"And you're my obsession
I love you to the bones
And Ana wrecks your life
In a world where being very skinny is the ideal and being overweight
has Unfortunate Implications
, many people are self-conscious about their weight
These (usually female) characters are obsessed with dieting in order to reach the ideal; commenting on their figure is often a sensitive point
for them. However, not all characters with Weight Woe
are overweight; many are just Hollywood Pudgy
, and some are even told in-verse that they don't need to diet at all.
Sometimes this is a one-episode affair
, usually because someone brings their weight up
or they want to impress their Love Interest
; but just as often it is a character quirk. In the latter case, the character is usually a yo-yo dieter, or has too little will-power to keep it up so nothing about their figure changes
When Played for Laughs
, the dieter is a Big Eater
or has a huge Sweet Tooth
that constantly foils their dieting plans
; when Played for Drama
, the dieter is suffering from an eating disorder. The latter in particular may be used for a Very Special Episode
In real life, eating disorders of any kind are never
funny, and sufferers should seek immediate help. Media often dictates that one has to be thin in order to be attractive. However, eating disorders are often more complicated, involving many emotions. Frequently the sufferer feels like they have no control in their life, so obsessively controlling their eating habits and body shape becomes the solution. (The need for control may seep into other areas of a person's life
). Sometimes the control they seek is over their emotions, in which food can be used in many ways, like replacing their inner emptiness with an empty stomach or filling the void with food. In other cases the fat represents perceived badness, and they are purifying themselves by getting rid of it. This is dangerous and can become fatal if left untreated.
In fiction, however, Very Special Episodes
notwithstanding, Weight Woe
is usually Played for Laughs
, most likely because of its sensitive nature and prevalence in real life. The control aspect is often ignored, and the cause of Weight Woe
is almost always solely to do with a character's physical appearance, whether the issue is genuine or perceived.
On the other side of Weight Woe, there are those who are naturally very thin and can't put on weight. They are often accused of having eating disorders and discriminated against by others, usually out of jealousy. This often leads them to become just as insecure as those who want to lose
weight. However, this side of Weight Woe
is rarely, if ever, presented in fiction.
Sometimes being over- or underweight is caused by a gland issue or some other medical condition. Sometimes people falsely claim to have such a problem to avoid bullying or teasing, and quite often those who do
have something wrong are thought to be lying as well. In fiction, claiming that a medical condition caused a character to be overweight is almost always
just an excuse, akin to I Am Big Boned
A Sister Trope
of Muscle Angst
. Often tied into A Weighty Aesop
Compare Huge School Girl
, a girl who is much taller and more developed than her peers and is insecure about it. Contrast Fat and Proud Big Beautiful Women
/Big Beautiful Men
—the former of whom are comfortable with their size and the latter are portrayed as sexy despite or because
they are overweight. Also compare Real Women Have Curves
, where a higher body fat is portrayed as "normal". Also contrast Obsessed with Food
, a person who is definitely not trying to lose weight. Also also compare Height Angst
, where a character is self-conscious about their height instead of their width.
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- There was an ad for Weight Watchers (or some other diet system) that invoked/exploited this trope. A black & white shot of a pudgy woman staring at the camera, with moist eyes, as her Inner Monologue says "do you think I don't hear what you're saying behind my back?" etc.
- Cosmopolitan magazine ran an ad featuring a "plus-sized" model, who was a normal body-sized woman. Naturally many people called them out on this.
Anime and Manga
- Cathy defines this trope. (Ack!)
- Fred Andrews, father of the title character in Archie is perpetually dieting and cheating on his diet.
- A Running Gag with Wanda in Baby Blues. One story arc was solely about her trying to lose weight.
- Garfield oscillates between being Fat and Proud and being sensitive about his weight, with a dread of measuring himself (especially since he has a talking scale that keeps insulting him).
Jon: "Sensitive about our weight, are we?"
Garfield: "My weight, my business."
- In Justice League International Blue Beetle grappled with weight gain and a heart condition for a while.
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- During the Silver Age, Matter-Eater Lad once got hit by a ray gun which altered his alien metabolism. As a Bismollian he can consume any form of matter and his metabolism processes it rather quickly. However, the ray had slowed it down to that of a normal human, which caused his body to swell up after he devoured a ton of dirt to form an escape tunnel. He was stuck like this for a while until a doctor managed to undo the ray's effect.
- Conversely, Bouncing Boy once lost his power to inflate into a ball-like form and became so slim his teammates didn't recognize him. Rather then worrying about his looks, Bouncing Boy was sad that he couldn't be in the Legion anymore without a power. His powers were restored though, but he'd lose his powers again a few times afterwards, but during those times his weight wasn't affected at all.
- Lightning Lad in the comic tie-in to the Legion cartoon once had his powers swapped with Bouncing Boy due to an alien virus, causing himself to get fat in the process. The end of the issue implied Garth was going to be stuck like that longer than his teammates because the virus lasts longer on people with greater mass.
