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 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 Show, 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,
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.
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
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).
Angie Tribeca. Strangely, they have one minor character who vomits at every episode! (DCv: 5 (though it got kind of old!) E: 4 W: 2 (it got to the point where you had to brace yourself for the inevitable).
American Funniest Home Videos, Oct 19, baby spews on a crib. Gross (DCv: 0 , E: 5 W: 1).
Archer. There are so many vomiting scenes in this raunchy animated comedy for adults that I don’t know where to begin. Let’s just say that binge drinking and food poisoning is a recurring theme in this series.
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)
Community TV Show. Now that this has become my favorite sitcom, I have started to count the instances of upchucking. “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts” is when Shirley has a baby in the middle of an anthropology final. Britta determined to channel her midwife vibe tries to be helpful, but only gets grossed out by everything (DCv: 3, E: 1 W: 3 ) (Season 2 episode 22)
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) 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+).
Jay Leno, Youtube video (April 22?), vomiting at wedding Youtube video. (DCv: 3 , E: 5 W: 1).
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.
Seinfeld. “Gum” episode, Season 7. Farcical episode where Kramer has to eat an old hot dog from a movie theater as a display of support for his friend. Later, he throws up at the sidewalk. This was one of the weaker episodes, but it was significant to see the meme appear in a quality show like Seinfeld. (DCv: 2 , E: 4 W: 4)
Sex and the City. I don’t remember which episode, but I remember the night I watched it. I had mentioned to my sister and parents about too vomiting on TV — and all of them insisted that none of them could remember a single time on TV with a vomiting scene. Later that night, we were watching random TV and then SAAC came on, and all of us were half-watching it. Then the Carrie Bradshaw character (after a long party where she drank too much because she was depressed because of Mr. Big) came stumbling outside the beachouse and vomited in the dark all alone. (VOMIT AS EXISTENTIAL STATEMENT OF ANGST?) My family never argued the point again. (DCv: 4 , E: 2 W: 4)
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)
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).
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. BTW, this is one of my all-time favorite episodes (vomiting and all)(DCv: 5, 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 in this show; the bathroom is a prominent room on the set
(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).
Apollo 13. Well, this is inherent to the subject matter and I can’t fault the director for including it. (Honestly, if you went to the movie and did not see at least one vomiting scene, I’d demand my money back). Kudos to the movie for getting it out of the way and moving on.
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).
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)
Brewster McCloud. Shelley Duvall pukes.
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)
Clueless (Movie). (DCv 5, E 3: W1). Really one of my favorite vomiting scenes. Cher is happily waxing nostalgic about high school parties, and the camera pans over the entire area, ending on a scene of a boy puking into the bushes. Amy Heckerling might have thought she was going to surprise people, but as soon the camera started panning I braced for the inevitable.
Great Santini — A soldier pretending to be drunk at a dinner party pretends to vomit all over the dance area by secretly dumping Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup out from a can inside his jacket. The dinner crowd is horrified and even more so when a group of 10 soldiers run it with spoons to scoop up and eat all the fake vomit. You have to admit, that this scene requires a lot of imagination. (DCv: 5, E: 3, W: 3)
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).
Monty Python Meaning of Life. This vomit scene literally tops all. A hilariously obese man visits a fancy restaurant and overeats, then when the waiter offers him an after-dinner mint, Mr. Creosote vomits continuously for 5 minutes. I hated the scene initially, but ended up giving them kudos for sticking with a bit that long.
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).
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Mildly amusing romantic comedy where an ordinary girl goes on a date with a famous movie star. Out of nervousness she vomits at the dinner table at a fancy restaurant dinner. (DCv: 4 , E: 3 W: 4).
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.