TV Vomiting Hall of Shame

by Robert Nagle on 4/30/2008

in observations,Offbeat/Humor,Pop Americana,Video/Multimedia

July 10 Update: To accommodate the groundswell of public support, I have formed a Coalition to Prevent Gratuitous Vomiting on TV facebook group.

Maybe when you read my recent complaint about too much vomiting on TV, you thought I was exaggerating.

I wrote:

I don’t watch much television except when eating. I have my basa fish or frozen pizza on my TV table next to me while I am watching TV. That is why I never want to see vomiting depicted in any TV show or movie I am watching. You’d be surprised how often vomiting appears on prime time TV. First, for comic effect (South Park, Bernie Mac Shoe, etc), cute clue to being pregnant (Sex and the City), gritty realism (any cop show), human transformation to alien species (Buffy, mostly bad sci fi movies), funny postscript to a night of drinking (How I met your mother, etc). You think I exaggerate. But if I can watch TV for a week vomit-free, that is a minor victory.

But yesterday I sat down to each my fish dinner, and one minute after I turned the TV on (it was the Jay Leno show), I saw a wedding groom barf (for real) on a funny Youtube video. It was a good comic video, but it was offensive (especially because I was eating while watching it).

Do you feel there is too much vomiting on TV? Let’s start a campaign to boycott any shows with vomiting! To start with, you can draft a letter to your local TV station,

Dear NBC–Affiliate,

Last night I was watching Jay Leno, and I witnessed vomiting on air. It was embarrassing and morally offensive. I believe that vomiting is an private act between an individual and his toilet. When you display vomiting on mass media, you glamorize the physical act of vomiting to our nation’s youth. You give the mistaken impression that vomiting is a way to be popular or gain cheap laughs. Also, you send the message that indiscriminate vomiting is an accepted lifestyle choice. In fact, from a strictly Christian perspective, nothing in the Bible sanctions these gross displays.

I write with a certain first hand knowledge. When in high school, a classmate accidentally barfed on me while running to the restroom. That event has traumatized me to this day. Watching vomiting on TV only reopens those scars and insults the suffering of victims like myself.

Instead of exploiting the act of vomiting, can you stick to traditional TV themes we know and love? Like sexial deviance (CSI), serial dating (Seinfeld), wish fulfillment of overweight men (Drew Carey Show), social bigotry (All in the Family), public humiliation of teenagers (American Idol) and conspicuous consumption (Dallas, Price is Right, etc). These themes reaffirm values that make America the great Christian nation it is today.

Sincerely,

Robert Nagle,

President, National Anti-Vomiting Media Watchdog Group

The Anti-Vomiting Media Watchdog recommends this label before a show: Warning: The following program contains graphic depictions of vomiting which may offend some gastronomically sensitive viewers. Parental discretion is advised.

Here is an ongoing list of heinous depictions of vomiting. I encourage readers to submit their own reports.

Also I have included a rating system (from 1 to 5)

  • Comic/Dramatic Value (CDV): Was the dramatic payoff enough to justify the vomiting? 1=totally unjustified, 5=Shakespearian vomiting
  • Explicitness (E): Was the vomiting too explicit or depicted with close up angles? 1=hinted at, 5=Totally grody close ups!
  • Warning (W): Was the viewer properly notified in advance that the vomiting would be coming (so they could turn on the mute button or change the station): 1=no warning, 5=properly warned

TV Depictions

Jay Leno, Youtube video (April 22?), vomiting at wedding  Youtube video. (DCv: 3 , E: 5  W: 1).

American Experience (PBS). George H.W. Bush (May 6). Graphic video footage of George Bush Senior vomiting on Japanese P.M. Miyazawa. Interesting perhaps for historical reasons and tastefully portrayed, but wouldn’t a headline have sufficed? Instead we have partial video footage and several still images. (DCv: 1 , E: 1  W: 3).

American Funniest Home Videos,  Oct 19, baby spews on a crib. Gross (DCv: 0 , E: 5  W: 1).

Battlestar Galactica, Season 1 “Hand of God” episode. Poignant vomiting scene (DCv: 4 , E: 2  W: 2).

Bill Moyers Show. August 21. during a health care segment. (DCv 5, E: 3, W: 1)

Big Bang Theory, The Jiminy Conjecture“, (DCv 1, E: 2, W: 3)

Entourage. Season 5, “The All Out Fall Out”.  Johnny Drama Chase vomits at a sweet 16 party.  I actually found this funny.  (DCv: 5 , E: 4  W: 1).