- During the Five Years Later era, Cera Kesh tried to join the young Legionnaires only to be mocked for her bad skin and weight by Live Wire, who called her a cow, and Inferno. Hollywood Pudgy comes into play because Cera wasn't even that chubby. When Cera became the new Emerald Empress, she briefly used the Emerald Eye to exact some revenge on Inferno by giving him zits and making him fat, so he would know what it's like to be "a cow." It should be noted that the two aforementioned Legionnaires were the only ones who had a problem with Cera's looks, and the rest of the team were very disappointed by their bullying.
- A certain running gag pertaining to the Superman Family during the Silver Age had most of the characters getting fat one way or another. This includes Superman, his younger self Superboy on four separate occasions (including most of Smallville save for Jonathan and Martha Kent on two of those occasions), Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Supergirl in her secret identity as Linda Lee.
- Peter Parker, Wolverine, and Jean Grey all let themselves go in the Bad Future world of Earth X. Peter as a result of retiring from superheroics and the police force, and Logan and Jean (in that world married) as a result of retirement and Awful Wedded Life. Logan even smugly stated he couldn't get fat because of his healing factor. Peter went back to being Spider-Man and started to lose weight near the end of the first Earth-X book though, though a few people snarked about him being bitten by a "radioactive spare tire" due to his badly fitting costume.
- In an issue of the second volume of Titans, Raven discovered she had six evil brothers with powers corresponding to the Seven Deadly Sins, and her evil side manifested as Pride. After taking down her brothers, she planned to transfer their powers to her teammates using Beast Boy as the transference catalyst (which would've killed him). Roy Harper was briefly turned into the conduit for Gluttony and became fat, though this was immediately reversed when a Batman Gambit Raven implemented stopped her evil side. This appeared to have been a Stealth Pun reference to Roy's thrill seeking womanizing tendencies, and his history as a recovered drug addict rather than any Big Eater tendencies. So this worked to tie in the stereotypical association of fat people with gluttony and the sin's actual nature as excessive over-consumption.
- The rarely seen "can't gain weight" variation shows up and now and then in Foxtrot. Despite being a Big Eater, Peter never gains any weight. Occasionally this becomes a source of annoyance for him, because he's perpetually scrawny and unable to gain any muscle. Compare his father Roger who eats as much as he does, but actually shows it. Roger has no real problem with his weight, but his wife Andy will sometimes force him to go on a diet for his own good.
- This is just one of the many insecurities that plagues the titular heroine of Empowered. She's not really overweight (apart from a naturally big butt, although she's the only one who considers this a problem) but because her super suit is skin tight to the point that she can't even wear underwear, she's very insecure about her looks. She admits to starving herself and exercising constantly.
- Agent X, an associate of Deadpool, was at one point kidnapped and infused with what was referred to as "the American gene," which gave him arthritis and made him morbidly obese.
- Inverted with the Blob following House of M. Upon waking up to discover his mutant power is gone, he immediately tries to commit suicide. The problem is he has so much excess skin from his weight that he can't find a nerve to cut.
- Retired Irish heroine Shamrock lamented in Girl Comics that she can barely fit into her costume. This is, however, a case of Hollywood Pudgy as she does not appear overweight, only the costume just appears to have gotten smaller, and other than that she's fine with being retired as a hairdresser.
- Played with during Adam Warren's run on Gen 13 with a Bad Future issue showing the fates of most of the team. Roxy struggled with her weight and binge eating frequently before finally dying as the rest of the team did (except Grunge). The issue turned out to just be a bad dream Grunge was having. Though in a follow-up issue, Roxy decides to gorge herself on a big fast food dinner after getting mad at Grunge, and for the rest of the issue was starving herself.
- Former C-List bad guy Catman had let himself go when he reappeared in Green Arrow. Then Gail Simone got her hands on him, and by the time he reappeared in Villains United as a member of the Secret Six, he was the complete personification of the Walking Shirtless Scene.
- The lighthearted What If? #34 showed an Earth where Tony Stark had an eating problem instead of a drinking problem. He once ordered an entire cow for dinner along with a diet Pibb. He eventually couldn't even use the rockets in his suit because of his weight.
- The Machinist in Stormwatch PHD has let himself go since he first battled Jackson King and is ordered to go on a diet as a requirement for being on the squad.
- Luther Hargreeves of The Umbrella Academy had gotten out-of-shape between the first and second volumes of the series from doing nothing but eating cookies and watching infomercials all day out of depression.
- Under The Flash, Barry Allen and Wally West have dealt with this a couple of times.
- Gorilla Grodd once turned Barry into a thousand-pound amnesiac by making his body absorb moisture in the air.
- Wally's suffered under this in two alternate reality stores. In a Bad Future seen in JLA, Wally had lost his connection to the Speed Force in an out-of-shape, sickly body. In Superman: Emperor Joker, a power mad Joker warped Wally into "The Flab: The Fastest Fat Man Alive," a compulsive eater who had gained super speed after he was struck by lightning while trying to steal candy from a vending machine.
