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 behavior continues for several days or even weeks. If so, it will often be accompanied by other behaviors such as wearing pajamas during the day and refusing to leave the house (see Mess of Woe).
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".
- 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.
- In Detective Conan, the end of the Desperate Revival story arc has Shinichi, who thought he'd turned back into an adult for good, reverting back to Conan while he and Ran were on a dinner date. All he can do is tell Ran that "Shinichi" gave him a credit card to pay for their meal and that he had to go solve another case. Ran, at her breaking point, screams that she doesn't want to hear his excuses anymore, then pulls herself together and offers to get dessert for herself and Conan. After cutting away briefly to the antics of other characters, Ran is shown ranting about how angry she is about Shinichi's behavior, while Conan mentally notes that she's on her fourth dessert.
- 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."
- The newspaper comic strip Cathy thrives on this trope.
- The Penguins of Madagascar fic Princess shows Julien doing this when the other zoo-dwellers misunderstand and repeatedly offend him over him being transgender.
- 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.
- Junko Enoshima in The Ultimate Hope is reduced to this after her every attempt at causing despair fails in increasingly hope-bringing ways.
- Natsuki mentions in Ambitious Love that after the second time Reina left her, Kumiko spent a week eating nothing but ice cream and sleeping pills.
- In the Steven Universe fanfic Pearl's Pearl, the Pearl inside of Pearl's gemstone tearfully eats a tub of ice cream (and a lot of snacks) after suddenly realizing that she's all alone.
Just because her host didn't like eating her feelings away, didn't mean that SHE couldn't!
- An inverted variant happens in this parody comic of Steven Universe; Yellow Diamond tearfully eats a tub of ice cream while watching Ruby and Sapphire's wedding.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Much like her pony counterpart, Rarity gorges on ice cream with tears running down her face after she thinks she's failed her friends, in the "Dance Magic" segment of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Ė Magical Movie Night.
- Incredibles 2: Violet takes a gallon of ice cream and starts eating it after Tony stands her up on a date due to having gotten Laser-Guided Amnesia from agent Dicker. Funnily, she's doing it while invisible (but wearing normal clothes).
- 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.
- In Aquamarine, Aquamarine eats ice cream in the bath when it looks like its not going to work out with her Love Interest Raymond.
- In Bewitched, Isabel eats ice-cream with Cool Whip after she has a huge fight with Jack and quits the show.
- 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.
- 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). She also tortures herself by constantly replaying a scene in a movie where Madeline's character is strangled to death.
- Dr. Dolittle 2, Archie the bear breaks into a house and binges on ice cream after he gets rejected by Ava. This unfortunately causes him to need to use the bathroom while John is trapped in the room with him.
- 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 Hitch, after Hitch and Sara break up, she's shown lying on the sofa, crying and squirting whipped cream directly into her mouth as she cries. There's also a gender-flipped version, when Alert is dumped by Allegra (who realized he got help in wooing her from Hitch) and he proceeds to binge on doughnuts ("Maybe my heart won't hurt so much if it stops").
- 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.
- Jurassic Park: John Hammond is shown to be quietly eating ice cream by himself after he finds out that Jurassic Park has failed and his grandchildren are lost and in danger. Dr. Sattler snaps him out of it. This is an inversion of a scene from the original novel (in which Hammond is far nastier than the later movie) which is used to highlight his childishness and Lack of Empathy, since he's unconcernedly eating ice cream while hell breaks loose and everyone else is in life-threatening danger.
- In Legally Blonde, Elle confines herself to her room to eat chocolate and watch soap operas after Warner dumps her.
- 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.
- 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 Thor: The Dark World, Darcy implies that Jane has been doing this ever since Thor left her to return to return to Asgard.
- 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".
- 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.
- In the Light Novel L: change the WorLd, it's implied that L's love of all kinds of sweets (and most of his other eccentricities) is really a reaction to the stress of his job.
- Referenced in The Dresden Files. When Michael Carpenter is injured and unable to carry on his duties as a Knight of the Cross, his daughter Molly worries he won't be able to "show up" for her anymore. Harry reminds her that even though her dad is out of the evil-smiting business, he will always show up for her in all the ways that truly count, such as coming over with ice cream if she has a bad breakup.
- When Mark isn't allowed to see Kareen any more in A Civil Campaign he retreats to his bedroom with multiple tubs of bug butter and a spoon.
- The Mr. Men For Grown Ups book "Little Miss Shy Goes Online Dating" has Little Miss Shy binge on a tub of ice cream for eight when she thinks that won't find her Mr. Right.
- Mike & 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:
- Monica dates a guy whom the entire gang loves and becomes friends with. Monica is very annoyed by this and breaks up with him. The gang is saddened by this and Monica finds them eating ice cream together.
- 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).
- After her breakup with Don, Robin is seen wearing a dirty sweatshirt and eating dirty. However, after Barney makes fun of her for it, she immediately recovers and flirts with a random guy at McLaren's.