Family Guy, 8 simple rules for buying my teenage daughter episode,  in Season 4 is the most famous where they have a vomiting contest. (DCv:  2 E: 3  W: 4). Interestingly, the backwards time travel episode Yug Ylimaf in Season 11 visits that same scene (DCv: 4 E: 4 W: 3)(DCv: 1 , E: 5  W: 3). But it needs to be pointed out that vomiting occurs so frequently on this show that I have given up counting.

Flash Forward. 4 times throughout. Woe is me. They have a pregnant woman, a cancer patient receiving chemo and a drunk cop.  A satanic trifecta of  upchucking  (DCv: 1 , E: 2  W: 2).

Friends. The One in Vegas Part 2, Season 5. Ross and Rachel are drunk and come staggering out of a wedding chapel. They don’t barf, but barfing noises could be heard on the end. (Note: there are some disagreements whether they merely fall and say “Oomph” or whether this is bona fide vomiting).  The writers are savvy enough to keep the vomiting offstage, but this does not give them a blank check (DCv: 2, E: 1 W:3)

Glee.  (Season 1, Ep 5 The Rhodes Not Taken). 2 vomiting scenes — and this was the first complete episode of Glee I actually watched! (DcV 1, E:  2 W: 2).

House, Birthmarks episode.  (Season 5) Guy talking to daughter, barfs and dies (DcV: 4, E: 3, W: 1).

How I met your mother. Probably several instances. Not A Father’s Day (Lily vomits in the trashcan)  (DcV: 2, E: 4, W: 3). There’s one more, but I can’t remember. The Mermaid Theory (CdV: 4 E: 3  W: 3). Challenge Accepted (Season 6) is pretty groundbreaking. Vomiting becomes a key plot device, plus added lots of suspense and drama. As much as I hated the gratuitous spewing all throughout this episode, I concede that it was very well played  and deserves a Vomitorium  award  for Best Portrayal of Vomiting in a Comedy(DcV: 5+, E: 5+, W: 5+).

King of the Hill. Bills are made to be broken, Season 4, Bill D. vomits at the beginning of the show at the thought of someone breaking his football record (DvC: 0, E: 2, W:1)

Lost. Gosh, it seems like every other episode has vomiting. Pregnancy, Sickness, Drug Addiction, Cancer. (DvC: 1, E: 4, W:2)

Jay Leno, May 9, Youtube video. Comic animal video of a cat vomiting. Totally sick. (DCv: 2, E: 4  W: 1).

My Name is Earl. Season 4, Episode 2 Monkeys Take a Bath.  Totally uncalled for. (DCv: 1 , E: 4  W: 1).

New Adventures of Old Christine. Several episodes. Because Christine plays a lush, this is to be expected.

Red Dwarf. Several episodes.  I’m generally more forgiving of vomiting in space.

Simpsons. Viva Ned Flanders, Season 10. I forget the context, either Homer or Ned are in Los Vegas and vomit. (DCv1, E: 1, W: 2)

Sopranos. Members Only Season 6.  I watched this show for the first time (in Albania!), saw a random woman vomit. Actually a lot was going on in this show. It was pathetic (DCv: 1 , E: 3  W: 1)

Third Rock from the Sun, Season 5, Dial M for Dick. Jane Curtain can be heard in the background vomiting on two separate occasions. (DCv: 4, E:  1 W: 2)

Today Show, October 16, 2009. Young 6 year old Falcon (aka Balloon Boy) vomits during live Today Show interview.  Spontaneous, funny but a little sad too. Poor boy! At least he didn’t vomit the day before during Wolf Blitzer’s interview.

Two and a half men, “Sara Like Puny Alan” episode. Season 1. Two, Vomit Doubleheader! First, Charlie  vomits over the balcony of his beach house. 5 minutes later, his brother Alan does the same thing. (DCv: 4 it was pretty funny , E: 1  W: 1). Update: Vomiting seems to be a recurring motif;  the bathroom is a prominent room on the set

South Park. Really it’s pointless to mention the episodes with vomiting. It would probably be more useful to point out the ones which don’t have vomiting.   Special mention needs to be made of the episode “The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerBalls” where the kids write a literary work so bad it causes people to barf after reading.  I still remember the scene of a staged reading of the book in China where the whole audience vomits into individual bags. (DCv: 4 it  was pretty funny , E: 1  W: 1).

