As anyone who has ever worked on a sitcom can tell you, the writers room is not just the inner sanctum where a dozen scribes gather to brainstorm the theoretical contents of Courteney Cox's uterus or share their disdain for foreplay into the wee hours of the morning, it's also the place where metric tons of Red Vines, Balance bars, and production-supplied feasts from local restaurants are ritualistically devoured as part of the creative process. This weekend's NY Times Magazine comedy issue devoted a piece to gluttony in the Room, including this anecdote from a doomed spinoff that generated as many potential diabetes cases as episodes:
"Generally our eating habits are awful," says Chris Harris, who writes for "How I Met Your Mother" on CBS. He passed along a recent industry story: "The staff of 'Joey' apparently weighed themselves at the beginning of what turned out to be a grueling season and then again at the end. The net gain was around 125 pounds — more than what their lead actress weighed."
The Joey writers' collective gain of an entire actress's weight might sound impressive, but actually represents the result of the group's failure to complete a binge-eating suicide pact planned for the series' final days. As cancellation loomed, they'd hoped to have their bodies, stomachs distended by fatal doses of Brownie Bites and Hot Pockets, discovered in the Room after what would be their last rewrite session, beneath a message scrawled on the whiteboard explaining their tragic inability to address their latest set of network notes: "We fucking give up. There is no way to make LeBlanc funny without Chandler." In the end, though, they decided to go with a course of action that produced a far less dramatic anecdote about how fat and miserable the show made them.