- Autumn Rolfson, who would become Famine of Apocalypse's Horsemen in X-Factor, suffered from anorexia as a result of her ability to disintegrate living matter.
- During the Golden Age, Wonder Woman had Etta Candy, a Fat and Proud Plucky Girl for a best friend. When Diana had mentioned to Etta the benefits of losing weight, Etta had made a compromise with Diana. If she lost ten pounds and felt better about herself, she'd lose fifty more. By the story's end, Etta had lost her ten pounds but was unhappy, so she simply asked Diana for her candy back.
- Post-Crisis, however, Etta had suffered from anorexia for a while.
- Christian Walker began sporting blonde hair and a beer belly after he left the force for a time in Powers, as he was kind of depressed and felt he had nothing better to do than sit around and eat.
- In the Phantom Stranger one-shot released under Vertigo Visions, one of the condemned souls seen was a morbidly obese woman named Elba Benchley. It's implied that, before she died, Elba had been found chained in a basement when she was a little girl, alongside the partially eaten remains of her brother and sister.
- As a result of the Shadow King possessing her body, Karma of the New Mutants had become disgustingly obese because of his tendencies as a Villainous Glutton. For a small period of time Karma was understandably ashamed of what her body had become like, until she'd been stranded in a desert dimension and worked off the extra weight in order to survive.
- Pre-Crisis, Alfred Pennyworth of Batman fame was a little on the round side before he spent a vacation at a health spa and became as thin as the comic book fandom fully knows him as.
- The Smurfs: This was what led to the Smurfette's magic makeover in her debut. Jokey led the others in a series of pranks tricking her into believing she was overweight. After Papa finds out, he gives her the makeover to help restore her confidence.
- Just as its cartoon namesake has done a few stories about this trope, so has Simpsons Comics tackled it a few times. In one issue, the heftier townspeople of Springfield are ordered to lose a set number of pounds by Rainer Wolfcastle and the President of the United States. In another, Mr. Burns tries to cut costs by giving his workers highly addictive and delicious donuts instead of pay, until he realizes it's costing him millions and productivity has dropped because all his employees are obese.
- In another story, Nelson Muntz starts living with the Simpsons and spends a lot of his time making repairs around the house due to Homer's stupidity. As a result, he spends most of his time in school asleep. Without Nelson's bullying, the kids are able to use their lunch money to actually buy lunch, but because the cafeteria food is grossly unhealthy (they serve Cream of Lard), most of the student body becomes very overweight. Lisa's an exception because she brings a vegetarian lunch to school.
- In the Dial H For Hero revamp Dial H, main character Nelson Jent is a Formerly Fit example whose life started going down the drain after he lost his job and his girlfriend. His friend Darren is concerned over the fact that Nelson had a heart attack and he's not even past 30.
- Swordsman was one of the few characters from Heroes Reborn who was left behind on the Counter-Earth. When he was seen again in the Heroes Reborn: Remnants story, he essentially became his world's version of Deadpool, but got really fat in the process from binge-eating on junk food.
- Common Grounds #4 had a short story about a support group for superheroes struggling with their weight, with a Batman expy named Red Fox insisting they be called "density challenged" and suggesting they embrace their overweight status. It's pretty clear the guy is only suggesting this because of deep self loathing with his body image, and the other members leave because they just want to lose weight.
- In the eight issue to the comic tie-in of Marvel's The Superhero Squad Show, most of the Squaddies had tried to retrieve an Infinity Fractal before the Blob could get it for Doctor Doom. But the Fractal activated and somehow made the Blob slender while making the Squaddies fat. The story ended with the Squaddies attempting to utilize their new girth to retrieve the Fractal and restore everyone to their proper sizes. On the other end the Blob was depressed that he'd gotten so small.
- Harmony, from the Buffyverse, is a pathetic mess at the beginning of An Average Everyday Supergoddess, not least because of her serious body issues. When, after the events of Halloween, she gains the physical form of a stunningly beautiful Asgardian woman, all of that changes. Her new body comes complete with a supercharged metabolism that burns through calories rapidly, and she wonders if she can finally stop her endless dieting. When she discovers that the oh-so-very-vain Amora had actually researched and created spells specifically designed to rid her body of unwanted fat (allowing her to indulge herself freely), Harm is ecstatic, and for the first time in years is able to eat full meals without guilt.
- In the Buffy/Stargate crossover story All Your Base Are Belong To Her, Dawn is shown in flashback to have gained a moderate amount of weight after Buffy's death. When Faith expressed (admittedly mild) disapproval of this development, Dawn was so stricken that she became mildly anorexic and driven to lose weight so as to please Faith. Flash forward a year, and Dawn has achieved her target weight and figure, and is fine with being constantly hungry if it means she can love who she sees in the mirror and turn heads wherever she goes.
- Eating disorders are the subject of many a Lifetime Movie Of The Week.