Film/Video Depictions

(Obviously, there are lots of vomiting scenes in R-rated movies. I can mention the more grotesque examples. I want to call special attention however to movies where the vomiting seemed unnecessary or gratuituous):

10 Things I hate about you. Teen romantic comedy. Prom vomiting scene. Ooh, what a surprise! (DCv: 1 , E: 4  W: 3).

Army of Darkness. This Samuel Raime film is tarnished by a Gulliveresque scene where the character vomits over a miniature version of himself.  (DCv: 4 , E: 3  W: 2).

Brewster McCloud. Shelley Duvall pukes.

Bring It On. During a montage of the cheerleader contest, a girl barfs atop her coach. I actually enjoyed this (DCV: 5, E: 5, W:1)

Car Wash. An irritating affluent woman brought her luxury car to the car wash because her 6 year old son was puking. The window was open and she kept telling him not to puke outside the car — but just to puke out the window — which he did at 10 second intervals. She asked the people to wash the puke out of the car, and then a few scenes later — she said to the two workers who had been working hard to clean it — that she noticed a speck of vomit on the exterior.

“Lady,” he said, “that’s not vomit. That’s a blemish on the paint job.”

“Are you telling me that I’m wrong?”

“I look at cars everyday, and I’m pretty sure I know the difference between vomit and a paint blemish.”

“Well, then,” the lady replied, “because you missed that, I’ve decided not to give you a tip.”

(The car wash attendant throws up his hands in dismay and walks away from the car that drives away).

“Come on (the boy’s name),” she said.  (Starting to drive). ” Darn it, we’re now 10 minutes late for the party.”

(Scene of the 6 year puking again– this time in the direction of the steering wheel — and the camera!) Quick cut.

(DCv 5, E: 3, W: 5 — probably my favorite example so far)

Juno: I could have sworn there was vomiting here, but unsure.

Knocked Up. The female character vomits over a celebrity on a TV entertainment show. One or two other vomit scenes if I recall (DCv: 4, E: 3, W: 5)

Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend. The gluttonous man spews.  This 1906 video shows that even in Edison’s time it was possible to create decadent entertainment.  (DCv: 1 , E: 3  W: 1).

Say Anything. Pro forma vomit scene at graduation party. No big deal.

Stupid Girl, Music video starring Pink. Gross explicit vomit scene at the end. (DCv: 2 , E: 5  W: 2).

July 2011 Update. I have forgotten to update this listing. Rest assured that I am still  finding  vomit scenes everywhere. I think there are interesting social and cultural influences which are causing so much onscreen vomiting. I will write about that soon.

Dec 2011 Update. It looks like TV Tropes has been catching up to the Vomiting Hall of Shame.  Now it has become three tropes: the Vomit Indiscretion Shot, the Vomit Chain Reaction,  and Waterfall Puke.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Rajiv Bakulesh Shah May 2, 2008 at 12:00 am

Hahaha. :-) I knew you were a good technical writer, but I didn’t know you were a good humor writer too. Keep it up. Thanks.

Jasko May 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm

This made me laugh thanks. I just have discovered your site and I am impressed how much useful stuff you have here, thanks for sharing.About Tv – I am trying to reduce the consumption of mainly idealess Tv programs. The benefits are huge. (But I would hardly resist Jay Leno).

Doug Warren May 13, 2008 at 9:41 am

I agree with you. I am also fed up with the silly belching and the shots to the nuts. I think that they have run out of ideas.

Cat August 3, 2008 at 11:32 pm

I agree, I think it can get really ridiculous sometimes.

I dunno, I even watch stuff like Forensic Files and it’s not as gross as some of the barfing videos — like cat vomits on carpet, tiny kitten throws up a lot etc. It’s like jeez, is this funny at all?

It’s really the pets (cats / dogs etc) vomiting that bugs me. It would make more sense if they were talking about how to fix it or something, but usually they’re just making fun of them.

Maybe I’m just a stick in the mud. :(

Linda Moore January 15, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I am so sick of all the vomiting on TV and in the movies I could just barf! Seriously, you can’t sit down with a bowl of soup, a pizza with the works or anything like homemade potpie and not find yourself a witness to someone throwing up. I wish the censors would pay more attention to this type of depicted behavior.

