungry.
  • In Thor, after Thor has been banished and Loki has taken the throne, the Warriors Three's discussion on what to do starts with Fandral calling Volstagg out for chowing down. Volstagg shouts back that Fandral should not "mistake my appetite for apathy."
  • In Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) the not-really-mute character played by Vinnie Jones first appears when he's contacted by phone. He is shown in a morgue, his work place, and when notified that he's been called, he leaves his sandwich on a dead man.
  • In Masters of the Universe, the Big Eater Man-at-Arms mentions that he's feeling a little hungry while ducking behind cover before a firefight.

    Literature 
  • One Animorphs book involves a horrific visit to a slaughterhouse for the main characters. Once they save the day they end up in the mall food court...and all decide to order burgers.
  • As in the TV series (below), the main character of the Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay is rarely ever put off his food, due to his hobby of slicing up murderers and his job analyzing blood spatters. His lack of most normal emotions also helps. He usually mopes about any missed meal, noting that his high metabolism requires regular fueling.
  • During Galaxy of Fear some of the Children slog out of the swamp to grab at Zak. His companion shoots one, and the other talks them out of shooting him too, but he keeps looking at his dead comrade and once licks his lips. It looks like a nervous gesture. Actually, the Children are cannibals.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sam Tarly was attending the cremation of one of his brothers in the Night's Watch when he realized to his horror that the burning body smelled delicious.
  • Turns up in Broken Homes as one of Peter's anecdotes. One of the horrors policemen have to face in discovering a burn victim in an otherwise empty house is the smell, and how your mouth starts to water because it smells like someone is cooking a nice roast and then your brain kicks in with just exactly what it is that has made you feel hungry.

     Live Action TV 
  • Fringe: Walter Bishop is well known for this, to the point of it being a Running Gag. Somewhat justified, in that he'd been in a mental institution with terrible food for 17 years straight.
  • Psych: An ad for this show shows Shawn snacking on a donut that he took from the corpse at the crime scene he's investigating. It ends with him licking something red off his finger and nonchalantly saying "That wasn't a jelly donut."
    • In one episode, Gus goes really far beyond the line of common decency when he starts talking about how he could use some waffles with strawberries and syrup while at a crime scene of a near-mythical serial killer. Of course, he's doing it to help keep Shawn from freaking out, but even Shawn says that it's getting really weird.
  • Bones: Temperance Brennan is so used to dealing with gruesome dead bodies that her appetite isn't put off by it. Of course, Agent Booth does not have the same (lack of) reaction.
  • During an episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor feels he wants a hotdog. While running from Cybermen.
  • In the X-Files episode "Bad Blood", Scully's autopsy of a victim reveals his last meal was pizza. Scully thinks that sounds pretty good.
  • One episode of House had him ordering his team to get a stool sample (with unnecessarily graphic detail), then muttering "That reminds me, I want a bagel..."
  • Eureka: While watching an autopsy on a mystery body found burned and fused into a metal door, Allison comments that she's "craving rib meat...beef jerky". Even though her weird cravings might be justified by her pregnancy, it's still enough to make Jack want to throw up.
  • One episode of Dexter has Dexter explaining his forensic analysis of a bloody crime scene, with details on exactly how the victims were killed, then gleefully announcing that he's going to lunch.
    Uniform on scene: What now?
    Dexter: Now I eat!
  • On Misfits, after a mild breakdown during the season finale, Simon relaxes in a deserted back room, eating pizza while gazing at the frozen corpse of Sally the probation worker.
  • In an early episode of Babylon 5, Lieutenant Commander Ivanova finds Micheal Garibaldi at a restaurant "eating like a man starved" after he had found a missing passenger transport that had been destroyed by Raiders. He explains that seeing death makes him hungry, he figures that it is his way of reminding himiself that he is still alive.
  • Provenza of The Closer, is usually seen snacking even in the presence of rotting corpses.
  • Happens once on House of Anubis-
    Amber: Alfie, how could you possibly be eating at a time like this?
    Alfie: I always eat when I'm scared. Or nervous. Or...happy, come to think of it.
    Amber: Or any day with a 'y' in it...
  • In Game of Thrones, a brutal torturer called the Tickler snacks on a peach while torturing his victims. Played for Black Comedy when the Hound kills several Frey soldiers, then helps himself to their meal.
  • The Invisible Man: In order to save themselves from dying horrifically of a bacterial infection, The Official, Claire, and Darien have to give themselves food poisoning. This results in the three of them in various bathrooms vomiting out their guts while Hobbes and Monroe stand outside and casually discuss Alex's recent flight. The two them decide to go eat a meal.
  • In Person of Interest, a young Sameen Shaw once reacted to learning that her father had just died in the car accident they were both in by asking the rescue workers for a sandwich. Some years later, her habit of snacking while discussing the prognosis of terminal patients with their families destroyed her medical career. This behavior of hers seems to be based in her limited capacity for emotion and logic: The fact that someone is dead/dying means that there's nothing more that can be done there. But the fact that she's hungry can still be remedied. So she eats something.

