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Meat-O-Vision

"I suspect it would be like most cartoons. You know, we'd start to go nuts after a while and I would look at Homestar and he would look like a big steak. And then Homestar would look at me and I'd look like, you know, some kinda brownie sundae. So we'd chase each other around the island, trying to eat each other. And at some point, my foot would look like a sandwich, and I would put salt on it and try to eat it, and it's like 'Oh, it's my foot!'"
Strong Bad (describing what would happen if he was on a desert island with Homestar), Homestar Runner

A character has been suffering from hunger for days or weeks, and begins to hallucinate. Is that a delicious steak dinner, a giant hot dog, or a large roast fowl sitting right next to him? No, it's one of their friends, who is now staring back at him oddly, wondering "Why are you looking at me like that?"

This most often occurs with shipwreck survivors or castaways (especially if stranded on a "Far Side" Island), but it can occur in less dire situations too, such as fasting or dieting.

Note that the particular hallucinations are always some manner of Food Porn; never has a castaway visualized their shipmates as, say, ground Tofu paste or Brussels sprouts.

If said character goes through with it, it transitions to No Party Like a Donner Party. Not to be confused with Meat Vision. Compare Vein-O-Vision and Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere. See also Delicious Distraction and Obsessed with Food. Horror Hunger can have vampires, werewolves and other monsters looking at humans like this should they go without for too long.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A currently airing Planters commercial is essentially nothing but meat-o-vision; a guy sees his shipmate as a giant sea-salted peanut — except that the shipmate gets drawn as Mr. Peanut, not an actual peanut.
  • An Oh Henry ad showed a hungry university student seeing his English Literature professor as a giant Oh Henry bar... and chasing said professor down the hall.
  • The commercial for Zombies Ate My Neighbors features a zombie whose POV is this (the cheerleader running from the zombie is a giant roast chicken, a dog is a hot dog, and so on.).

    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood uses this during the survival part of the Elrics' Training from Hell.
  • In one episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Kawasaki accidentally feeds Kirby a magical spice capable of making any dish look palatable. Cue Kirby seeing everything and everyone as food.
  • Happens in One Piece. Most egregorious example: Luffy and Sanji chasing Chopper. Even if he wasn't part of their team yet, they at least seemed to notice it was an intelligent creature, and they didn't care.
  • In the manga version of Heat Guy J, Kyoko is dieting (read: starving herself), so that she can look good in a bikini at a pool party her crush has been invited to. She's working at her computer, and visions of ice cream and cakes come out from the keyboard.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Crab with the Golden Claws, when Tintin and Captain Haddock are lost in the middle of a desert, Captain Haddock sees Tintin as a mirage of a champagne bottle, and throttles him, trying to remove the "cork".
  • The heroes of Gorsky and Butch, a Salt and Pepper pair of policemen suffer this when in the desert, seeing each other as a bottle of mineral water and cola respectively.
  • Parodied in an issue of The Simpsons comic, all the main characters are dumped on an island made of trash by Mr Burns. Before long, Homer looks at Lenny and Carl and sees a hot dog and a hamburger with his friends' faces. Then it transpires that, searching for clean clothes on the island, they put on some fast food mascot costumes.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side
    • A comic has a cow and man starving in a life raft. The cow pictures the man as covered in grass and flowers.
    • Another strip references this trope: two haggard-looking men in a life raft, with one telling the other that he doesn't want to make the situation worse but he's really close to laughing maniacally and seeing his friend's nose as a German sausage.
  • Happens just about every time Garfield is dieting.

