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Posts Tagged ‘TV sitcoms’

Pills and Programming: 3 Notable TV Moments

by admin on: February 18th, 2011

Television sitcoms often deal with serious issues by injecting them with a good dose of humor. Often, sitcom episodes use prescription drugs as a backdrop, and surround the issue with character interactions and realities concerning drugs and medicines. While the real consequences can be quite serious, these shows deftly negotiate the story lines without the adverse effects. Below are three classic episodes from sitcoms that show the lighter side of prescription drugs.

King of Queens: “Papa Pill” Episode in Season 3
This episode focused on Doug???s attempt to take care of Arthur, Carrie???s father. Getting Arthur to take his medication was as difficult as piling a cat! When Doug tried to sneak medication to Arthur, Arthur outsmarted him and took the ???Big Blues??? (pills) and slipped them in Doug???s sandwich. The scene quickly transitions into Doug???s experience which is reminiscent of a hallucinogenic trip.

As many have experienced, keeping older parents on a prescribed drug regimen is difficult. This is often because older patients are not compliant???they do not want to take pills because of how the pills make them fill or they may be difficult to swallow, etc. Arthur attempted to show Doug exactly what it was like to take his prescription and, while humorous, the situation is eye-opening.

Seinfeld: “The Diplomat???s Club” in Season 6
In this episode, Mr. Pitt (Elaine???s boss) mistakenly assumes that Jerry is a pharmacist and asks Jerry for a medication. Jerry simply hands Mr. Pitt a box of what he was restocking (Kramer had previously knocked over a display) which, unfortunately for Mr. Pitt, is contraindicated with Mr. Pitt???s heart medicine. Mr. Pitt, later fires Elaine because he thinks she planted Jerry in the pharmacy in order to give him harmful pills, and that Elaine is attempting to kill him.

This episode of Seinfeld used a humorous case of mistaken identity to show that drug interactions can have serious consequences. Though Mr. Pitt???s experience was funny in the context of the sitcom, drug mix-ups like the one portrayed do result in several deaths and trips to the emergency room. This episode should remind everyone to check to see whether medications they currently take have the potential for drug interactions.

That ???70s Show: “The Pill” in Season 1
During this episode, it is revealed that Jackie is pregnant. Faced with the possible realty of pregnancy herself, Donna decides she would like to go on birth control. Eric (her boyfriend) is encouraged by this action, thinking that he and Donna may soon have sex. However, the real humor in this episode focuses on the surrounding characters??? (the parents) reactions to this news.

The high-point in the humor comes towards the end of the episode when Eric and Donna are sitting in Eric???s car talking about having sex. Donna hints that it may happen in the near future. Eric immediately begins asking if that time is ???now??????then asks again and again. As the episode closes, they start walking home together. Upon approaching the house, Eric’s father hoses him down with water, telling him that it is for his ???own good.???

This episode from That ???70s Show not only deals with social issues (teenagers having sex), but also perceptions regarding drugs. Using humor, this episode touches on real emotions that different generations face, while providing a backdrop for tongue-in-cheek humor.

Taken together, all of these episodes provide something more, making real issues a ???pill??? that is easy to swallow when injected with humor.