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Everyone on cable TV is doing drugs

vastleft's picture

I can't put on a cable TV show without seeing someone light up or pop some pills.

Some shows are specifically about drugs: "Nurse Jackie," "Weeds," "Breaking Bad." Others, including "Mad Men" and "Californication," have it as an incidental element.

I don't watch all that much TV (there are about a half-dozen shows I watch regularly, and some with short seasons), but I've been checking out a few other shows of late and am surprised how pervasive drug culture is on the telly. What's up with that?

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Vastleft's TV list:
* "Mad Men"
* "Dexter"
* "The United States of Tara"
* "Lost"
* "Hung"
* "In Treatment" (will it come back???)

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okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Here are some more examples:

Sons of Anarchy
Rescue Me
Skins
House (ok, not only cable)
The Cleaner
Nip/Tuck

None of those are on my "must see" list (Rescue Me had been before it jumped the shark 3 years ago).

Awesome but now gone but in the "drug culture" vein:
The Wire
The Shield (this series had the most note-perfect series finale I have ever seen).

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I say it's mainly because of you're viewing habits. All these shows are focused on flawed and troubled people, many of whom self medicate to cope with problems.

I, on the other hand, who is a part of the drug culture in this country, hardly see any drug use amongst my shows.

Aeryl's TV list:
Bones-no drug use, unless by victims or perps

Dollhouse-no drug use at all, but has its own coping issues

Family Guy-occasional drug use by the dog, 1 entire episode dedicated to marijuana

Of course these aren't cable shows. One I do catch on occasion, Sons of Anarchy, as lots of drug use, but once again, flawed and troubled people.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

The right wing ideology sees people as separate and independent of situation. It argues that the solution to any problem is personal responsibility (i.e., blame the victim). This view has been hammered into us by the propaganda state for thirty years.

I think because of the increasing economic insecurity, the sense of things being out of control has become pervasive. But the 30 years of propaganda prevents a political or economic response other than to try to restrain the individual more strictly through more morality laws (no abortion, DOMA, weakened consumer protections). So a metaphor becomes resonant, as the monsters of the 50s figured fear of the cold war.

Drugs can be presented as the choice of the individual. They're illegal. They restrict the autonomy of the addict. Yet the addict can be located on a wide spectrum of sympathy, from justified pain management to excuse for other immorality. And addicts feel powerless to make the choice to quit that they know they should make.

I suspect a lot of Americans feel that things are out of their control, that they are convinced they should somehow make better or healthier or whatever choices, that they feel enough out of step with the dominant social ideology to feel vaguely illegal, and yet they fail to change. It's a resonant metaphor for living in right wing ideology.