“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” had a handful of episodes that took on super dark topics for a kids’ TV series. Particularly, one episode in Season 2 titled “Health and Fitness” shows Maddie (Tisdale) and London (Song) tackling the concept of eating disorders in an understated way.
The episode surrounds the two polar opposites preparing themselves for a fashion show. While they practice their walks and do fittings for their looks, they also take on the task of preparing their bodies for the runway. As Vogue reports, eating disorders in the modeling industry are rampant due to unrealistic beauty standards. London and Maddie each take different — and unhealthy — approaches to this that reflect disordered eating behaviors.
London, for example, essentially starves herself to the point where she is light-headed and unable to function, even stumbling on stage. Meanwhile, Maddie, who is trying to gain weight, binge-eats to the point of discomfort, burping down the runway. Both approaches show different extremes of what eating disorders can look like without explicitly saying it. The episode also shows the girls looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection that is exaggerated from their actual appearances, which is a hint at the body dysmorphia going on in their minds.