- In the movie Zoolander, Matilda confesses that she suffered from bulimia when she was a teenager. The other two characters, who are both male models, respond by saying that they do it all the time (once they figure out what she's talking about).
- Fatso is about a man (played by Dom De Luise) struggling with being obese, his food addiction, and his enabler mother.
- Elastigirl of The Incredibles expresses quite a bit of depression after getting a glance of her butt on a mirror in Syndrome's Base.
- Mr. Incredible himself has gone through this. He may have still retained his super strength but in his later years he has to deal with the fact that his costume barely fits anymore. The first teaser trailer focused on him trying (and failing) to get his belt on. He then starts intensely working out (using trains as weights) to give himself a physique to match his powers again. He doesn't get back into his originial shape, but is noticeably slimmer at the end of the film than in the beginning.
- In the plot to take down Regina George in Mean Girls, her "killer bod" is one of the items that comes under attack. The means? Protein-heavy granola bars that are supposed to help athletes gain weight, passed to Regina as if they're diet bars. Despite Regina's weight gain being a significant plot point, the actress' size doesn't change in the slightest.
- In the remake of The Nutty Professor, Sherman Klump begins to feel insecure about his weight when he snags a date with a fellow teacher, and begins exercising. Through a Training Montage we do see him getting into better shape, but at the same time his actual appearance doesn't really change. He ends up being heckled by an obnoxious stand up comedian during the date, which drives him to create the formula that will slim him down, and gives birth to his alter ego Buddy Love. At the end of the film after everything's resolved, Sherman says that he will lose weight, but due to genetics he's always going to big no matter what.
- In the Wayan Bros film White Chicks one of the female characters who was in the original Alpha Bitch siblings' Girl Posse who the heroes of the film make friends with whilst Disguised in Drag as said Alpha Bitches is revealed to have severe body image problems around her weight. This despite being as thin as any Hollywood Actress or supermodel, and it is made clear that all the fat she sees on herself in the mirror at the mall is in her head. She has somewhat of a psychotic episode about it.
- In Death Becomes Her, writer Helen Sharp develops an eating disorder to cope with losing her fiance to her bitter rival Madeline Ashton, and spends a few years being belittled in a mental hospital because of her psychotic obsession with Madeline. Some years later, Madeline has begun to notice she's getting older and not as svelte as she used to be, but took some comfort in knowing Helen was a blob... until she sees Helen for the first time in ages and discovers she's gorgeous. Because of an immortality serum.
Live Action TV
- Hannah Ashworth, a character in the British soap Hollyoaks, was portrayed as suffering from anorexia and bulimia, which she later recovered from. Melissa Hurst, Hannah's friend, also suffered from anorexia which she died from.
- Jason has image issues which Word of God identifies as body dysmorphia.
- The 2 part episode "Our Lips Are Sealed" from Degrassi has Emma developing anorexia as a way of dealing with the stress in her life.
- Elliot during season 7 of Scrubs treats a woman with anorexia. Dr. Cox points out that Elliot weighs even less. By the end of the episode, she realizes that she is there to help her patients whether she is healthy or not. A year later, the same patient comes back, even more underweight, and Elliot is convinced that it is still anorexia, when in reality it was HIV. However, Elliot puts the patient through a lot before eventually figuring this out.
- The TV Biopic of Gilda Radner (from Saturday Night Live) portrayed her as bulimic.
- Cassie on Skins is shown to have anorexia, in addition to problems with drug abuse, low self esteem, and some personality issues...In one episode she demonstrates to Sid how she fakes people out by pretending to eat.
- Hurley on LOST is said to have a problem with over-eating.
- During Season 8 of Frasier, as a way to mask Jane Leeves' pregnancy, Daphne gained considerable weight. While Niles pretended not to notice, she was the target of many fat jokes. She was sent to a weight loss clinic, and the psychology behind her weight issue was explored, in a sensitive and realistic way, in the episode "Daphne Returns."
- A season 7 episode of Boy Meets World addresses this when Topanga realizes she's bigger than her friends (where "bigger" means "has sexy, sexy curves") and starts dieting. It finally comes out that everyone is self-conscious because of society's unrealistic portrayals and no one thinks Topanga is anywhere near fat.
- That same episode Eric was also dealing with body issues of his own, although his weren't as serious as Topanga's. In fact, he even admitted that he called her fat just so he could get her pizza.
- Tommy from Big Wolf on Campus started getting tubby due to his wolf-like appetite getting the best of him. Eventually, his cravings resulted in his existence as a werewolf being exposed to the town.
- In another episode, Merton falls in with a group of black-clad teenagers who start giving him a nectar-like substance that makes him fat. Merton is at first horrified until his new "friends" say they like him bigger, so he starts drinking more of the stuff. It turns out the kids are actually spiders in human form, and they've been fattening Merton up so they can eat him.
- My Mad Fat Diary: Rae's issues with her weight form one of the bases of the plot. Her friend Tix also has issues with eating food and burning calories.
