An Incomplete List of Inappropriate TV References to Sylvia Plath

In a recent episode of The Bold Type, they make an inappropriate joke about Plath’s suicide when someone was sad. It got me thinking about the ways in which Plath has become a cultural stand in for suicide and women’s emotions (which are always perceived as extra). Here is a list of totally inappropriate references to Plath. Can we not just focus on her brilliant work?

  1. The Bold Type, Season 2, Episode 3.”Writing alone is real lonely.” “Why do you think Sylvia Plath put her head in an oven?”
  2. Roseanne, Season 2, Episode 10. “How you doing there Sylvia Plath? “Who’s Sylvia Plath?” “Oh, she was a brilliant poet. Full of passion, angst, whatever”
  3. The Mindy Project, Season 3, Episode 9. “I feel Bell Jar as Hell Right Now”
  4. Scrubs, Season 6, Episode 7 “Plath stuck her head in the oven but that wasn’t an option for me becuase every time my head gets hot I need to pee”
  5. Sabrina, Season 1, Episode 14. “The Bell Jar, Three Puddings, this can’t be good.”
  6. Gilmore Girls, Episode 3, 3.
    LORELAI: You can evaluate a significant experience that’s had an impact on you…or you can write about a person who has had a significant influence on you.
    RORY: You?
    LORELAI: Or one of your authors, Faulkner or…
    RORY: Or Sylvia Plath.
    LORELAI: Hm, might send the wrong message.
    RORY: The sticking her head in the oven thing?
    LORELAI: Yeah. Although she did make her kids a snack first, shows a certain maternal instinct. (Episode 3.3)
  7. Family Guy, Season 7 episode 13. “Ok look Meg, we’ve been at this for 45 minutes I don’t know what else I can say. Here’s a Sylvia Plath book and a bottle of Ambien. I’m gonna look the other way and whatever happens happens.”