The Reason You Drink During 'Boardwalk Empire'

boardwalk empire

I love me some Boardwalk Empire. Something about the whole prohibition era combined with Steve Buscemi's Jersey boy accent had me wooed from day 1. So I'm gonna be honest: When I read a recent article saying that one of my fave shows may have an influence on my drinking, I wasn't surprised. I mean, what's the big deal if I want to have a cocktail in the comforts of my own home?


Scott Huettel, an associate professor at Duke University, says when we watch others smoke or drink on TV, it triggers a craving within us and we tend to follow suit. And now that I think about it, he has a bit of a point.

There I am, sitting on the couch every Sunday night in front of Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire, and there's alcohol everywhere onscreen. And if I decide to have a glass of wine because Kelly Macdonald is having a glass of wine, then so be it. But I don't blame the show, even if I am a little swayed by what I see.

For the record, the article also singled out other smokes- and alcohol-soaked "vice shows" like Mad Men that could have the same impact.

But my Sunday night TV sesh is my way to kick back, unwind, and soak in my last little bit of the weekend. I'm sure there are many people everywhere tuning in and doing the same exact thing.

Not to mention, it's always been the case that we want to do and have what we see our favorite characters -- and stars -- doing or having on our favorite shows. Think of it this way: If there's ever a great outfit on an awards show red carpet, loads of women everywhere are trying to find out where the star got that dress. And it would be a huge lie if I said that when I watch the kids from McKinley High sing and dance on Glee, I didn't wish that I could carry a tune or shake it just like they do.

But that's why we watch, isn't it? So many of us spend time in front of the boob tube to escape from our everyday lives and live vicariously through our TV friends. I don't see the problem with wanting to live, if just for an hour, in seedy Atlantic City -- as long as viewers know their limits and keep it all in perspective. Now, if you're tuning in to Jersey Shore, well, that's a whole other story.

Do you think TV shows have an effect on your behavior?


Images via Play Nice/Flickr, soyculto/Flickr

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