Beverly Hills 90210
Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000) is the first prime-time soap-opera
starring high school students. The starring characters are twins, Brandon
Walsh (Jason Priestly) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty), who are
sophomores when the show begins, and their family and friends. Brenda
Walsh became a Vegetarian during the run of the series, in the
4th Season episode, "A Pig is a Boy is a Dog" (March 2, 1994).
Brenda announces to her brother and parents who are at the breakfast table
that she will be a Vegetarian from now on. Brandon asks her about her
leather boots, and she says, one step at a time.
Shannen Doherty, who isn't a Vegetarian in real-life, left the show at
the end of the fourth season, and Vegetarian issues weren't explored
further. By the way, Jennie Garth who plays Kelly Taylor, is a Vegetarian
in real-life, although her character isn't.
2nd from left: Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor, 6th
from left: Jason Priestly as Brandon Walsh, 7th from left:
Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh.
Roseanne (1988-1997) is a family sitcom starring Roseanne Barr and John
Goodman. The John Goodman character does drywall, and the Roseanne Barr
character has a variety of jobs. Darlene, their younger daughter played by
Sara Gilbert, became a Vegetarian during the run. In Season 5, in the
episode "Lanford Daze" (January 26, 1994), Roseanne is the owner of a
"loose-meat" (Sloppy Joes) restaurant. Darlene protests by drawing the
chalk outline of a cow outside her restaurant. Darlene's boyfriend implies
that Darlene is a hypocrite, since as Roseanne's daughter, she is
indirectly profitting from the restaurant. Darlene is upset and feels that
charge has merit. Personally I don't consider that hypocricy, since
Darlene can't control her mother.
In real life Sara Gilbert is a Vegan and did an anti-dissection video
for PETA. The character of Darlene, however, eats pizza, presumably with
Sara Gilbert as Darlene Connor.
Friends (1994-present) is a sitcom on NBC about six friends who live
near each other in Manhattan, and like to drink coffee in a restaurant
where a sofa is always waiting for them. The character of Phoebe was a
Vegetarian from the beginning. Phoebe shows concern for animals, and saves
Marcelle the monkey in one episode, and in many episodes performs a song
of concern for a cat which goes, "Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they
feeding you? Smelly cat, smelly cat, it's not your fault."
In the episode, "The One with the Fake Party" (March 19, 1998), Phoebe
is pregnant and gets cravings for meat. However, she doesn't want any cows
to die on account of her. Joey offers not to eat any meat during her
pregnancy so that she can and the same number of cows will die. The
episode ends with Phoebe eating a pastrami sandwich which Joey looks at
longingly. Not an ideal portrayal of a Vegetarian. It's true in real-life
that some previously Vegetarian women decide to eat meat during their
pregnancy. But they don't have to, and this episode promotes the myth that
women need to eat meat while they're pregnant. Pregnant and nursing women
need vitamin B12, but it doesn't have to be from meat.
In another episode, the characters visit Las Vegas. This episode, "The
One in Vegas Part 1" (May 20, 1999) has unfortunate dialogue something
Phoebe: A woman just handed me a coupon for steak and lobster for only
Monica: You don't eat animals.
Phoebe: For 99 cents I'd eat you.
However, they didn't show Phoebe eating that dinner in the episode, and
in the 2001/2002 Season, Phoebe takes her Vegetarianism more seriously.
There were scenes in separate episodes of that season in which people
tried to pressure her to eat chicken and fish and she refused. In one such
episode, Phoebe goes out to dinner with Rachel and her father, Dr. Green,
and he wants to order chicken for everyone, and the dialogue is:
Phoebe: I don't eat meat.
Dr. Green: It's not meat, it's chicken.
Phoebe: Yeah, well, I don't eat that either.
By the way, the flesh of any animal is meat, even though the word is
often used to refer to beef.
