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Series / The Supersizers Eat

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The Supersizers Eat... is a BBC television series. Every week, comedienne Sue Perkins and food critic Giles Coren get a complete physical checkup, choose a period in British history, put on period costumes, rent a period house/manor/villa to live in, then proceed to eat (and booze) their way through every single popular dish from that time period, all followed by a doctor follow-up to assess the damage done after a week of gluttony.

Much better than it sounds. Giles provides the knowledgeable tidbits and Sue provides the snarky running commentary. Not to mention that they engage in the cutest (and most sarcastic) UST in the history of documentary filmmaking. And the food is all authentic and heavily researched, which means they tend to alternate between looking wonderful and looking worthy of Fear Factor.


Periods covered include: The Restoration, Victorian London, The '70s, Regency England, The '50s, The '80s, Ancient Rome, The French Revolution, World War II...

Giles and Sue ended the program to avoid Seasonal Rot and because the sheer amount of food and alcohol they had to consume was taking its toll.

Sue and Giles reunited for a special called Giles and Sue's Royal Wedding, wherein they don BBC costumes and look at the history of royal weddings. They then followed this up with a series called Giles and Sue Live the Good Life, where the two presenters examined what it would have been like to live the lives of the protagonists of the classic sitcom The Good Life.


Provides examples of:

  • '20s Bob Haircut: Sue gets a bob haircut during her makeover as she usually wears somewhat sloppy short hair. When she first see herself in the mirror, she cries: "I look like an evil doll!" The truth is that twenties flapper look of "the young and beautiful elite" suits her perfectly.
  • The Alcoholic: Historically enforced mild alcoholism, as for most of European history, water is too contaminated to drink. It's debatable whether Giles and Sue were completely sober for any part of the show except for the medieval episode, in which Giles admitted to the doctor at the end that he never successfully got drunk and thus was rather miserable.
  • Anachronism Stew: Deliberately, and often hilariously. While Giles and Sue try to stay "period," their guests are modern, as are their means of transportation.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: In the Medieval episode, one of the historical topics discussed is Sue's Saxon damsel character's unwillingness to marry Giles's Norman knight character.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Roman Episode ends with Sue and Giles being smothered to death by rose petals as punishment for their decadence. They don't even visit the doctor at the end to learn that their BMI increased 1%.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Sue and Giles usually play aristocrats, and unfortuately, many of their activities involve being mean to peasants. A notable example is in the Regency episode, where Giles spends a day waiting in the field with a gun to shoot poachers (the land enclosure act meant the aristocrats owned all the wild game on their lands).
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: The show often mentions that Sue is a vegetarian ... yet she has no problem eating sheep heads and cow tongues. She draws the line at Foie Gras though.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The state dinners hosted by Louis XVI. The the primary purpose of the food was for showing off (in fact Versailles used to sell tickets where the yokels can go and watch the King and Queen eat) and thus are so overprepared that they are practically inedible. After every state dinner, King Louis and Marie Antoinette would immediately retreat to their chambers, and have an actual dinner.
    • The peach melba served from between the wings of a swan carved from ice.
  • Ax-Crazy: In the French Revolution episode, Giles and Sue briefly play radical revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror (this involves eating a revolutionary picnic while watching executions). After the Reign of Terror ends, they play two Noblemen who survived the butchery (this involves kicking revolutionaries to death in retaliation).
  • Bad Boss: In The Fifties Episode, Giles plays a manager at a car manufacturer. He bans Tea Breaks to improve efficiency (recreating a measure managers actually took in The Fifties in the name of the bottom line), and when his employees strike he just declares sucess and the issue is never mentioned again.
  • Bath Kick: During the Restoration episode, Sue takes a bath in wormwood and offers a comedic one of these.
  • The Beautiful Elite: In The Twenties Episode, Sue and Giles lead the life of the rich, the young and the beautiful. They go to the car racing, have dancing lessons, they go exploring Ancient Egypt, they have fancy dinner parties... Very Gatsby-esque.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: In the Roman Episode, there is a blond Britannian slave girl serving in the last feast. Giles mentioned in the narration that Roman Aristocrats considered Celt slaves an exotic possession around this time.
  • Beauty Inversion: The normally nerdy-cute Sue tries on the "beauty" standards of Elizabethan times. This includes death-white face makeup (at the time, made of lead), pink rouge, and blackened front teeth, in honour of the sugar-loving Queen Elizabeth. She gives the camera a ghastly grin when she's all made up. Still pretty cute.
  • Bifauxnen: During the Elizabethan episode, Giles and Sue go for a night on the town. As an Elizabethan lady couldn't be seen frequenting public houses and the like, Sue, in the tradition of many a Shakespeare comedy, is forced to adopt male drag. With delightful results.
  • Big Eater: The aristocrats from centuries past, some of them would regularly sit down and eat 5000 Calories per meal (the daily recommended intake is 2500 Cal per day). The favoured breakfast of George IV is a pie that has a steak, an egg, and an entire pigeon (among other things) baked in and all washed down with a bottle of champagne and laudanum.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the first part of the Roman episode, Giles and Sue speak Latin for a little bit.
  • British Brevity: Each season is only six episodes, for a total of thirteen episodes including the first special.
  • Brits Love Tea: Discussed. In the World War II episode, Sue and Giles have American soldiers visiting. They mention some real life advice Americans were given, for example that they shouldn't be complaining about coffee, because likewise, the British wouldn't be satisfied with tea made by Americans.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: In the Eighties episode, Giles has a stock market trader's breakfast of six double espresso shots. He doesn't think it's had much of an effect on him, but then he notices that one of his arms is involuntarily twitching.
  • Christmas Episode: The Victorian episode explores a traditional Victorian Christmas, including a tree, crackers, and goose and pudding.
  • Cool Mask: Actually kind of a creepy mask. During the Restoration episode, Sue wears a visage, held on via a button held between the wearer's teeth.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Giles and Sue both play these in The Eighties Episode... until the stock market crashes on Black Monday.
  • Costume Porn: Thanks to the BBC costumes department. They mostly look really wonderful.
  • Condescending Compassion: In the Regency episode, it is mentioned that the Enclosure Act prohibited anyone but the landowners from hunting on the land (anyone else becomes guilty of poaching), there were bad harvests and high taxation which lead to famines — a desperate time for the poor. The scene where Sue acts out her noblesse oblige and goes distributing leftovers to the poor reeks of condescension. Hard and uncomfortable to watch, but Sue's delivery is also funny as hell.