- Hal from Malcolm in the Middle was purposefully making Lois gain weight without her knowledge while she was pregnant with their fifth child because he thought she looked sexy.
- Penny from Happy Endings went on a diet for an episode but couldn't keep it up. In general, neither her nor other characters comment negatively on her curviness. And even in that episode, it was less of a diet to lose weight and more of a cleanse for better general health.
- Two episodes of Roseanne dealt with this. In one episode Roseanne and Dan both try to go on a diet. In another, Roseanne puts Dan on a diet after his heart attack, but his refusal to stick to eating healthier food leads to one of the worst fights the two have ever had, only it turns out Dan had already died from his heart attack in the series finale.
- It's also been implied that Roseanne's weight, as well as her anger issues and her controlling nature with Dan, stems from her father's abusive nature and her mother's tendency to make everything better with food when she and Jackie were little girls.
- In 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick begins stress eating as a result of his break-up with Mary in Moby Dick. He tries dieting and tries using a girdle, but upon learning Mary has also been stress eating, Dick decides to just buy bigger pants.
- Seinfeld has dealt with this a couple of times. In "The Non-Fat Yogurt" Jerry, Elaine, and George discover that the supposed non-fat yogurt they've been enjoying every day actually is fat and they've gained weight. Though this actually involves Hollywood Pudgy since none of them look any bigger.
- Sylvia Fine is constantly dealing with this in The Nanny though she has yet to curb her Big Eater tendencies.
- An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch dealt with this as seriously as it could. Sabrina tried to lose weight in order to fit into a dress for an upcoming dance, but then started using shoddy diet drinks from the Other Realm. To make matters worse, the salesman put a spell on her bedroom mirror to make her reflection look morbidly obese. Zelda found out what happened when she saw her butt reflected much bigger than it was, and took the spell off. Unfortunately, by that point Sabrina legitimately believed she was huge and kept taking the diet shakes until she became invisible. She wasted away into nothing.
- An episode of Full House had DJ crash-dieting so she'd look good in a bathing suit for a pool party. As per usual, she was talked down by a heart-to-heart with her dad and a big hug.
- 4st 7lb by Manic Street Preachers is sung from the perspective of a girl who is enthusiastic about losing unhealthy amounts of weight. The lyrics were probably written by Richey Edwards, who was suffering from anorexia at the time.
Stomach collapsed at five
Lift up my skirt my sex is gone
Naked and lovely and 5st. 2
May I bud and never flower
- Sophie by Elanor McEvoy tells the story of a girl with anorexia.
- Canadian band Furnaceface's song "She Thinks She's Fat" includes the lyrics "She calls herself a cow/I say how 'bout a little bestiality." While it's Played for Laughs, the subject is also bulimic: "She eats ten buttered popcorns/and then she throws up..."
- Tied together with a smile by Taylor Swift was written about her anorexic best friend back in High school.
- Anorexia Dear Friend by Stacie Orrico
- The video for Daft Punk's "The Prime Time of Your Life" seems to be about a young girl who sees herself as very fat while seeing everyone else as skeletons. Eventually she tears her skin off and kills herself in an attempt to be like everyone else.
- This happens to Stella Stone in Great Britain when she keeps losing weight for Page 7 of the Free Press and becomes anorexic. Unlike most examples of this trope, this was taken very seriously, turning first act comic relief and Brainless Beauty into a Knight of Cerebus and causing the play to take a fairly dark turn. She ends up being hospitalised early in the second act, and despite being force-fed she eventually reaches the point where her body is just starting to die, in no small part due to Paige's manipulation. By the end of the play, she is dead.
- Amy Rose took this Up to Eleven in Sonic Battle, being obsessed with boxercising and later being coached by Emerl, who instructed her to do 100 push-ups and eat nothing but salad with no dressing. This is taken to creepy levels as, rather than merely lamenting about her weight and failing to maintain a diet like most examples, Amy really appears to be suffering from an eating disorder.
- Subverted in Persona 4; Hanako claims to be dieting (which means she only eats one bucket of curry), and uses it as a justification for not sharing some of her food (despite having more than enough to share) with the starving protagonists.
- Inverted in Tekken with Bob, who deliberately grew fat to be a combination of striking power, muscle mass, and speed. In one ending, he goes completely berserk after losing all his weight.
- The Nostalgia Chick looks perfectly pretty and healthy, but she still freaks about her weight. Luckily, there a mail-order Nella service (Big Fat Friend) to make her look better by comparison.
- Donnie on Demo Reel has the rare version of "too thin". While the male version of a Heroic Seductress, in a Deleted Scene he worried about having no muscles and confided in Tacoma that he looks like a shaved cat when shirtless. We've seen him shirtless, he looks great.
- Patti Mayonnaise in an episode of Doug when she overhears Doug commenting on her weight (he was actually referring to a homemade vehicle he was making).
