As Seen On TV: In this infamous episode of Saved By The Bell, perfectionist Jessie Spano starts taking over-the-counter caffeine pills in order to keep up with the rigors of high school life. In the span of 22 minutes, we see Jessie pop her first pill and become a full-blown speed addict, eventually collapsing in Zack Morris’ arms after experiencing a brutal comedown. She was so excited and then she was so, so scared. After realizing she had developed a caffeine problem, Jessie vowed to never touch the awful stuff again!
In Reality: I’ve never taken caffeine pills (LOL, who has?) but I did take an Adderall once during my freshman year of college. Even though it’s probably 10x stronger than a No-Doz, I never got “Jessie Spano” high. Instead, I got distracted from studying and cleaned my room before finally settling down to take a Myspace quiz for FIVE HOURS. Needless to say, I also vowed to never touch the stuff again.
As Seen On TV: Historically, smoking weed has been portrayed as the devil’s drug on television. Remember on 7th Heaven when Matt had a joint in his drawer and his parents nearly pooped their pants in fear? The effects from pot have always been overly exaggerated on TV to keep conservatives happy. In this episode of Freaks and Geeks, however, marijuana is finally shown in a truthful light. Lindsay gets too stoned so she enlists the help of her Christian friend, Millie, to calm her down. She also gets paranoid about Millie waking up her dog which, let’s face it, is totally something a stoned person would freak out about.
In Reality: Weed is mostly whatevs. You laugh, you eat, you freak out about aliens and then you smoke some more. The only time it gets really crazy is when you eat an edible. Then you could actually hallucinate and lose your damn mind. Unfortunately, it’s happened to me before. I went to a house party after eating an edible once and spent the next three hours trying to walk out of the front door and call a cab. I was too stoned to dial though so someone had to do it for me and escort me to the car. The whole time I was thinking “WEED DID THIS TO ME?! REALLY?”
As Seen On TV: My favorite TV portrayal of cocaine addiction has to be Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hills, 90210. Despite never having touched drugs in her life, Kelly becomes a total cokehead psycho after her father bails on their lunch plans. For the next few episodes, her and her artist boyfriend Colin hole up in their Venice Beach loft and do tons of blow. Occasionally they’ll leave to rent a limo and go shopping, or buy more drugs at a place that resembles a crackhouse. Kelly finally quits coke and goes to rehab for two episodes. It’s never really mentioned again.
In Reality: Coke does make you bitchy and on edge. However, you’d have to be Rick James status to go into the near-psychosis Kelly and Colin went into. Also, just because you’re coked out doesn’t mean you forget how to use a hairbrush. I’m looking at you when I say that, Kelly.
As Seen On TV: In a very special episode of Dawson’s Creek, Andie McPhee steals Jen’s Ecstasy and takes it at a rave. She ends up having a blast (as she should, it’s ECSTASY) until she gets lightheaded and ODs on the jolly jump. Apparently it had an adverse reaction to her anti-depressants, which is why she went from loving life to being in a light coma so quickly.
In Reality: I’m not on anti-depressants so I can’t vouch for the validity of Andie’s OD, but I found Ecstasy to be pretty intense. My body felt like it was vibrating and my jaw was doing strange cokey things. Sure I felt mildly euphoric but it ultimately wasn’t worth the social shame I experienced from petting strangers.