    Fanfiction 

    Films — Animation 
  • Madagascar: An interesting twist, in that the character in question (a lion) is looking this way at a zebra, which in the wild would have been among its prey, but they're from the zoo and don't seem to know that.
  • In James and the Giant Peach, a starving Centipede first sees the Grasshopper as cheese and a drink bottle, then the Earthworm as a hot dog, and finally a seagull as a roast chicken. He almost eats the last one.
  • In Return to Neverland, after the kraken has a taste of Captain Hook for the first time, it sees him as a big red codfish.
  • Winnie the Pooh of, well, Winnie the Pooh, begins hallucinating that his shadow, his friends, and everything around him are honey pots when he's starving.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Oddly enough, the first example of this trope was in live-action, in the 1925 Charlie Chaplin film The Gold Rush where a starving Big Jim starts to see Charlie as a giant chicken.
  • In the movie City Hunter, Jackie Chan hallucinates that a woman's bodily parts are food (the breasts are burgers, the legs are chicken legs). The woman is pulled away before he can even attempt to eat her.
  • Another live-action example in a Little Rascals short where Stymie and Spanky are living on the streets Stymie briefly imagines Petey the dog as a hotdog.
  • Strange Brew: When Bob and Doug forget to feed their dog Hosehead, the dog sees the duo as giant steaks.
  • Vampires Suck has Becca's face morph into a hamburger during a parody of the papercut scene from New Moon.

    Literature 
  • From The Paranoid's Pocket Guide to Mental Disorders You Can Just Feel Coming On's entry for Wendigo psychosis:
    You love your wife. Your beautiful wife. Your beautiful, succulent wife. Your beautiful succulent delicious wife. Your succulent delicious steak. You love your steak so much. Rare.
    Hang on a second. Were you just imagining your wife as a steak? You should know better then that. You should never imagine your steak as a steak. Steak. Eat steak.
  • Comes up in Dinoverse. Pragmatic Janine, after Mike is put into the body of a Tyrannosaurus, sets up a first priority for the group.
    "The way I see it, we need to get him fed so he doesn't go native and start picturing us wrapped in hot dog buns."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Married... with Children: The episode "At The Zoo" has Al seeing Buck as a roast turkey after the dog eats his dinner.
  • Father Ted
    • Played with in an episode: for Lent, Ted tries to give up cigarettes, and makes Jack give up alcohol and Dougal give up rollerblading. About halfway through, Ted sees Jack as a giant cigarette, Jack sees Dougal as a giant pint of Guinness, and Dougal sees Ted as a giant rollerblade.
    • Weirdly subverted in another episode, "The Mainland": when Ted and Dougal are lost in the caves, and Dougal declares "Ted! I'm so hungry I'm beginning to hallucinate". Ted then steps into the shot having turned not into food but Abraham Lincoln.
  • Referenced in an episode of Friends. Joey and Chandler have been waiting a long time to be served at a restaurant, and Chandler quips, "If this were a cartoon, you'd look like a ham by now."
  • In Seinfeld, Newman pictures butter-covered and sunburnt Kramer as a roast turkey - after reading a book about cannibalism.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Mighty Boosh, when the main characters are trapped on a deserted island; before long Howard wants to eat Vince and the camera flashes to Vince made of food. Then the camera goes to the regular Vince, who says "Hey, Howard, why don't we eat this guy? He's made of eggs and sausages."
  • The Colbert Report
    • Stephen Colbert, while reporting on a food shortage, becomes increasingly hungry and starts eyeing up his stage manager Bobby. Soon, Bobby becomes a giant chicken rotisserie. An interesting example in that Stephen is already established as an occasional cannibal — and then we come back from the final commercial break to find him licking barbecue sauce off his fingers. Bobby, it turns out, has tendered his resignation, and in a later episode Stephen eats Bobby's ghost.
    • When the New York Times reported the number of weeks' pay that a worker would receive for losing a limb, Stephen chopped up the article with a paper cutter... then started seeing his fingers as giant dollar signs. In the end he decided not to do it, because he needed his hands to cut off the other things.
  • The NewsRadio Titanic parody ended with Bill and Matthew on a liferaft in the middle of the Atlantic sizing each other up as a hamburger and a soft drink.
  • In The X-Files, a brain-eating mutant starts seeing other people's heads this way. Also inverted when he hallucinates that the hamburger patties he's cooking look like little brains.
  • In Glee, Mercedes starts to see her fellow students as food just before she passes out when she is on Sue Sylvester's starvation diet. Also, Quinn asks her if she saw everyone as food before passing out, explaining that the same thing had happened to her.
  • In My Nameis Earl When Randy went a day without food he started describing Earl's body as different foods.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank starts to hallucinate with hunger and see Mac as a rum-soaked ham after they find themselves adrift at sea. About 30 seconds after they find themselves adrift at sea.
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will discovers Ashley's singing talents, and briefly sees her as a giant singing dollar sign.
  • Frasier: Referenced in a Thanksgiving episode: "Is baby Alice dressed as a turkey, or am I just hungry?"

