Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Drinking in Your Television

Why is it that people in film and television never finish a drink unless it's supposed to say something? Here's the ways people handle a drink on TV, and how the scene invariably ends:

The Angst Drinker
Holds their beer/highball loosely, never really takes a sip. Probably plays with the label/straw and talks straight down into the bar, only occasionally turning to look at the person they're talking to. Deep thinking moment.

EXIT STRATEGY: Takes one actual sip, places the drink emphatically on the bar, then grabs their coat and leaves. Note: This person ALWAYS has a coat hanging folded on the back of their chair.

The Brief Conversationalist
This guy just drops by and is greeted with a "can I buy/get you a drink?" They accept the drink, have a 12 second conversation, and never touch their beverage.

EXIT STRATEGY: They just walk away, leaving the person who got them the drink stuck with the bill for something they never even tried to have a sip of. Note: Unlike real life, this person rarely gets punched in the face for being a dink.

The Casual Gathering Folk
This is any scene where a bunch of people are drinking. The drink is there simply to say "Hey, I'm enjoying some time with my friends." At no point will anyone actually drink from their glass. (See: Mother, How I Met Your).

EXIT STRATEGY: The scene simply ends, the alcohol is just a prop. Note: Sometimes a character raises their glass to their lips... this is an indication the camera will cut soon, as we will never actually see that drink make it all the way to their face. EXCEPTION: People drank their faces off on CHEERS.

The Perfect Changer
There's at least one empty on the table at the start of the scene, and they probably order another one before it's done. It will be served with less than 10 seconds left in the scene and they will never touch it.

EXIT STRATEGY: The perfect changer somehow is always able to finish the scene by reaching into their wallet, pulling out two crisp bills, and walking away. This guy is either the most generous tipper on the planet or a massive jerk. Note: Nobody in the history of film has ever paid for a drink using a credit or debit card except in the following scenarios: a) They are absolutely cranked and angry that their card has been declined, or b) They got cranked last night and left their card at the bar, then they go to retrieve it and adventures ensue.


The Non-Drinker
This person – generally a woman – "doesn't usually go out", but some stressful event (usually involving the workplace or an ex-lover) causes them to go out with their friends in an opening scene of the movie, wherein they finish their drinks. As a result they get way too drunk and make "a huge mistake", generally meaning they met the love of their life but don't realize it yet.

EXIT STRATEGY: Camera fades to black, immediately followed by them waking up with a raging hangover and not remembering what happened the night before. Note: Within 5 minutes their hangover will be a non-issue. This is forgivable, since otherwise the rest of the movie would be them shaking on their couch and wondering whether sticking their head into a cold bathtub would allow them to absorb the water straight into their brain.

The Alcoholic
Almost always a guy, he finishes his drink in every scene. Only alcoholics finish their drinks.

EXIT STRATEGY: Doesn't have one. Every scene ends with them having "another one", or with another character dragging them away against their will. Note: This person will either look like a hobo or a millionaire, there are no in-betweens. If they look like a regular person they'll have a drug problem, not an alcohol problem. EXCEPTION: Regular people can be recovering alcoholics, just not active alcoholics.

I actually don't care about the Canucks this year. Thanks NHL, for destroying 25 years of passion for my team.

Heeeeyyy... how you doing Whitecaps? You're looking mighty fine this evening...

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