In another episode, Phoebe's boyfriend, played by Alec Baldwin, tries
to get her to eat an oyster and he won't listen when she says she doesn't
want it, and so she takes it and drops it on the floor. Ironically, in
real-life Alec Baldwin is a Vegetarian animal rights activist who has done
promos for the Humane Society.
From left to right: Courtney Cox, who plays Monica Gellar, Lisa Kudrow
who plays Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston who plays Rachel Green.
ER (1994-present) is a drama about doctors and nurses who work in the
emergency room of a Chicago hospital. It airs on NBC Thursday nights and
is one of the highest rated shows in the history of television. While I'm
not one of the show's many viewers, I've been told that Dr. Peter Benton
(Eriq La Salle) is a Vegetarian. Dr. Peter Benton was a regular unitl his
highly-rated goodbye in the middle of the 2001/2002 Season.
Another character on "ER," Dr. Maggie Doyle (Jorja Fox) is also a
Vegetarian. In the episode "Whose Appy Now?" (February 6, 1997), the
character practices one-handed suture with an eggplant-skin instead of
practicing with a pig-skin, and explains it's because she's a Vegetarian.
Jorja Fox is a Vegetarian in real life.
Jorja Fox as Dr. Maggie Doyle......................................................................
Blossom (1991-1995) is a family sitcom about a teenage girl named
Blossom Russo (Mayim Bialik) who lives with her single father (Ted Waas),
and two older brothers (Joey Lawrence and Michael Stoyanov). Her best
friend is a girl named Six LeMeure (Jenna von Oÿ),
In the episode "Meat" (January 24, 1994), her father decides that the
family should eat vegetarian for health reasons. Blossom is enthusiastic
and makes vegetarian lasagne for a soup-kitchen. Her brothers are
less-enthusiastic, and her father has second-thoughts himself. The family
eats "spaghetti and wheat-balls" for dinner. The dialogue between her
father Nick and brother Joey goes something like:
Nick: This food is bland. Because they don't like the spaghetti-and-wheat-balls, they return
to eating meat.
Joey: It's insipid.
Nick: I didn't
know you knew that word.
Joey: I didn't until I ate this food.
(Note: Thanks to Laura K. for helping with the
Jenna von Oÿ as Six, Mayim Bialik as Blossom, and Joey Lawrence as
The X-Files (1993-2002) is about two investigators into strange events
which may be connected to space-aliens. The camera-friendly leads are
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dr. Dana Scully.
In the episode "Red Museum," (December 9, 1994) the investigators look
into strange violent outbursts by teenagers in the town of Delta Glen, WI,
"in the middle of cow country." A sheriff, Mazeorski, urges Mulder and
Scully to look into a local religous group led by a man named Richard
Odin, who bought a ranch, stopped killing the cows, and renamed the ranch
the Church of the Red Museum:
SCULLY: What's the significance of the name "Red Museum?"
MAZEROSKI: Well, Odin and the rest of them are a bunch of Vegetarians.
They drove the ranch right into the ground, turned 500 head of beef cattle
into pets. Calls it a monument to barbarism.
MULDER: Probably went over big with the local ranchers.
Richard Odin greets Muldar and Scully wearing a white outfit with a red
hat, which is how the church members dress. He is reluctant to let Muldar
and Scully enter the church building, because they're meat-eaters.
When Muldar and Scully question Richard Odin, he implies that the real
question is "bovine growth hormones and inhumane treatment of beef and
At the end of the episode, Scully implies that the teenage behavioral
problems were caused by "milk and beef tainted by the unspecified
innoculant," and that the villain isn't Richard Odin, but a doctor in the
town who was giving cow's experimental injections.
The Vegetarian leader in the episode probably doesn't win fans in the
audience when he refuses to let Muldar and Scully enter his church, and
the outfits the church members wear diminishes the ability of the audience
to identify with them.
While Muldar and Scully eat meat, David Duchovny is a Vegetarian in
David Duchovny as Fox Muldar and Gillian Anderson as Dr. Dana