  • The Dandy: Giles gleefully takes on the role of a "Regency dandy", a large part of the reason he chose that era for the show.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In the Wartime Episode, Sue is told that she could have been thrown in jail for not eating everything on her plate. Justified in that Britain was at war and on rationing.
    • The Wartime Episode mentions that after Britain turned off the electricity, one woman was fined for having a visible light on her iron.
    • The Restoration Episode states that Poaching was punished with execution (either being shot-on-sight or hanged).
    • The Roman Episode states that a Vestal Virgin who has sex before her oath expires is punished by being buried alive.
  • Dry Crusader: In The Victorian Episode, Sue joins the Temperance Movement and protests against the sale of alcohol.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: invoked Part of the costuming involved period-specific hairstyles. For the Twenties episode, Sue gets a '20s Bob Haircut.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the original one-off special, Edwardian Supersize Me, the menu for each meal is just a generic voiceover, rather than the plummy, slightly sardonic voice of Roy Marsden used in the series proper.
  • Fake Food:
    • In the Wartime Episode, they eat "mock" food such as Mock Duck (made of sausage meat and carrots).
    • During The Roaring '20s episode, a drunken Giles makes a mock peach melba, which Sue finds pretty gross.
    • During the first episode, Edwardian Super Size Me, they eat mock turtle soup with what appears to be pig's feet. During Edwardian times, turtles nearly went extinct due to the popularity of turtle soup, so "mock turtle soup" was created.
  • Food Porn:
    • Intentionally done, as cooking for an old-style aristocrat is primarily a method of showing off your wealth and power. Oneupsmanship among cooks can be fierce.
    • Literally done in the Roman episode, where a common dinner entertainment is having a pretty slave parade around the dining room with some really exotic piece of cookery, which would then be thrown away untouched.
  • Foreign Fanservice: The beautiful slave girl from Britannia, brought to Rome by patricians Giles and Sue. Blond women were "all the rage" in ancient Rome.
  • Foreign Queasine: Not foreign in the geographical sense as in the chronological, but it still applies. Pickled testicles and rotten fish juice are very foreign food for Brits from the 21st century. One of the chefs holds her nose while she's preparing a dish.
    Sue: I've heard of nose to tail eating, but all I've eaten is noses and tails!
  • Generation Xerox: They finish the Elizabethan Episode by recreating the first part of Elizabeth's tour of England, specifically her visit to Ingatestone Hall and the feast she ate with Sir William Petre. Since William Petre is dead, Sue and Giles ate at Ingatestone Hall with the current (18th) Lord Petre. This means that 18 generations later, Sir William Petre's descendant got to eat the same feast that he presented to Queen Elizabeth in 1561.
  • Groin Attack: In an outtake in the closing credits for the Seventies episode, Giles is fooling around with a skateboard and stamps on one end. At which point it pivots up into the air and hits him straight in the crotch.
  • Handsome Lech: In the Restoration Episode, Giles woos a girl by quoting Restoration Era pickup lines (that are very lame). And yes, he is wearing full costume while the woman is in modern clothes... and still she is charmed by him. Then again, Giles is good-looking, cocky and funny.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl:
    • Sue, after drinking the historically accurate (read: 10+ pints) amount of alcohol per day.
    • Subverted in a few episodes, as well. The only beverages anyone drank were ale and wine, because water was too polluted. Compared to historical times, Sue and Giles are lightweights, where the amount of alcohol consumed was normal rather than "hard-drinking."
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Sue is a lesbian, but doesn't seem to mind rolling around on the floor with Giles and sleeping in the same bed as him. Admittedly, they're usually both staggeringly drunk.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Both Sue and Giles sometimes say then when discussing events that were recent in the time period they are testing yet already panned out by now.
  • Incest Subtext: In the Regency episode, Giles and Sue play brother and sister. After the first meal in that episode, Sue accuses Giles of having incestuous feelings for her and intentionally fattening her up so nobody else can have her. Giles responds by threatening to throw her in a mental asylum (something men in that era could do to their female relatives regardless of mental health).
  • Jabba Table Manners: Giles doesn't have the best table manners when he's sober and they just get worse and worse as he gets drunker as each week goes on, with him slobbering and slurping his way through meals and deliberately making a mess for the cameras. Sue plays along, but she doesn't quite reach Giles' level.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In The Victorian Episode, Sue volunteers as a server at a Food Kitchen.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Played for laughs during the Victorian episode. Sue has a Thousand-Yard Stare while eating lamb's head.
    Giles: That's the face I remember from our lovemaking!
  • Mood Whiplash: During the Wartime episode, Sue and Giles are trading sarcastic barbs... Then the air raid sirens start. An unusually somber transition occurs, as Giles outlines some of the bombings during the war.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: For the sake of historical accuracy often drinks (his body weight with every meal), gambles (in one episode getting thrown in "debtors prison"), and reacts to slights with violence (in one episode he waits to shoot poachers and challenges someone to a duel, while in another episode he almost participates in a gladiator fight before Sue talks him out of it).
  • Mushroom Samba: After taking a bath in wine and wormwood.
    Sue: Last night, I dreamt that Lord Sebastian Coe took me to the Olympic Games site in East London to show me around the new stadiums. Whereupon he dug a hole in the ground, threw me in, and put a pastry lid on top.