    Meta 

     Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 2: During the Omega Quarantine Zone mission, you come across a pile of diseased bodies being burned in the street. If you brought Grunt along, he'll comment "Anyone else hungry?" Depending on who you have in your party, he'll be called out on this.
    • Becomes a Running Gag for him, lampshaded by Zaeed at least once.
      Zaeed: "Is there any smell that doesn't make you hungry?"
      Grunt: "I don't know yet."
    • It's well-established that krogan will eat just about anything (the better to survive when hungry on a battlefield)... except, apparently, ramen noodles.
      Krogan: "Looks like worms. Dead worms. This is a human thing?"
  • Coach from Left 4 Dead 2 is this trope.
    "Man, if I find a Burger Turk Tank in this place, Im'a be a one-man cheeseburger apocalypse!"
    "I could roll up a whole pizza right now and eat it sub style!"
    "Elephant ears... corn dogs... this is bringing back some memories!"
    "Ah, cotton candy. The wise pharaoh of food, sittin' atop the food pyramid, passing judgment on all the lesser foods."
  • In one of the early missions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Big Smoke quietly eats his and his friends' takeout meals in the backseat while the rest are caught in a drive-by shootout with a Balla gangcar. This is actually a hint that Smoke is now working for the Ballas.
    "If you can eat your food, while everybody's losing theirs and blaming you, you straight, homie!"
  • Adopting one of the Little Sisters in BioShock 2 usually results in some interesting battle commentary; for example, if you use the Incinerate Plasmid to set an enemy on fire, the Little Sister will start asking for marshmallows.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, when the party is trying to stop the Phantom Train from taking them to The Other Side, Sabin stops for a full course meal of ghost food.
    SABIN: Food! Food! Bring me everything ya got!
    CYAN: A... are you going to be okay if you eat THIS?
    SABIN: Worried? Can't wage war on an empty stomach!
    CYAN: Hmmm... Sir! I won't hear any more of this kind of talk!
    Gobble... snarf... snap...
    SABIN: Well! I've stuffed down all I can... Let's go!
  • Unaccountably Peckish is one of the menaces of Fallen London. Among other situations, it can potentially increase from visiting a butcher's shop full of disorganized meat and gory bits that came from... we don't really get to know what sort of creature, but probably something eldritch.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star the fantail pigeon Yuuya Takes The Tank Shell / Diving Saves the protagonist and is burned bad enough that he can't stand in the process. In the first game there was the possibility that another character would kill him and serve him to the protagonist as food, which is probably where this line comes from.
    "Yuuya, wait! Your tail! Your tail is burnt! It smells delicious!"
  • In Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior, chucking body parts in an incinerator will occasionally make the janitor think "Is is weird how that smell makes me hungry?"
  • Jagged Alliance has a few examples:
    • When your mercenaries come across a decaying corpse with ravens pecking at it, they'll comment on it. Most will react with revulsion or disgust, but the Axe Crazy Meltdown will say
    Meltdown: Would you look at that! Hey, when do we eat?
    • Making an enemy's head explode also results in a comment from the responsible mercenary. Many tend to be quite impressed, though Stogie's is a bit odd.
    Stogie: Reminds me of soup. I like soup.

    Web Comics 

    Web Video 
  • Emily Grasile of The Brain Scoop frequently talks about being hungry or what she wants for lunch while dissecting and preparing specimens in the lab, despite complaining of the horrific stench.

    Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • South Park: When the boys visit a farm and see all the baby cows in constricitive pens because they're destined to become veal, everyone is Squicked except Cartman, who says they all look delicious.
  • Archer: Pam, as the show's Big Eater, had a moment like this.
    Pam: (standing over two burning bodies) Is it weird that I'm kind of hungry now?
    Malory: It would be weirder if you weren't.
  • One of the Twelve Tiny Christmas Tales is described as "too scary" by the grandmother reading to her grandchildren. The children ask for it anyway, and it turns out to be a version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that ends with the true love and his lady killing and eating all the birds. This ending makes two of the children burst into tears, but the third licks his lips and declares, "I'm hungry!"
  • In a first season episode of Metalocalypse, the band gets hungry while watching a pack of wolves eat their evil therapist's arms.
  • After jamming a man in a coffin and dumping him into bubbling acid, The Joker has one thought on his mind:
    The Joker:(To his henchmen) Well, that was fun! Who's for Chinese?
  • An episode of The Simpsons has Homer and Bart, and later Lisa, watching a show called "When Surgeries Go Wrong". After the show is over, Homer says that watching the stomach surgery made him hungry.


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