- In a Nickelodeon episode "Doug Tips The Scales", Doug had gained weight while on vacation at his grandma's and tried to slim down before Beebee Bluff's pool party.
- In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Harold becomes insecure about his size and strives to lose weight when he overhears Sid and Stinky mocking him. He goes on a cruise with the purpose of helping kids lose weight, but is even bigger when he returns. He manages to lose the extra weight with some help from Arnold, though.
- Drawn Together has one episode where Toot Braunstein attempts to lose weight, both through bulemia and anorexia.
- The Simpsons have dealt with this trope in numerous ways due to the fact that a lot of the main characters are on the chunky side.
- Lisa Simpson had an episode of this when some kids at school made fun of her weight.
- Homer bounces around this. Sometimes he wants to be thinner, but in "King-Size Homer" he had woe because he wanted to gain weight in order to qualify for a disability that would allow him to work from home.
- "Brush With Greatness" and "King of the Hill" play Homer's attempts to lose weight straight. The former attempt is inspired by his getting stuck in a water slide and becoming a laughing-stock; the latter episode deals with him joining a gym and climbing a mountain to win Bart's respect after he embarrasses him at a church picnic field day.
- Bart became overweight in "The Heartbroke Kid" after becoming addicted to the junk food in the new vending machines put into Springfield Elementary. To drive the point home they redid the opening with a now heavyset Bart, who ends up having a heart attack via malted milk ball-clogged arteries. Homer and Marge resort to having him sent to a fat camp against his will, though he finally sticks to losing the weight by himself after realizing his parents have had to turn the house into a youth hostel and degrade themselves for a bunch of annoying college students in order to pay for the camp.
- Rainer Wolfcastle has struggled with his weight on two occasions. The first time he claimed he was preparing for a fat secret agent role, but the second time he was at the same fat camp Bart was sent to.
- In a later season episode, Bart conspired to have Nelson Muntz addicted to Krusty Burger fast food in order to make him obese and lose the energy to bully Bart and the other kids. Lisa forced Bart to help Nelson lose the weight after seeing what Nelson turned into. The subplot started after Bart watched a Super Size Me parody, Do You Want Lies With That?
- "Sweets and Sour Marge" played with this trope by having Springfield named "America's Fattest Town" and the citizens are overjoyed by being famous for something. All except for Marge, who is slightly disturbed by how everyone seems to be celebrating their obesity. She strives to sue a sugar-manufacturing company out of protest for destroying the town's health, only to have all sugar banned from Springfield. Homer and Bart work to undo this because life without sugar is too much of a hell to comprehend, and although Homer pulls back for Marge's sake, the judge overturns his decision and things go back to normal.
- In "Krusty Gets Kancelled," Bart and Lisa were shocked when they discover a morbidly obese Krusty in his apartment just as they were to announce that they got all of the celebrities (sans Elizabeth Taylor) needed for his comeback special. Krusty declared that he was on a steady diet of milkshakes. Lisa asked if they were diet milkshakes. Luckily, the Simpson family got him back in shape just in time.
- In "Bart's Friend Falls In Love," Lisa is concerned about Homer's weight and worries that he might die as a morbidly obese blob. Marge tries to send away for a tape set to help Homer lose weight via suggestions in his sleep, but the company had run out of weight loss cassettes and sent in a set to improve a person's vocabulary. They don't realize Homer received the wrong tape, and while Homer becomes much more articulate he gains weight and destroys the tapes out of anger.
- Both sides of this are played with in "Hungry, Hungry Homer." Homer goes on a hunger strike to prove that the Springfield Isotopes are really being moved to Albuquerque and begins to waste away into a delirious state of mind. Meanwhile, the kids start to get fat from eating Homer's shares at dinner simply because Marge won't cook less, though this is more a case of Balloon Belly then permanent weight.
- In "Kamp Krusty" Martin Prince isn't happy that his parents are sending him to a Fat Camp, which is revealed to be run like a concentration camp by the sadistic camp counselor Mr. Black.
- "Bart Star" shows that Bart and a lot of Springfield's kids are out of shape, so their parents have them join the peewee football league to get more exercise. Bart doesn't really have a problem with being tubby, but Homer, of all people, has the nerve to call him "a disgrace to the family" for being fat.
- Theodore and Eleanor from Alvin and the Chipmunks sometimes become self-conscious about their weight.
- In Daria:
- The episode "Arts and Crass" is centered around Daria and Jane creating a piece for the art competition about a girl with bulimia. The piece was meant to be supportive of people who didn't want to be judged for their looks, and to get people to question the cost of beauty by the standards of society.
- Played straight with Hollywood Pudgy added in "Fat Like Me" when Sandi breaks her leg and is out of school for a few days. When she comes back to school, she's put on a couple of pounds and ends up having to resign from the Fashion Club due to the strict weight requirements she implemented. Quinn helps Sandi get back to her regular size because the Club was on the verge of falling apart without a steady leader.
