Heartbreak and Ice Cream
"Am enjoying a relationship with two men simultaneously. The first is called Ben, the other, Jerry. Number of current boyfriends: zero."
After being dumped, or suffering some other form of romantic rejection, an adult male character will often be seen drowning his sorrows by consuming a lot of alcohol.
It is less common, however, to see women in fiction drinking heavily, so, possibly as a more socially acceptable alternative, a heartbroken woman will often be seen eating a large quantity of ice cream instead. It may also be a sign that the character has "let herself go" if this behaviour continues for several days or even weeks. If so, it will often be accompanied by other behaviours such as wearing pyjamas during the day and refusing to leave the house.
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. Sub-Trope of Comfort Food.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kung Fu Panda has Po having a psychological urge to gorge on food when he's upset. Thus when he throws back the dumpling after his fight over it with Shifu, it's a welcome sign of how spiritually healthier Po has become.
- Sherman Klump in the remake of The Nutty Professor is seen doing this, but over his massive weight.
- An obscure movie, but 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.
- Mike and 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, notably 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.
- Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer 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".
- 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. Jane takes it away from her and her 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, such as the time Robin got "dumped" by a six year old.
- According to Ted, Marshall breaks out the Ben and Jerry's whenever he has a fight with Lily.
- A rare male example happened 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).
- 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 hot fudge sundaes.
Data: I have never seen anyone eat ten.
Q: I'm in a really bad mood.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sierra from Total Drama World Tour does this when she realizes Cody hates her.
- Muscle Man from Regular Show eats spoonfuls of protein supplement following being dumped by Starla in "Muscle Woman".
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy is shown consuming large amounts of ice cream after losing his collection of chewed gum.
- In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Spongebob goes out and eats Goofy Goober Sundaes until 8:00AM because he didn't get an expected promotion.