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Drinking, TV style

Drinking, TV style

I spent most of last week watching the US version of Shameless. The show, the plot of which revolves around alcoholism and poverty, is a scrappy affair that builds interest steadily, explores characters and keeps a good hold on plot development. It is a kickass viewing experience and much of it was dominated by the main character Frank Gallagher, an infuriating yet endearing drunk who lets his family of six scramble around to deal with life while he downs drink after drink and eloquently blames the government. Watching the show made me realise that in most of my favourite shows, alcohol and alcohol abuse are either plot devices (for a few episodes) or is a dominant background character (if there is such a thing.) Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland at the railway tracks were the rambling, pissed off drunks. Hank Moody from Californication was the player. Don Draper was the smooth scotch swiller. As for the gang from How I met your mother, I mean why do they even have apartments? They might as well pitch a tent at MacLaren’s and brush their teeth with beer.

There’s actually probably a lot of thought that goes into TV drinking. Drinking is not really drinking unless it’s DRINKING. Being hammered isn’t really being hammered unless the plot requires you to be HAMMERED. Getting bajaed isn’t really….I should stop. Well, as long as you get the point. If I were on TV, I could be in a bar for the better part of the day and still go home to tighten up my essay on socialism and the post-modern world. I’m never drunk till I’m required to be. In an episode of Community, a drunk dial leads to a merry vodka shot meets scotch montage of the person that got drunk dialed, putting ‘em away. The idea is that Jeff needed to settle the equation by drunk dialing Britta who drunk dialed him first. And it had to be genuine. Ding Ding. Plot point. A TV binge also makes for great comedy. Take that episode where Ross drinks himself silly when he found out that Joey and Rachel were a thing. For weeks that speech “L is for love,” was funny even out of context.

So far the best TV Drinking I’ve seen is on NBC’s Parks and Rec where the characters lose all sense of reality after downing, ‘Snake Juice’, an invented drink. The acting was so top of the line- no slurring or exaggerated stumbling- that it amazed me. The morning after scene was even funnier. I wish I could go to work with pillows scotch-taped to my head. What are your favourite TV alcohol moments?

Six television couples we love

Six television couples we love

Matt and Harriet from Studio 60

There’s something deeply romantic about these two. She’s his beautiful, spirited muse. He falls to pieces and becomes a gibbering wreck without her. Politically, socially, spiritually they’re at complete odds. She’s a star comedienne and he’s a deeply talented humour writer, so that’s a lot of funny in one relationship. She’s conflicted, he is stubborn.  But there’s something deeply romantic about these two.

Andy and April from Parks and Rec

“We’re in love, we didn’t over think it. I mean, I cannot emphasis how LITTLE we thought about this.” Best. Wedding. Speech. Ever. April and Andy are really children playing at being married. They eat out of Frisbees because who needs plates, their role play involves an FBI agent and a rich, 1920’s widow and they get a bunch of medical tests done for fun, when they learn they have health insurance. And they’re the cutest. April and Andy!

Marshall and Lily from How I met your mother

Lilypad and Marshmellow. Sigh. Where to begin. They met in college and they still tell each other what they had for lunch. She finds his calves irresistible and she knows never to bring up chucky before bedtime. He plans elaborate parties for her because she loves birthdays. “Happy happy lily day.”

Joey and Rachel from Friends

If I was friends with on again/off again/on a break/getting married/having a baby/load a gun and kill me already and whatnot Ross and Rachel, I would have slapped them. A lot. Joey on the other hand was perfect. He was madly in love with Rachel, so pretty, and he was closer to her IQ level than Ross was. Also, clearly he has better game.

Jackie and Hyde from That 70’s show

She is uptight and rich and he’s a rebel with sideburns; they are meant for each other. Unfortunately they don’t work out what with the strippers, weddings, Kelso and Fez in the middle, but Jackie and Hyde were the cutest couple on that 70’s show.

Joey and Pacey from Dawson’s Creek

Joey Potter was caught in the eternal struggle between her best friend and his best friend. Well, it happens to all of us (not really). The kids on the creek sure experimented with a whole bunch of people before a moderately bad boy swept Joey off her feet. And thank god for that. Dawson Leary is the most boring, weak-ass protagonist to roam the land of teenage romance television shows.

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