Disgusted in Pennsylvania

Ryan " Watch Full Episodes Of TV Shows" June 7, 2009 at 4:03 am

I will forward this post to my friends. Can I? Thanks

devan January 17, 2010 at 8:12 pm

i totally agree with this. i don’t see how some people find it cool or hilarious. it’s disgusting. especially when i’m eating. i’m also emetophobic (fear of vomit) so i think there should be an end put to it.

Hey September 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I’m emetophobic since I was a child, I understand you, and I’m totally agree with you.

Dean Treadway July 27, 2011 at 12:28 am

More for your movie vomit list. Many of these are excellent movies, but they contain vomit nonetheless.

The Exorcist — Linda Blair as the devil-possessed girl Regan vomits into the face of one priest, and on to the cassock of another. Probably the best vomit scenes of all time.

Team America: World Police — Trey Parker and Matt Stone keep up their vomitorious record by producing the longest (puppet) vomiting scene in movie history. Also a great scene.

Blood Simple — Dan Hedaya spews up white stuff after being kicked hard in the balls; he also upchucks blood in two separate scenes.

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life–Terry Jones as the insanely fat Mr. Creosote projectile vomits powerfully and destroys a French restaurant in the process. The scene ends with the entire restaurant’s patronage vomiting onto their plates.

Larry Crowne — Tom Hanks cleans the throw-up off a mechanical horse for an embarrassed mother during the opening credits sequence. At least it happens post vomit.

Super 8 — Two projectile vomits from the most nervous kid in the crew.

Water for Elephants — Robert Pattinson vomits in an alleyway after learning his parents have died.

Bridesmaides–Vomit galore (at a wedding dress boutique) after the girl’s eat tainted meat. The ultimate taboo broken–a glorious shot on one girl’s long hair getting vomited upon. I did think this was sort of funny.

Little Fockers — Ben Stiller gets a facefull from a kid while at the dinner table.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer — Judy get vomited on while on a roller coaster. They used this shot in the commercial!

Goodfellas — Ray Liotta vomits while digging up a corpse.

American Graffiti — Charlie Martin Smith does the deed after a heavy night of drinking. At least he does it offscreen.

The Right Stuff — Jeff Goldblum and Harry Shearer are seasick and vomit over the sides of a military vessel. The vomit stays sickeningly on their lips.

The End — Burt Reynolds spews forth a mouthful of pills and sour milk on to a glass table; the scene is inventively shot from underneath the table.

Stand By Me — the vomiting of the blueberry pie scene…

Barry Lyndon — Lord Bullingdon takes a moment to asperate vomit while a duel with out title character is in progress.

Airplane! — After everybody eats the food-poisoned fish, you know what happens…

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl — Terry Gilliam, as a London bobby, vomits into his little hat during the “Crunchy Frog” bit.

Apollo 13 — It’s Bill Paxton, I think, who vomits in zero-gravity. A first.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin–Leslie Mann vomits up alcohol on to Steve Carrell’s face; his follow-up line is superb. I think Judd Apatow is becoming the king of movie vomit scenes.

There are a LOT of bad movies that have vomit in them. But I try and forget all the bad films I see, and I try to see as few as possible. Anyway, I though 20 would be enough for right now.

