Pick your poison

Miss Thropist’s recent ode to addicts got me thinking about the often unrealistic portrayal of drugs and alcohol in popular culture.

Ok, so I know “drugs are bad”, but don’t audiences deserve a little respect and honesty in the portrayal of harmful substances? The after-effects of certain intoxicating substances are comically misrepresented so often that I feel compelled to share my favourite drug-induced media moments.

So pour yourself a large glass, or roll up a fatty, and enjoy the apparently hysterical effects of various poisons…


What a fabulous coincidence that as I was penning this post and half watching TV, I looked up to see West Bev’s surfer chick Ivy “getting high”. Ivy takes up smoking weed to help conquer her newfound fear of the water. I can understand smoking cannabis to relax you, calm the nerves, chill out a little, but to then go on to surf some crazy waves with energy and elegance is a little hard to believe. If anything it’d be more likely to increase her paranoia about the water and bring on a full-on freakout.

The OC

It’s just a short drive from Beverley Hills to Orange County, for a show that absolutely taught you not to mess with drugs. Just look at the sticky end of troubled teen and sometime alcoholic Marissa. But my favourite OC drug incident takes place when Ryan’s older brother Trey Atwood assaults Marissa because he was “so stoned he didn’t know what he was doing”.  Utterly ridiculous! Serious stoners can barely muster the energy to get up and look a snack to satisfy the munchies, let alone find the energy to attempt rape!

Glory Daze

College (or university if you’re in the UK like us) is the place to experiment with drugs,  so it’s not surprising that this faux 80s show has been quick to hit us up with comedic portrayals of drug use and abuse. When the typically uptight Jerry visits his son for Dad’s Day, he accidentally spends the night in resident druggie Stankowski’s room, inhaling his “magical” cure for his chronic back pain through a ventilator. He wakes up, seemingly cured of his back troubles, and dances like he’s at an 80s disco, bending his back in ways even a able-backed person might struggle with first thing in the morning! Now I know there’s such a thing as medical marijuana and I’m sure it’s a great pain reliever, but this crazy dad dance moved the show into completely unbelievable territory.

Ugly Betty

Now onto one of my favourite shows, which has a rather suspect representation of alcoholism. Firstly, Claire Meade and her inconsistent battle with the bottle. After she accepted her problem and sobered up, it seemed that it was ok for her to start drinking again. In fact, she was never without a glass of champagne at the Mode parties. And wasn’t it just convenient that Claire’s long-lost son Tyler also had alcohol issues? (Not to mention the fact they reunited in a bar, his place of work.) Recovering alcoholic Tyler couldn’t even touch a drop of liquor without turning psychotic, further highlighting Claire’s alcoholic irregularities.

The Big Bang Theory

Alcoholic hijinks are an important part of this popular nerd show. Especially when it comes to shy scientist Raj, who can’t speak  to women without a bit of Dutch courage. It’s certainly true that alcohol helps the courtship process along and builds the confidence when talking to the opposite sex, but to go from being a complete mute around the ladies to a smooth talker with just a sip of beer is a little hard to believe. I guess it’s the placebo effect of alcohol that really works for Raj rather than the drug itself. In my experience, guys who aren’t good with women sober only get worse with booze.

The Breakfast Club

The number one incident of drug misrepresentation can be found in one of my all time favourite films. Emilio Estevez’s angsty jock tries a little weed, presumably for the first time, and experiences a sudden and intense burst of energy, leading to an incredibly lively dance routine that has to be seen to be believed:

Call me sceptical but when in the history of smoking cannabis has this ever happened?  If that’s what weed really does for you I might have to start smoking it again.

I’m sure there are plenty more ridiculous antics out there in pop culture and I’d love to hear about them. Be sure to let me know your favourite drug-related inaccuracies!

5 thoughts on “Pick your poison

  1. Awesome! OC again later on when Marissa’s little sister turns up. She smokes weed habitually, and Seth tries it and is suddenly addicted?! No sense.

  2. Haha, I love it, especially the Breakfast Club scene! I seem to remember the same kind of thing happening in Girl, Interrupted- Winona Ryder’s character has one toke and is suddenly really stoned.

  3. Yea, I guess curling up into a ball and demanding cookies would make for a less iconic scene :). And look how sexy he has become to the Queen of Dandruff?

    I love it the most on TV when characters act outrageously only to find they weren’t inebriated at all. Except I can’t remember when this happened… maybe a glass of wine would help.

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