- We also see some offscreen clips of Robin crying and drinking in various places after her breakup with Barney (as opposed to Barney taking the breakup pretty well).
- 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).
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has an episode titled "Why Is Josh's Ex Eating Carbs?" Apparently after the breakup she buried her pain in doughnuts, which, considering how proud she is of her looks, is a big deal.
- 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.
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 & 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 Smallville episode "Crimson", Lois temporarily falls in love with Clark due to red kryptonite lipstick. When Clark is exposed to the same, he decides to run off with Lana instead. Cut to a sad Lois surrounded by empty plates. Not specified to be ice cream, but certainly something with chocolate.
- In The Vicar of Dibley, this happens when Simon dumps Geraldine, complete with the daylight pajama 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 The Suite Life on Deck, London and Ms Tutwiler help Bailey get over her breakup with Cody by doing various "heartbroken" activities in Ms Tutwiler's cabin (such as eating ice cream, cutting out pictures, etc.)
- On Parker Lewis Can't 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 apartment and hits the fridge, taking out a pack of ice-cream.
- In a case that's less heartbreak than sympathy pain, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had John state before a segment on prisoner re-entry that in case one does an Archive Binge on the four prison-related segments on that season, "you frankly earn the right to eat your feelings out with a Peanut Buster Parfait!"
- Discussed on The Big Bang Theory, when Penny and Leonard have an argument and Sheldon tries to patch it up.
- One episode of Lucifer sees Lucifer and Chloe investigating the murder of a young woman. One of the suspects in the Yandere ex-girlfriend of the young man who slept with the woman before her death, but she insists that she spent that night crying into her frozen yogurt. They find a video confirming this.
- Good Luck Charlie: Teddy starts acting like a slob after her breakup with Spencer, not changing out of her pyjamas and watching sad movies. Ivy then brings Skyler (the other girl Spencer had been dating behind Teddy's back), who is also dirty in her pyjamas. The three eat ice cream while talking about their relationship with Spencer.
- Pretty Little Liars: In "There's No Place Like Homecoming", when Aria is planning on not going to homecoming, her friends ask her what she will do instead. Her plans involve reading gossip magazines and eating copious amounts of Chunky Monkey.
- Double Subverted in Gilmore Girls. Lorelei tries to get Rory to invoke this trope after Dean dumped her, but Rory refuses as she seems to have taken the breakup very well. However, at the end of the episode, Lorelei finds her at home crying and orders food.
- The Golden Girls would have the main cast eat cheesecake whenever they had a bad date or just a bad day in general.
- 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
- "Somebody to Love" by Suzy Bogguss:
Your mascara's runnin' and your hair is a mess
And what have you spilled on your party dress
Sittin in the kitchen all broken hearted
Lookin' for comfort in an ice cream carton
- 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.
- In Camp Camp, after David is dumped by Bonquisha and gets depressed, Gwen decides to introduce him to two guy who would help, "Ben and Jerry".
- Early on in El Goonish Shive, there's an unfortunate... 'incident' at Greg's 'Anime Style Martial Arts' dojo, where Elliot shows Sarah that he's currently dating Nanase - prompting her to run from the dojo in tears. After Nanase pushes him to follow her, he takes a quick inventory of the surroundings, and reasons out that she must be in the neighboring ice-cream shop (as opposed to the strip club, the cigarette store, the adult book store, or the abortion clinic). Cue this scene.
- The webcomic Riot Nrrd does it here.
- This is referenced by Miho in MegaTokyo, when she explains to Piro how Ping's changes in body dimensions is her body's equivalent to eating ice cream as a way to handle rejection.
- Something*Positive has an example when Monette's show undergoes Executive Meddling.
- Mulberry gorges on chocolate ice cream while struggling to cope with the death of her next-door neighbor, Brittany Murphy.
- Knights of Buena Vista:
- Adriana says her Player Character is "gonna find a carton of Haagan-Dazs and sprinkle it with my tears".
- After Adriana is dumped by her boyfriend, Walter offers her some of the Ben & Jerry's from his freezer.
- Scandinavia and the World:
- Estonia drowns her sorrows in ice cream and chocolates in a strip where Scotland is accepted among the Nordic Countries and she, in spite of her best efforts, remains forever alone.
- Sweden, England and Finland are also seen weeping and sharing a carton of ice cream in this strip, although in the latter's case, it was only to get free ice cream.
- Questionable Content:
- Coffee of Doom keeps a pint of "emergency Ben & Jerry's" for such occasions. Faye has a habit of swiping it, so she makes Ellen a hot cocoa instead.
Faye: Nothing soothes heartbreak like chocolate.
- Cosette is introduced asking Marten out when he's still seeing Dora. She takes the rejection a little hard, having been crushing on him for a while, and in the next strip orders a large vanilla latte with extra whipped cream, and two brownies.