- Reoccurring extra Mrs. Johannsen is a morbidly obese woman who suffers from hypoglycemia. In her first appearance in Cafe Disaffecto she passes out while Daria and Jane are attempting to sell her chocolate for a school fundraiser. She insists on buying all their chocolate even though she tells them her doctor wouldn't approve. When she comes to, Daria states she can't sell her the chocolate out of fear for her health. She later appears in Psycho Therapy where it seems her weight and overeating stem from a traumatic childhood and feelings of abandonment after once being told she was an accident. When Quinn barges in to her therapy session to talk to the cute therapist speaking with Johannsen, Quinn suggests vertical stripes will fix her problems.
- On American Dad! Stan became anorexic. While he is shown to be getting heavier during the course of the episode, this is really a delusion and he is finally shown to be Nothing but Skin and Bones. It's actually taken fairly seriously.
- Family Guy:
- Meg Griffin is shown to be an overeater, and makes a habit out of throwing up after meals. She has far more issues than that however. Stewie even tells her one time that she should consider becoming anorexic and bulimic like the female ballerina dancers since it "seems to work out for them".
- When the popular girls at school throw up, Meg says she loves to throw up to fit in.
- Brian's dumb exgirlfriend Jillian is bulimic. Stewie calls her fat to make her throw up, and she makes comments about how she is losing her teeth.
- When Lois becomes a Hollywood starlet, she shows off her newfound anorexia by having her friends play her ribcage like a xylophone.
- In "Sibling Rivalry", Lois started to binge eat out of frustration after Peter lost his sex drive following a vasectomy. At first mocked about her weight, when the two accidentally have sex one night Peter is elated to discover "fat sex is the hottest sex" they ever had, and became determined to keep Lois heavy. By the end of the episode Lois had a heart attack and received emergency liposuction.
- In "No Country Club for Old Men" Lois bakes a batch of brownies, eats them all herself and then makes herself throw up. According to Stewie this happens every time she makes brownies.
- Peter, Chris, and Stewie all dealt with weight issues in one single episode. Chris became self conscious about his size, Peter got liposuction and plastic surgery to make himself a sculpted knockout, and Stewie became obese by way of mocking Chris's diet straight into an overeating disorder. Chris felt better about himself by the episode's end thanks to a few kind words from Meg, Peter gained back all his weight, and Stewie was inexplicably back to normal with no reason given.
- Nitz in Undergrads was horrified to discover he put on the Freshman Fifteen just before the Exposed Expo, an annual streaking event, and tried to slim down in time.
- Amy Wong of Futurama used to be fat when she was little, and although she slimmed down and became much more attractive as she got older, she still has a ravenous appetite which she keeps on lock down. In one post-cancellation episodes, Amy and Professor Farnsworth switched bodies, which Amy used as an excuse to go on an eating binge since it wasn't her body. However, the Professor's decrepit digestion system proved to be too much of a burden, and Amy switched with Leela. Amy's ravenous hunger caused Leela's body to become fat, and in order to stop herself from doing any more damage, Hermes volunteered to switch, claiming she couldn't possibly do any more damage to his flabby build. Both of them lost weight by the end of the episode, but in Amy's case, she'd lost her appetite completely after seeing Leela in the Professor's body graphically make out with Fry in Zoidberg's body.
- During the second Anthology Of Interest episode, Bender wonders what it'd be like to be human. He quickly goes on a week-long hedonistic binge of sex, partying, and eating, culminating in his transformation into a thousand pound human blob. And about forty of those pounds was his cholesterol level. The short ends with Bender dying at the beginning of a big party, and no one realizes this until 12 hours later.
- Inverted in the last episode of Megas XLR where Fat and Proud Coop is disgusted and enraged to discover his evil, alternate-universe self is a power hungry, skinny conqueror.
- In the American Dragon Jake Long "Furious Jealousy", Jake's Big Eater tendencies started to go into overdrive when he began slacking off due to a lack of magical incidents occurring in the vicinity and he started to get tubby. The only one who was originally concerned was Trixie, until Jake's lack of exercise made him easy prey for the Gorgon sisters.
- A Totally Spies! episode had a villain creating girl scout cookies that were highly addictive and fattening as revenge for a childhood trauma of being booted out of the organization. Both Clover and Jerry became hooked on the cookies and became obese by the episode's end, as did the villain herself when the spies made her sample the "highly addictive sugar extract" she invented which made the cookies so addictive. An antidote was made and Clover and all the other victims of the scheme were turned back to normal.
- In The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs suggested to Porky during his brief stint as a caterer that he try some of his grandmother's old recipes since Porky's own dishes weren't that good. The recipes all call for an unhealthy amount of butter but are rather delicious, so much so that Bugs gets hooked on them and is finding excuses to throw parties just so Porky can cater them. Sure enough, Bugs starts off with a noticeable belly, then gets huge, to the point that he causes a tidal wave when jumping into a pool to save Daffy from drowning. That serves as Bugs' wake up call and he manages to cut back on the junk.