Gunnar Boycott August 31, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I looked up the topic, “Too much vomit on TV” to see if anyone else felt the way I do. I, like many others, often eat while watching television. We had a TV in our kitchen growing up, and what the heck are TV trays for by the way?! Well, it used to be that I knew which channels to avoid to keep from getting grossed out, which were mostly on cable. But several years ago, there seemed to be an explosion of barf everywhere on TV. Are there people who actually think the viewers crave this? Do they envision theaters filled with people pounding the arms of their seats chanting, “We want puke!” Is this based on the success of the Jackass TV show and movies? Using barf as a selling point for a show or film is a pretty good indication that someone is out of ideas or just a dumbass desperately trying to cater to people who like gross out. I feel insulted that I’m paying big bucks to a movie where someone has intentionally tried to make me uncomfortable. They sell food at movies. Don’t mess with my appetite! Thing is, it’s getting so overdone that they’re desensitizing a certain demograpic to it and it will lose it’s intended effect when it’s for dramatic reasons, or even shock value or gross out. Do they think that’s an actual draw and that people will be disappointed if there is NO barf? Spielberg, I’m so disappointed in you! You’ve sunk to that level. As soon as the kids in Super 8 left school and a kid talks about someone who barfed, I knew gratuitous puking was on the way. After the first scene, I spent the entire rest of the movie prepping for when I was next going to have to turn my head to avoid getting grossed out. The movie was disappointing anyway due to rehashing a story, which you practically rehashed again in Cowboys and Aliens (have you lost it?). It went from implied, to gratuitous, to real. Fox is now the barf network of network TV. I hate when commercials use a barf take in the previews with no warning. My kids are getting grossed out. It’s not safe to eat around television anymore because you could be watching a children’s show, but then a commercial with a barf take comes on (TV Dinners anyone?) I used to cope with the off camera or implied, but when it got explicit, gratuitous, and real I crossed a heck of a lot of channels off my list. I cancelled my Direct TV because of it. Some day, two chick and a cup won’t be considered extreme any longer and it will be on the big screens at the cineplex. I became emetephobic as a young child, but I didn’t learn about the term until adulthood. I avoided movies where I heard there was barf, or if it was gross and people in the crowd might get sick. I never watched a movie a second time that had a barf take, or bought a video cassete or DVD or video game of a movie, no matter how great, if it had a puke scene (never saw Minority Report twice, didn’t buy the DVD or video game, and to hell with Super 8 Mr. Spielberg). Thank goodness for Screenit, and when I’m feeling brave, I can manage to turn right when I know somethings coming, but I felt like the odd man out until I found others feel the same. I’ve learned that around 1 in 4 people are emetaphobic. Sure, you movie moguls can make money hand over fist with movies like The Hangover, but you’ve immediately cost yourself 25% more viewers because of how gross we’ve heard it is. Can we get a freakin break, especially during commercials when we’re watching something totally unrelated and uexpected of seeing something gross?! The entire viewing population has not raised it’s tolerance levels and is OK with this disgusting television. If there’s a positive side to this, is I’m reading more and the TV is off most of the time. I wonder if your advertisers knew how many people you’re driving away from television, whether they’d have something to say about it…

Emma September 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I recently watched the most vomity episode of TV I’ve ever seen, and was not at all grossed out. It was, once again, How I Met Your Mother, and the plot line of the episode is as follows:
Lily buys Marshall his favorite soup from a very unsanitary restaurant. After eating a bit of his soup, she heads back to work. While talking to her class, she suddenly vomits, and realizes she has food poisoning. She calls Marshall to warn him, but he doesn’t answer, so she is forced to run home and stop him (vomiting on the way in a garbage can). She stops him right before taking his first bite- of his third bowl. Marshall calculates that if he ate the soup exactly three hours after Lily, he has exactly “three hours to live”. After several vomit jokes (“I wonder which end it’s coming out of Lily?” “I bet it’s her tooshie.” “I bet it’s BOTH. Woooshhhh woooshhh!”) and Marshall being completely unable to care for his sick wife, he leaves for his dream job interview, hoping not to vomit during the interview. He manages this, and rushes home. He starts telling Lily how he’s had the worst year ever, what with the death of his dad, and she tries to say something to him, but he tells her he wants to shut his eyes before he gets sick. He wakes up the next morning, completely healthy, and shouts “Lily! It’s a miracle! I didn’t get sick!” And she (STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS) responds “I know baby. I’m pregnant.”
Now, THIS is a valid reason for vomiting, and it was not disgusting at all, seeing as the vomiting is not at all gross, and is very comedic (the sound of vomiting is replaced with dinosaur sound effects).

art goto October 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I think public vomiting is the most satanic act on the airwaves, but the first time I saw someone puke in the big screen was Shelley Duvall in Brewster McCloud. Later Richard Dreyfuss did the ‘Singing Rainbows’ in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Recentley, I saw a San Diego Chargers wide receiver perform the ‘Technoll Color Yawn’ in week 2 against the Patriots. Enough of the madness!

Artemis Gordon.

Robert Nagle December 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

EMMA: I generally agree with your points (and the dinosaur noises were a good substitute). But I found grueling the sheer repetition of noises and vomiting references. It is amazing how much that series gets away with in terms of sexual innuendos.

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