  • Must Have Caffeine: For the Elizabethan episode, the hosts can have all the alcohol they want, but no tea or coffee (they haven't been discovered by Europeans yet), Sue and Giles both have difficulty with this.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: During the French Revolution episode, Sue offers a look at Marie Antoinette's love of baths. For modesty's sake, she (Marie Antoinette, not just Sue) wore a gown in the bath, and would chat with guests and crochet while in the tub.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Sue is corseted in a couple episodes. Her reactions overlap with Of Corsets Funny.
  • Patriotic Fervor:
    • In The Regency Episode, Giles shares a meal with The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks, a club of British Men who preserve British Culture (specifically the British practice of eating steaks instead of minced meat).
    • During the Wartime episode, Sue and the week's cook sing about cooking their way to victory.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In The Roman Episode and The Regency Episode, Giles and Sue hand out bread to commoners. In the Roman Episode it is to get Giles reelected as Roman Senator, and in The Regency Episode it is to prevent the peasants from killing them in retaliation for kicking them off the (recently privatized) common lands.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: In the Elizabethan Episode, Giles and Sue pray before meals. In the Medieval Episode, they go on a pilgrimage to Cantenbury and Giles goes on a Crusade. The Roman Episode involves a pagan example, as Sue tends a sacred flame of Vesta and sacrifices a chicken to Bacchus.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers:
    • In the Wartime Episode, they have to eat Lord Woolton Pie for one of the meals (Woolton Pie being a pie with only vegetables as ingredients). Giles states that he would rather have eaten a "rat pie". Sue and Giles also argue about putting a squirrel into the pie, then Giles asks if they can find a seagull.
    • Subverted in the Roman Episode, in which Sue and Giles ate doormice not to recreate famine but because rats were considered a delicacy in Ancient Rome.
  • Red Scare: Mentioned during the Wartime episode. At the time, "communal" cafeteria-style restaurants sprang up. Winston Churchill changed the name to British Kitchens, to avoid "communal feeding centre" sounding too much like "communism".
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized:
    • In the French Revolution Episode, Sue and Giles play Radical Revolutionaries on one of the days. During this, they eat a picnic while watching guillotine executions.
    • In the Roman Episode, Sue briefly plays Boudica for a moment. In the narration, Giles briefly mentions how Boudica massacred three cities and killed a total of 70,000 people.
  • Running Gag: Giles does all of his vlog segments with a weird hat and a cup of alcohol.
  • Science Marches On: In the sake of historical accuracy, Giles and Sue are only allowed to use historically-accurate remedies to make themselves feel better (even if said remedies are proven today to not work). Beef-Tea to cure indigestion, Alcohol to cure insomnia, blood-letting to cure caffeine withdraw, Pomegranates and Gallbladder for Bubonic plague, etc. Likewise they avoid vegitables and milk in some eras because people in those times erroneously considered such foods to be unhealhy. Taken Up to Eleven in the Medieval Episode, when they spend a third of the episode trying to correct their humors.
  • Sex Slave: In the Roman Episode, Sue makes overturns at a male slave during a feast. In the narration, Giles points out that slaves in this era were property who could be used by their masters for sex at any time.
  • Ship Tease: Even though Sue is a lesbian, she and Giles get a decent amount of UST between them, particularly in episode The Seventies. Sue and Giles are having fondue and she suggests that he snog her if his bread falls in the cheese. When it does, Giles gives her a full on kiss with no protest from her. Later on, they hook their arms and feed each other and a bit later they show them in bed, spooning.
  • Shout-Out: Jane Austen is mentioned extensively in the Regency episode. Usually, Sue and Giles play a married couple, but here, they are brother and sister. Sue plays Giles' sister without fortune of her own who must rely only on her natural charms and accomplishments to find a husband before she is "left on the shelf".
  • Slippery Skid: In the French Revolution episode, Giles and Sue are practising the "Versailles Glide", the way that the French nobility would walk around the palace, on a highly polished marble floor. At one point Sue slips over backwards, and there is a very audible thud as her head connects with the ground. Fortunately the very large wig she is wearing seems to absorb much of the impact.
  • Soulsaving Crusader: At one point in the Medieval episode, Giles participates in the first crusade for Jerusalem.
  • Special Guest: Every. Single. Episode. Giles and Sue often invite Politicians, Celebrates, Lords, Historical Experts, and other veterans of an era to their historical meals.
  • Spiritual Successor: Giles and Sue Live The Good Life, in which they try their hands at self-sufficiency.
  • Spirited Young Lady: In the Regency episode, Sue plays an upper-class young woman who has no dowry, although her brother is a rich land-owning gentleman. She must rely on her natural charms and accomplishments to secure a husband. She tries all the gorgeous period dresses and natural beauty remedies of the era. Sue's as snarky and charming as ever, but as the episode progresses, she grows more and more desperate and her playful flirting becomes rather too vehement. An unmarried gentlewoman without money had it tough.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Unfortunately for Sue, this was the attitude of society in most of the eras they look at. Mentioned in the Restoration Episode when Giles visit a Cambridge college and Sue is denied access.
    Giles: Stay stupid.
    Sue: I will.
  • Tickle Torture: In the Restoration episode, Sue places a live snail on the tip of her big toe to demonstrate an old-fashioned method of removing corns. As the snail slowly makes its way down her sole, Sue has difficulty finishing her sentences and begins to stumble and repeat her words while stifling laughter. Sue admits to having ticklish feet and, once the snail reaches her arch dead center, she is unable to contain her laughter.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Both of them, but especially Giles, who always seems to be having just a little too much fun playing up the racism/sexism/class-ism of the historical time periods in focus.