Forget the dreaded “freshman 15.” If you think college makes you gain weight, try locking yourself in a room writing funny dialogue for city-dwelling singles or precocious bratty kids all day.

In yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, Virginia Heffernan invades sitcom writing rooms to find out why TV scribes always seem so schlubby. What she finds out may shock you:

Brownie Bites. Dunkers. Sandies. Peanut-butter cups. Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies. Keebler Fruit Delights. Teriyaki beef jerky. Salt-and-vinegar Kettle Chips. Cheez-Its. White-cheddar Cheez-Its. Junk, in other words: delectable, irresistible, shelf-stable experiments in partial hydrogenation seasoned with sugar, salt and red-orange “spices.”

But the orgy doesn’t end at snack foods. Sitcom writers, under stress to produce episodes on the fly, generally don’t leave the writers’ room for meals; instead, they have lunches and dinners brought in. Multicourse lunches and dinners.

Jon Beckerman, a creator of ‘Ed’ and of ABC’s ‘Knights of Prosperity,’ says: ‘Eating restaurant meals twice a day, every day, seems great at first. The food is delicious, and you don’t have to pay for it! Plus, you find yourself thinking, I’m trapped in a windowless room for 16 hours a day: I deserve a five-course Greek meal. Before you know it, you’ve gained 30 pounds. Which I have.’

Heffernan notes that the writers’ drug of choice used to be be cocaine. Now it’s Chocodiles, a treat for which she obligingly provides a delicious-sounding recipe. Maybe she should have provided one for apple slices instead.

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