Pro-Veg Messages in TV Shows

A couple of months ago I was home sick with a terrible stomach virus and had no where to go but the couch. So I turned on Netflix and happened upon The Wonder Years. I watched most of the first season and was pleasantly surprised when John Corbett made a guest appearance. You may know John Corbett as Aidan from Sex and the City, but my favorite character that he’s ever played was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He was the vegetarian in this film, and the most hilarious line from the movie is when the aunt asks “What do you mean you don’t eat no meat? That’s OK, I cook the lamb.” It reminded me so much of my Italian family trying to grasp the concept of my husband and me being vegetarians, which resulted in them saying they would cook fish for us. In John Corbett’s early days of acting on The Wonder Years, his character is also a vegetarian, and the parents are just as baffled as the aunt in My Big Fat Greek Wedding – whaaaat? no meat?! It was so wonderful to see a vegetarian message in a show that aired in the 80s. Corbett not only has played vegetarian characters in shows and movies, but he also lent his voice for a Farm Sanctuary video, which you can view below.

I’ve also been watching Call the Midwife on Netflix that had a pro-veg message in one of the episodes. It’s a delightful British drama that follows the lives of young midwives in East London in the 1950’s. In this particular episode, the house manager, Fred, brings a pig to live at the midwifery. He originally buys this pig as a business endeavor because bacon was in high demand at the time. The pig turns out to be pregnant, and Fred, who was going to slaughter this animal and sell it for food, winds up naming her and loving her. The midwives help deliver the piglets, and throughout the whole scene Fred is acting like the father by getting water, towels, etc. for the pig that’s in labor. After the piglets are born, Fred claims that he’s never eating bacon again. I thought it was interesting that this message was interwoven into the story line. It showed that Fred, a typical guy’s guy, found that pigs are loving and have tons of personality. As animal rights advocates say, the animal is someone not something.

To honor Fred’s character on the show, and others in the real world who are just like him, here’s an old recipe of mine that calls for fakin’ bacon. Now that’s what I call a tasty entrée with a big side of compassion!

PS – I’m not a huge fan of fake meat, but I did like the particular brand that’s in this recipe. Also, please forgive the awful pictures – my food photography has greatly improved, or at least I feel like it has!

What shows have you watched that had pro-veg messages? Please share in the comments below.

7 thoughts on “Pro-Veg Messages in TV Shows

  1. Love The Wonder Years. Love John Corbett. Love Call the Midwife. I didn’t know that Corbett was on The Wonder Years or about the Farm Sanctuary. Is he a vegetarian? I actually saw that Call the Midwife episode and I thought it was great. It seems every new show has a vegan character now. Unfortunately, it has been more negative than positive. I am happy that the topic is being discussed, but I wish it was more affirming and less degrading.

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    • I think he might be vegetarian, but it was hard to find conclusive information on it. I’m curious, which shows have you seen where the vegan characters are portrayed more negatively than positively? The only one that comes to mind for me is this awful movie that I watched recently, but I would like to know of the ones you’ve referred to. Thanks for reading and for sharing your comment!

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      • There’s three I’ve seen lately. The Millers, About a Boy, and Friends with Better Lives. In The Millers the main character’s sister and her family are vegan. The grandmother is always making snide remarks about it. In one episode she even accidentally feeds her granddaughter meat while babysitting her and is very pleased when she likes it. In About a Boy the main character’s new neighbors are vegan. They wrote the mom as being a very stereotypical hippie vegan extremist. In one episode the little vegan boy eats meat at his neighbors house and of course loves it so it becomes their little secret and usually eats meat when they hang out. In the pilot episode of Friends with Better Lives one of the characters owns a vegan restaurant. Of course there are comments made and jokes made about the food. For those that watch these shows and don’t have knowledge I’m sure their misconceptions are being validated. It’s aggravating for me as a mom who wants to raise my kids vegan that people are always going to assume I’m depriving them as the writer’s of these obviously think.

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      • Wow, thanks for sharing. I haven’t seen any of those shows so I didn’t know. That’s deeply upsetting that the writers’ own biases are being presented in these shows. I guess all we can do is break these barriers down by setting a good example of how vegans truly live!

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  2. It’s wonderful to see that there are some positive vegan messages on TV. I’ve mostly noticed the negative ones where vegans are considered strange or vegan food is assumed to be horrible, so this gives me hope. Celeste 🙂

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    • Thanks, Celeste! Someone else commented the same thing that they’ve only seen negative messages about vegans in TV shows. Do you have any examples of ones where the vegans are portrayed in a negative light? My husband and I watched the movie “It’s A Disaster” and they had a vegan character in the film that was playing a stereotypical hippie. The movie was awful and their representation of this character was completely far-fetched and off base. I am glad that some writers are doing it right, though, and it gives me hope, too!

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