You may be familiar with the A&E show Intervention, a show chronicling people’s journeys to get a loved one into rehab. It’s real, gritty, touching, and often depressing. Addiction is a serious problem, when presented in most situations. Unless it’s taken so far that it becomes hilarious.
Photo credit: Okko Pyykkö, Flickr
7 Jessie Spano’s Caffeine Pill Addiction
Saved by the Bell’s Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) was feeling a bit overextended. You see, Zack had an uncle who was looking for a hot new girl band… somehow performing at local burger joint “The Max” would end with the girls of SBTB being the female New Kids on the Block (which, at the time, was not meant to be hilarious). Anyway Jessie is doing way too much… class, singing, buying leg-warmers, so she takes caffeine pills. This ends with a caffeine pill binge, Zack coming to save Jessie from herself and, of course, a stirring rendition of The Pointer Sisters’ hit “I’m So Excited”.
When you wake up one day in the gutter with a bottle of Jolt Cola by your side, then and only then will you know Jessie’s pains.
6 Aaron Henry’s Steroid Addiction
HBO wasn’t always a safe haven for well-acted, critically acclaimed drama. For categorical evidence, look no further than HBO series Lifestories: Families in Crisis. Let’s be honest… Ben Affleck, not so great of an actor. And when you combine his poor acting with heavy-handed afterschool special-ish TV, you get this gem about steroid addiction. Check out Ben Affleck’s roid rage from Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story.
Roid Rage is thrown around quite a bit by the media, often in sensationalist ways. But one needn’t look further than the grounded portrayal of steroid addiction painted above to understand the gravity of the problem. Particularly the smashing, woman punching, and floor humping involved.
5 Dylan McKay’s Alcohol Addiction
Beverly Hills 90210’s Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) was always the quintessential rebel with a heart of gold. Presumably gold due to all of the Goldschlager running through his veins. Dylan liked the drugs and, more importantly, the alcohol. In the clip below, he walks into a benefit and finds that Brandon (Jason Priestly) is dating his on-and-off girlfriend Kelly (whatsherface). If there’s a problem kicking your feet up on the table and drinking wine out of the bottle can’t solve, I haven’t seen it.
Fans of the show would be dismayed to find Dylan upon his return to the show casually drinking champagne with the rest of the 90210ers. Because alcoholics who went to rehab always like to hang out with some alcohol after achieving sobriety yet somehow avoid relapses. Truly a realistic depiction.
4 Demetrius “DH” Harris’ Crack Addiction
The ESPN show Playmakers was so gritty and real that the NFL demanded the show be removed if the network wanted to continue their partnership. And by gritty and real, I mean outlandishly far-fetched and borderline libelous to anyone who’s ever played Madden, let alone actually been a professional football player. Fans were treated to sensational story lines like domestic violence, murder, homosexuality (and subsequent discrimination) and, of course, the crack addiction of top running back Demetrius “DH” Harris (Omar Gooding).
Unfortunately there aren’t any clips to be found on the Internet of the show (damn you ESPN), but the gist is as follows: DH is addicted to crack, in spite of being an elite-caliber professional football running back (a position that requires you to be in fairly good health. Health typically not associated with crack addicts, if I’m not mistaken). During one episode, DH is trying to get off crack but finds himself unable. At halftime of a game, the team trainer tells DH he’s dehydrated but DH knows better. He calls his drug dealer who brings crack to the parking lot. However, as DH tries to get to his crack, he passes out in a pool of his own vomit. He then comes to and asks a teammate to buy his crack for him. The teammate does, then helps DH smoke his crack. Seconds later, DH is fine again and plays a great half of football. Crack: the performance enhancing drug the media doesn’t want you to know about.
3 Robbie the Dinosaur’s “Steroid” Addiction
Performance enhancement is a popular source of comical addiction as the second steroid-themed entry comes via ABC hit Dinosaurs. While the show was known for its lighthearted comedy in the form of the baby violently assaulting his father while screaming “Not the mama,” it strayed into serious tones when the teenage dinosaur, Robbie, tried steroids (or the dino equivalent, in the form of live, angry-looking Koosh balls).
The clip’s a little long, but basically Robbie takes steroids, gets huge overnight, rips a sink out of the wall, attacks his drug dealer, is a dick to his girlfriend, and ends up crying after a rampage. So basically, he’s like your dad, only with less whiskey involved.
2 Michael’s Marijuana Addiction
The 80s were a crazy time… did you know there was a slightly more competent Bush in the White House at one point? Well there was! And he had a lot of great ideas, including his anti-drug campaign which resulted in this. The story chronicles a kid named Michael and his rampant uses of the horrific drug marijuana. He steals money from his sister, takes beer from his father, and hangs out with a bad crowd… including an amorphous blob of marijuana smoke cleverly named “Smoke”. Fortunately, the horrific effects of marijuana have finally manifested a useful hallucination when a group of cartoon characters appear to Michael in a drug fueled haze.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can watch the full show here. The horror of seeing Alvin and the Chipmunks while stoned out of his mind somehow leads Michael pack to a path of righteousness instead of to a box of Yodels like it does with most people.
1 Alf’s Cat Addiction
The most absurd of all of the addictions above is arguably the most heartbreaking. Alf was an alien, so his standards of addiction varied a bit. But his obsession with eating cats was fairly evident throughout the show. Alf mentioned eating a cat in just about every episode, including mocking the funeral of family pet “Lucky” by saying that a funeral for the cat was asking to “holding a funeral for a hamburger”. While his Earth family didn’t exactly enable him (other than cat-sized rolls, as pictured above), they didn’t really do anything to deter him either.
So when Alf’s addiction to eating cats manifests itself, it’s a hilarious little punchline… but when I murder a cat and eat it, I’m “predisposed to be a serial killer”. Whatever.
I want more like this!
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