- Coffee of Doom keeps a pint of "emergency Ben & Jerry's" for such occasions. Faye has a habit of swiping it, so she makes Ellen a hot cocoa instead.
- Gender flipped in Umlaut House, Volair eats a tub of Haagen-Dazs after his ex Jake starts sleeping with Rick, his occasional nemesis.
- In the first arc of Quantum Vibe Nicole is shown eating ice cream directly from the bucket after her boyfriend ditches her, while ignoring a call from her boss about how he has to fire her for not showing up for days. Later in the series she still tends to deal with stress with chocolate, though primarily in the form of flavored whiskey.
- Sandra and Woo features a "Break-Up Emergency Pack" of premium ice cream.
- Narbonic: After Helen Narbon breaks up with Dave, she announces that she's going to go eat five pints of ice cream and then blow up Ecuador.
- During a flashback in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, after breaking up with Hortense, Doc says "I think... I think ice cream would be best. Yes."
- At a pool party in PreTeena, Tess Keene comforts daughter Jeri when Jeri sees the new girl in town looks far better in a swimming costume than she does — and is getting on very well with Jeri's would-be boyfriend. Tess cheerfully tells her daugheter this is one of those things and we all have to face it sometime. Then she looks round and sees the new girl's mother looks good in a bikini. The scene cuts to Tess and Jeri sitting miserably at the poolside, wrapped in blankets and miserably sharing a very large tub of ice-cream.
- In Sinfest, Heartbreak Hotel serves ice cream. For main course and dessert. At breakfast, lunch and dinner. And only by the tub, not by the scoop.
- When Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall does 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.
- 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.
- In the Smosh video Anthony is Mexican, Ian is shown eating chocolate ice cream and crying in a montage when Anthony leaves him to stick to his supposedly Mexican roots.
- The drug of choice of Tess Masazza, creator of the Italian Web Series Insopportabilmente Donna, to cope with the pain of romantic disappointments is chocolate. However, she loves chocolate to the point that one cannot help but wonder if she is using her love issues as an excuse to just eat as much of the stuff as she wants.
- 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.
- All Grown Up!: Angelica does this with a tub of ice-cream after finding out that no one will attend her 13th birthday party because they would all rather attend Savannah's party, who had purposely scheduled it on the same day as Angelica's.
- Arthur: In "Arthur's Family Feud", Arthur's father, David, gets depressed after his souffle is ruined and eats a tub of ice cream while watching cooking shows.
- 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.
- The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Affair Weather Friends" has a scene where Mac, feeling down in the dumps due to Bloo spending more time with a kid named Barry ( Who's really Berry from "Berry Scary" consumes large amounts of ice cream and starts acting out an imagined conversation between him and Bloo where Bloo tells him that he doesn't need Mac anymore.
- 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.
- In the Disney short Feast, Winston's owner pigs out on ice cream and waffles after his girlfriend breaks up with him.
- 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.
- Downplayed in Jem. When Kimber and Stormer get into an argument with their bands they both retreat to a bar that apparently specializes in ice cream shakes.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy is shown consuming large amounts of ice cream after losing his collection of chewed gum.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Non-romantic example in the 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.
- Discussed in School Daze - Part 2, when the Mane six find Twilight Sparkle in deep despair after her school is shut down.
Pinkie Pie: You didn't tell me this was a pity party! I would've brought ice cream!
- Muscle Man from Regular Show eats spoonfuls of protein supplement following being dumped by Starla in "Muscle Woman".
- In the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Gates of Gloom", Scooby is distraught when a coma-stricken Nova gets abducted, so Shaggy offers him some "triple fudge cookie dough caramel chip" ice cream to calm himself. However, in real-life, giving that particular to Scooby (who's a dog) would make him really sick—while there is ice cream that's made especially for dogs and it can be okay to give dogs regular ice cream, it should never have chocolate in it, because chocolate is really bad for dogs.
- The Simpsons: "Now let's forget all our problems and eat a big bowl of strawberry ice cream."
- The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Played for Laughs in combination with Drunk on Milk, when SpongeBob goes out and eats Goofy Goober Sundaes with Patrick until eight in the morning, after not getting an expected promotion.
- In Steven Universe, the local donut shop offers an 8-donut special named "Breakup".
- In an episode of Teen Titans Go!, Robin turns to several tubs of ice cream after his staff is broken.
- Total Drama:
- Sierra from World Tour does this when she realizes Cody hates her.
- Scott also does this in All-Stars, but with dirt.
- In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Date", when Lord Hater gets stood up by a princess he decides that he's going to curl up with some ice cream before blowing up the planet in anger.
- 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!
- While ice cream isn't an exclusive treat for emotional people to chow down on when they're down, ice cream and similar snacks are called "comfort food" due to the sugars and other junk giving people a boost in their mood, if only for a short while.