Caffeine Junkies

April 4th-10th is UK coffee week, and there’ll be caffeine-infused events all over the country raising money for Project Waterfall which aims to deliver safe drinking water to people in coffee producing countries in Africa.

Our own playmate Ms Elaine E. Ouse is organising an event in North London at Coffee Affair, which will feature one of Miss Penn’s short stories as well as the coffee monkey rants of Miss Barista. We like to keep it in the family round here.

To celebrate, here are 10 of my favourite TV show representations of coffee loving. I’m pretty sure that (if they were in the UK at least) they’d be donating to charity all week long simply because they’d be running in and out of coffee shops trying to ensure that their caffeine levels remained unreasonably high.

Just the way that they should be.

Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)

Special Agent Dale Cooper fell in love with the town of Twin Peaks after he was sent there to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer. He had a somewhat quirky personality- as well as a belief in the paranormal- which included an almost obsessive yearning for both good coffee and cherry pie. He could often be found at Norma’s Double-R Dinner, and a suitably brewed cup of coffee was guaranteed to put an adorable smile on his face.

Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

As with his alcoholism, Giles mostly manages to keep his coffee addiction under wraps. However it surfaces during times of stress, as this quote from the third season finale demonstrates:

Xander: Here’s your cup of coffee. Brewed from the finest Colombian lighter fluid.
Giles: Thank you. Horrible.
Xander: Aren’t you supposed to be drinking tea anyway?
Giles: Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense.
Xander: Okay. But you are destroying a perfectly good cultural stereotype here.

His fondness for coffee may have been an in-joke about Tony Head’s 1980s Nescafe adverts. Which were fantastic.

Dean Winchester (Supernatural)

Just like Twin Peaks‘ Dale Cooper, Dean Winchester has huge amounts of love for coffee and pie. He pretty much seems to need caffeine to function, although he thinks that anything other than black coffee is pathetically girly and happily mocks Sam for his “half-caf, double vanilla latte” in ‘Hookman’. It’s lucky that he’s instilled a healthy appreciation of caffeine into his younger brother though- because it means that Sam’s happy to go on early morning coffee runs for the two of them. He really ought to be more accepting of Sam’s insomnia and insanity.

Joshua Lyman (The West Wing)

Poor Josh Lyman. The White House Deputy Chief of Staff worked hard at his job, regularly putting in ridiculously long hours. His (otherwise practically perfect) assistant Donna Moss pretty much only made him coffee when she thought he was about to be fired. Of course there was also the time in ‘Take This Sabbath Day’ where he was smooshed into the carpet of his office floor in a horribly hungover state. She coaxed him out of his clothes and into some bizarre foul weather gear belonging to his more outdoorsy colleague, Sam Seaborn, while she got his stuff express drycleaned. If ever somebody needed a cup of coffee, it was Josh right then. And Donna brought him one- but it was only once he’d taken a big swallow that he realised it was cold and old. He sprayed it down the ridiculous yellow overalls he was wearing, and was still in that state when the political operative he was supposed to be meeting appeared. A good dose of caffeine might have helped him not make quite such a huge idiot out of himself in front of her.

the Friends (Friends)

Friends is arguably responsible for the revival of coffee houses from the 1990s onwards. Want to blame Starbucks on someone? I’d point the finger at this lot. Although of course it was Central Perk that they were always sitting around and sipping in. They all seemed to love coffee, with the possible exception of Phoebe who was more of a tea gal. Even working in the place didn’t put Rachel (or Joey) off the stuff, at least not for long. The show spawned several Central Perk replicas- from London to Beijing– it was as much as part of the show as any of the main characters’ apartments.  And it was certainly fitting that the series ended with the gang heading off to get coffee together. I’d prefer to think of them all in stasis there together, and to ignore that that Joey spin-off ever happened.

Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson (Glee)

Kurt and Blaine’s friendship seems tied to the coffee shop that they frequent. It’s been the setting for many an adorable scene between them- from Kurt’s confession of his feelings, to confrontations with an enema-focussed Sue Sylvester. For them, coffee seems to equate to friendship. When the Dalton Academy show choir took pity on Kurt’s spying, Blaine invited him out for a cup of the good stuff, and once Kurt had left McKinley for the safer halls of Dalton Academy it was adorable to see Kurt and Blaine in the café with Rachel and Mercedes. The fact that they know each other’s coffee orders was imbued with meaning, and was the start of their romance. Want to impress a guy or girl? I suggest developing automatic recall of beverage orders, it clearly worked for them. Or at the very least it should get you a barista job.

the Crane brothers (Frasier)

As with Friends, the café frequented by the characters of Frasier was an important part of the show. In this case the place was called Café Nervosa, which isn’t necessarily the most appealing name ever. Most of the characters seemed to enjoy the coffee and ambience of the place, with Daphne’s mother even working there for a time. The poor staff had to deal with a good deal of snobbery from Frasier and Niles though, who were as fussy about their coffee as they were about their alcohol, their food and their, well, everything.

Richard Castle and Kate Beckett (Castle)

As with many cop shows, the investigations on Castle seem to be powered largely by caffeine. The giving of coffee has also taken on a larger significance. Castle tends to pick up coffee for him and Beckett as part of his excitement at being included in murder investigations, and this ritual being interrupted always signals that something’s out of wack. Beckett got especially freaked out when the actress, Natalie Rhodes (Laura Prepon), who would essentially be playing her (or Nikki Heat as the character Castle based on her is called) in a movie stole her coffee. Given that Castle bought the espresso machine for the precinct, and not for some actress, I don’t think that Beckett’s got too much to worry about though.

Manny Delgado (Modern Family)

Manny tends to display a wisdom beyond his years, and some attendant adult behaviour to go with it. He’s able to give people very helpful, insightful advice which explains why older women fall in love with him online, and why he’s allowed to get away with drinking as much as coffee as he does. I don’t think an adult ought to be downing espressos at that rate, let alone an eleven year old. But he is Colombian, so maybe that functions as some sort of excuse?

Philip J. Fry (Futurama)

Accidentally sending yourself almost a thousand years into the future would probably make someone a little less worried about health risks. Or maybe Fry was really just as stupid as he looked. Either way, for some reason he decided to spend his $300 tax rebate on 100 cups of coffee in ‘Three Hundred Big Boys’. Which begs the question, isn’t $3 too high a price to pay for a weak cup of coffee? I presume that it must be weak coffee, because it takes 100 cups before he reaches hyper-speed. Give me a quadruple shot and I’m bouncing off the walls, singing in public and running up and down stairs for no discernible reason.

Got any favourite coffee loving characters of your own? Tell us about it in the comments! Or if you’d prefer to just bring me a cup of coffee instead, I’d probably be ok with that.

8 thoughts on “Caffeine Junkies

    • Pfffffffffft tea. I’m sure there’s plenty of British characters who are obsessed with it, definitely Tim and Daisy in Spaced, for example. Ask Ms Elaine E. Ouse, she’s a tea lover.

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