This week while listening to a local Dayton news program, I heard the reporter say a story was coming up about how more people than ever were having problems with alcoholism.
I thought about the story later as my mind made a list of sources where drinking is encouraged. I can’t think of too many shows and movies without someone drinking. Not even my precious “The Middle!” Frankie Heck is seen with her box of wine. Rita Glossner, too. All the NCIS programs have agents drinking and it’s usually the harder stuff. Sometimes people are drinking to excess, but mostly they’re drinking as a stress reliever or to think through problems.
If you watch old movies like me, everyone is smoking. Clouds of smoke are everywhere. They must have stopped having so much smoking on set in films when the medical community told folks how bad smoking is for your body. Smoking led to early death, and it’s also bad for the environment. I can see how that would make an impact on the entertainment industry. Honestly, I don’t remember seeing a cigarette ad in a very long time.
On today’s shows, someone is always seen drinking (tea or grape juice really). As cliched as it is, women are portrayed going for the wine as soon as they’re off work, men (some women) for their beer. In between shows — no surprise — we have ads for wine and beer. Product placement. Even in our greeting card aisles, I see “women + wine” and “men + beer” equations for a happy birthday.
Just looking at my short list, I’m not surprised that more people are abusing alcohol today. Our programs show wine and beer as an essential part of every day life. That’s not to say it’s the entertainment industry’s fault; however, it does make you wonder about how things changed when movies went from everyone smokes to “well, not so much.” Maybe more characters steering clear of alcohol as a way to cope, bond, or think would likewise impact viewers. Switch everyone to tea or coffee. Both have more health benefits. I’m sure advertising dollars will still come in from all manner of sources, especially across the pond. That’s just my cup of tea!