    Music Videos 
  • In the music video for "Learn to Fly" by Foo Fighters, a fat woman on an aeroplane looks at another passenger and his head turns into a hamburger.

    New Media 
  • The Onion
    • Parodied in an article. Which is a poor case of research failure, as most sports fans know (because it's just so damn funny) that Prince Fielder is a vegetarian. Big home run hitter. Vegetarian. Nope, it still doesn't compute.
    • Also in another one.
  • The RiffTrax description of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: "Frodo and Sam continue onwards towards Mt. Doom, despite Frodo increasingly appearing to Sam as a walking roast turkey."

    Video Games 
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. Extreme Omnivore Kirby and the rest of his Five-Man Band are traveling in the desert when Kirby starts hallucinating his buddies as food. Good thing Adelaine can paint things to life!
  • In the Team Fortress 2 comic "A Cold Day in Hell" Soldier is suffering from hypothermia-induced hallucinations in Siberia and envisions the wildlife as a Thanksgiving dinner and his hands as halves of a grilled cheese sandwich. He then sees Scout in a hot dog costume, which Pyro found for him in the long-forgotten remains of Amelia Earhart's plane.

    Web Animation 
  • Referenced on Homestar Runner in the Strong Bad E-Mail island, where Strong Bad remarks on what it would be like if he and Homestar were to be stranded on a desert island, resulting in the above quote.
  • Stephen Merchant from The Ricky Gervais Show tells a story about how, after buying a PS2, he realizes too late that he missed out on a deal that would have saved him $20, and has this same reaction afterwards (though his his case, he's seeing money instead of food).
  • In Meet Buck short a hunter — a homage to Team Fortress 2 Soldier — sees his daughter's boyfriend — an anthropomorphic deer — as a veal steak. An insolent cackling steak. He spends most of the short trying to shoot him.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick
    • Used as a mind flayer sees the heads of each of the party members as different kinds of food, depending on their intelligence level and personality (for example, Elan is a can of Diet Coke, while Vaarsavius and Roy are a hamburger and a roast turkey, respectively).
    • Also used for a non-food product: injured members of the party see Durkon, the healer, as a box of Band-Aids.
    • In another comic, Belkar is ticked off that he's the only member of the team not to gain a level and starts killing rats in order to make up the difference. Elan points out that he needs to kill something closer to his level... at which point Belkar sees his head as the letters "XP"...
  • One strip of Cat and Girl might be considered a subversion. As much as a trope like this is subvertable.
  • Cyanide and Happiness played it straight.
    • Used again in this strip.
  • Brawl in the Family: "He's a threat to Popstar, to my succulent, golden-brown skin..."
  • George Washington suffers from this in the 26th century in Mountain Time.

    Web Original 
  • On World Cup of 2014 in Brazil an Uruguayan football star Luis Suárez bit Italian player Georgio Chiellini. The incident wasn't his first biting, but it attracted worldwide attention. A lot of photoshopped images and caricatures appeared online, depicting Suarez as a dog, a vampire or a cannibal. Seeing the other team as food was there too.