- Played with in Kim Possible when the writers did an intentionally Anvilicious episode about eating right after being told by the company that they had to make at least one Aesop episode. In "Grande Size Me" Ron tries to rally against Mr. Barkin's lectures on a balanced diet by eating Bueno Nacho every day to prove it's not dangerous. Sure enough, Ron starts to get tubby and pretty much everyone, including the villains, show concern over what Ron is doing to his body. However, after being submersed in a mutagenic growth formula, Ron's appetite increases and he gradually becomes much more fatter, taller, and aggressive, until he finally mutates into an orange parody of The Incredible Hulk. The only solution to reversing the mutation is to get him to eat healthy food. During the end credits however, Ron delivers a lecture about not falling into strange chemicals to the audience even though everyone else has no idea who he's talking to.
- Inverted in The Angry Beavers at one point, where Dag is concerned that he's unable to gain weight for winter and worries about freezing to death, while Norb has got no problem at all. The episode ends with Dag deciding to spend the rest of winter living in morbidly obese Norb's fat folds.
- In The Fairly Oddparents Timmy once wished that every meal was dessert. At first everyone is utterly hyperactive from the extra sugar rush, until a month passes by and everyone is so bloated they can only get around by rolling until the extra weight causes the Earth to fall out of orbit and spiral into the sun.
- Bill Dauterive on King of the Hill is constantly ashamed of his weight ever since his life went downhill following his marriage and divorce. In one episode he's told his excess weight and body hair were the result of the government using him as a guinea pig in drug research, until it turned out he was in the placebo group. He's ashamed to exercise in a gym because he thinks he's too fat to be seen working out with other people, and when he got diagnosed with diabetes he tried to blame his genes instead of his weight. In at least one episode that implies this has happened before, he goes on an eating binge when he Arlen town council bans trans fats, thinking that all remaining junk food is good for him now that it's government approved. In a series of flashbacks it shows Bill always goes overboard with what he thinks is diet food like light beer, failing to understand it's diet compared to the regular product. In the trans fat episode, he became more bloated than normal and suffered from an outbreak of zits until Hank forced him to see his own reflection.
- Hector in Ozzy and Drix almost had a heart attack after gaining a couple of pounds before he decided to go jogging.
- There was a Home Movies episode which revolved around Brendon and Jason enabling each other's poor eating habits, before the ending showed the now obese kids making fat-themed parodies of famous movies.
- When Static had traveled into the future, he was a little shocked to discover Richie had noticeably gained a few pounds as an adult. Upon arriving back to the present, he snarked that Richie should watch the fast food from that point.
- A Very Special Episode of Beverly Hills Teens had Tara go on a crash diet in order to drop five pounds so she would qualify to enter a particular beauty contest.
- Done twice in KaBlam!:
- The overreaching story of one episode concerning Henry and June focused on the two being out-of-shape, to the point that they could barely get through the opening credits. They learn that a physical is coming up and try to lose weight with help from Richard Simmons, but they're not able to concentrate long enough to make any progress and sadly accept they'll be out of a job soon. Then they learn that their physical was only testing them on surviving cartoon physics via dumping anvils on them. Upon passing said exam they go back to eating junk food with gusto.
- An Action League Now short was basically a reversal of Thinner with the Chief getting cursed into obesity by a gypsy scam artist.
- An Animaniacs short called Star Truck had the Warners meeting a group of expies of the cast from Star Trek: The Original Series. Wakko introduces the Scotty stand-in to Earth doughnuts, and he progressively gets fatter as the short goes on until he's too big to reach the control panels.
- Played with in two senses in Johnny Bravo. In the earlier "Jumbo Johnny" episode, Johnny worries that he's not as buff as he could be and seeks to gain weight in terms of musculature. He's sold an experimental protein shake, but he doesn't follow the instructions correctly and drinks every can in a single night. By morning, Johnny is extremely fat and deludes himself into thinking he's ripped, until he takes more of the protein shake and essentially becomes a fat giant. Johnny accidentally destroys most of the city looking for the protein shake salesman, who finally gives him the antidote to slim down. But Johnny still doesn't follow the instructions, drinks every can he's given, and while he does slim down he's basically a two inch stick person with a normal sized head.
- Tracey Gold, who played Carol Seaver on Growing Pains, seriously battled with anorexia nervosa for much of her life. Her condition became life threatening during filming of Growing Pains when her character was mocked as "fat" in multiple episodes, making her more obsessive about weight in real life. In 1992, she had to resign from the show for medical reasons, and would not return until the series finale.
- Tracey actually went on to star in the television film For The Love of Nancy, which was about a teenage girl suffering through anorexia after graduating high school and entering college. This was made in 1994, two years after Growing Pains ended.
- Karen Carpenter of the popular 1960/1970's pop-rock group The Carpenters suffered from anorexia nervosa, and died from complications of the condition at age 32.
- Lord Byron - obsessed with his weight and fasting