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Mad Men may have opened the doors to a new style of on-screen drinking, borrowed from actual drinking habits of the 1960s, but the recession made it ever more acceptable for dramas, particularly workplace dramas, to portray drinking in all the ways that Donald Draper and company do.
This was 1998, and the Friends’ cushy lifestyle still looked attainable. There was no war (that we were aware of in rural California), no $13 trillion dollar deficit, no 9.2% unemployment rate, no housing collapse. We lived in a Disneyland of sub-prime mortgages and college loans, APR financing and shopping malls and our Boomer parents waved their magic Mastercards and told us that, someday, we could be anything we chose.