    Western Animation 
  • An early episode of Garfield and Friends features Garfield playing with a cardboard box in various scenarios. When he imagines the box to be a lifeboat adrift on the ocean, he imagines Odie as a club sandwich. He briefly imagines onion rings, too, but he changes his mind.
  • Plenty of Looney Tunes shorts:
    • The Bugs Bunny short Wackiki Wabbit. The two men, one fat and and short and the other tall and thin, imagine one another as a hamburger and hot dog, respectively.
    • Along Came Daffy and Holiday for Drumsticks (Daffy Duck)
    • Many of the Road Runner/Coyote, Wolf/Sheepdog and Sylvester/Tweety shorts.
    • Henery Hawk often sees Foghorn Leghorn this way.
  • The Tex Avery MGM cartoon What's Buzzin', Buzzard?, about two starving vultures who try to eat each other.
  • The Tom and Jerry short His Mouse Friday.
  • The Woody Woodpecker shorts Pantry Panic and it's remake Who's Cookin' Who?.
  • Parodied by Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Dinner Is Swerved", in which Bloo, lost with Mac in the seemingly endless hallways of Foster's, pursues a running chicken drumstick in a fit of delirious hunger. Bloo seems to actually recognize the trope, as he refers to the chicken as "Mac"... except it really is a chicken-drumstick-shaped imaginary friend (Kids stuck in diet camps can get rather single-minded, it seems).
  • Toot, the show's Extreme Omnivore, has these sometimes in Drawn Together, like in "Wooldoor Sockbat's Giggle-Wiggle Funny Tickle Non-Traditional Progressive Multicultural Roundtable!" (the episode with the Terminator).
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Quagmire gets a case of this that makes everything look like an attractive woman — except Meg.
  • Teen Titans had one episode where Cyborg was infected with a computer virus and hallucinated that everything he looked at was food. This led to him eating everything from a stop sign to the cash right out of an ATM (and nearly the ATM itself). It stopped being funny when he mistook the tip of a transmission tower for a giant cherry, threatening to spread the virus to the entire city.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, after fleeing from the annual "We Hate the KND Barbecue" and subsequently being stranded in a sea of asparagus, Numbuh Four starts seeing Numbuh Three's Rainbow Monkey as a cheeseburger. Before you suggest "eat the goddamned asparagus", if any of them actually liked the prospect of eating the stuff we'd still be having this dilemma due to the sheer quantity of it all. And let's not forget that Wally STILL wants to go after the "cheeseburger" when the team comes under attack from a GREAT WHITE ASPARAGUS.
  • Not necessarily because of desperation, but in My Life as a Teenage Robot, when Jenny gets new eyes and flips through the settings, one of them is "Sausage Vision".
  • In an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show in which they are trapped in a log cabin buried beneath the snow they imagine each other as various food items, and in another one where Ren lives in a cave he imagines bats as a pair of cow's udders which he starts sucking on before one of them smacks him away.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi "Tsunami Yumi", while lost at sea Ami imagines Yumi as an enormous sushi roll, because they're Japanese of course.
  • The Fairly OddParents did an interesting spoof. When Timmy's parents are given super-powers, Timmy's Dad gains "meat vision" (to complement his wife's heat vision). Basically, he can now make meat products appear at will just by looking at some empty space and squinting. Instant hot dog! (When they were forced to give up their powers, Timmy's Dad said this power is what he would miss the most.)
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants had a variation in "Fear of a Krabby Patty" where SpongeBob develops a fear of Krabby Patties, and sees Mr. Krabs and the customers as them.
    • In "Its A Sponge Bob Christmas", Patchy the Pirate and Potty are stranded and hungry, and Patchy sees Potty as a plate of buffalo wings. Potty, in turn, sees Patchy as a cake of bird seed and starts pecking at his head.
  • In one episode of CatDog, Dog suffers this after going on a diet.
  • The Simpsons
    • Bart has been sent to his room without any dinner, and eventually feels so hungry he begins to visualize Santa's Little Helper's head as a pizza box, with his tongue as a slice.
    • "Marge vs. the Monorail" has a variation; Homer is trapped on the out-of-control monorail train and needs to find an anchor. He looks to Bart, and visualizes him as a large ship's anchor. Bart, for understandable reasons, urges him to think harder.
    • In the Treehouse of Horror segment "Married to the Blob", the blob Homer sees Dr. Phil McGraw as a box of fudge.
    Dr. Phil: You're thinking about eating me right now, aren't you? (is now fudge) Aren't you?
    Homer: Of course not, talking fudge.
    • On another occasion, Homer fantasizes that Mr. Burns is a giant ice cream cone and starts licking him.
  • In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, the neighborhood is flooded, and after having gone without food for a while, Rolf imagines Johnny's head as a turkey. Even though there was a cow, goat, pig, and several chickens on board the raft with them.
    Rolf: If we do not find dry land soon, I will be forced to feast upon your succulent noggin!
    Johnny: O-kay...
  • In a camping episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko, Heffer and Filburt imagined each other as food complete with the background audio: (Ding! Order Up!)
  • In an episode of Oggy and the Cockroaches, one of the roaches gets a snootful of mushroom spores and hallucinates that Jack is a giant roast chicken. And then tries to eat his leg.
  • Owen starts hallucinating that his teammates (and Chris) are food after his jaw is wired shut in Total Drama Action.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy's episode "Which Came First?", when Billy and Mandy's class is stranded in the desert, Pud'n freaks out, saying that they'll have to eat each other to survive. Sperg looks at Billy and Irwin, seeing their heads as a drink and a burger, respectively.
    Billy: What are you lookin' at, Sperg?
    Irwin: Yeah, what are you lookin' at?
    (a pickle falls out of Irwin's mouth)
    Billy: You dropped a pickle.
  • In an episode of Kick Buttowski, the title character has to prove that he can refrain from doing stunts for 24 hours, or he'll be shipped off to a military academy. At one point, he imagines Gunther as a skateboard, and even tries to ride him.
  • One episode of The Proud Family features a starving Oscar and Felix imagining each other to be burgers and hot dogs. They also attempt to eat a bowling ball that they believe to be a cherry.
  • The smurf-colored glasses that Handy created in the eponymous Smurfs episode, which enabled Smurfs to see anyone as handsome and harmless, allows Bigmouth to see Gargamel and Azrael as a pair of walking delectables, which caused Bigmouth to chase Gargamel and Azrael into the forest while the Smurfs make their escape.
  • In Bob's Burgers, Bob becomes obsessed with winning an arcade game where the player battles food items. While high on pain killers, he hallucinates that two boys in the arcade are enemies from the game and chases after them shouting "Chicken leg!"
  • Happens in an episode of Bugged. Trapped in the desert, Murphy sees Puck (the eponymous bug) as a bottle of water and attempts to drink him. Puck bites his tongue.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Boss Mabel", the money-hungry Grunkle Stan views the tourists visiting the Mystery Shack as giant walking wallets. Then one of them gets carsick and vomits change.
  • In one episode of The Flintstones where Fred was on a diet, it was driving him so nuts, he couldn't sleep. He told Barney, "I tried counting sheep, but they kept turning into lamb chops!"
  • Futurama: In "Obsoletely Fabulous", Bender is stranded on a desert island without any alcohol. Seeing a gaggle of ducks with a six pack ring stuck round their neck. He hallucinates that they are a six pack of beer and attempts to drink them.
  • Done frequently on Zig And Sharko. Zig, the hungry hyena, sees Marina The Mermaid as a fish nugget, a tailfin with just a bone, or accompanied with half of a lemon.
  • An episode of Mike, Lu & Og, Mike starts to snap from lack of hot dogs and sees everyone and everything around her as hot dogs.
  • Beavis And Butthead: In Bedpans and Broomsticks, an overweight man named Billy Bob, who is wearing a cowboy hat and smoking a cigar, who is on a treadmill while being hooked up to an EKG and is being told by a doctor how he has to eat healthy, suddenly hallucinates the doctor's face turning into a plate with two eggs as "eyes", two slices of bacon as "lips", and hash browns under the bacon, that says, "Eat me! Please eat me, Billy Bob! Have a big moist and delicious slab of Canadian Bacon! With butter and maple syrup on top! And powdered sugar, too!"
  • When McGee and Buttsquat are lost in the wilderness and starving in Camp Lakebottom they start to hallucinate all kind of things of food; including a pile of leaves as a giant plate of nachos and a tree stump as a giant sundae.

Masochist's MealFood TropesMeat Versus Veggies
Maybe Magic, Maybe MundaneExample as a ThesisMeta Twist
The Last StrawImageSource/Newspaper ComicsMeet Your Early Installment Weirdness
Marilyn ManeuverOlder than TelevisionMeet Cute

alternative title(s): Hunger Hallucination; Meat-O-Vision
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