A Guide To Watching TV When Drunk

Television is made for people. However, you need to your show pick wisely. Here's the definitive guide to matching your TV show to how drunk you are.
Publish date:
Updated on


It’s anywhere between 10pm and 3am. You've stumbled home, either taking the rash decision to stop at a 24-hour Tesco and buy whatever high-calorie low-cost item took your fancy or going down the thriftier route of emptying your fridge of everything that wasn't deemed edible when sober. It’s not quite time to pass out in your clothes and wake up ashamed in the morning yet, so you turn on the TV – only to find that there is nothing to watch. Watching TV when drunk is an art form not unlike a one night stand – when done right it can help ease you into sleep, but done wrong, it can leave you disappointed and dissatisfied. Here's a handy quick-fire guide to helping you choose what drunk TV is right for you:

I’ve Had Only A Few

You were probably only supposed to go for one drink, which always means three at the very minimum. Going home tipsy can seem crap because you were just so close to being properly, satisfactorily drunk, but the result is a perfect state to watch slightly more complicated shows. You’re still awake and ready to stuff your face for an hour or two, meaning that the ideal option is a longish drama isn't overly challenging but kind of feels like it might be. I would prescribe Hannibal, Game Of Thrones, Mad Men; anything with a decent storyline but also enough sex and gratuitous violence to keep you interested.  The drunk brain that sincerely believes everything you say after a few drinks is charming and intelligent is, to its credit, infinitely forgiving: any plot holes can be generously overlooked in favour of embracing the spirit of the thing. Just don’t bother with Doctor Who. You will never sink enough pints to make that mess make sense.


5 Beers That Will Make You Forget Lager Ever Existed

My Homebrew Nightmare

I Overdid It A Bit

Maybe you only meant to stay out for a few drinks and somehow ended up doing shots off the bar or entering a drinking contest with a stranger. That’s okay. It happens to everyone. To me, this is the perfect level of drunk to watch television - too far past tipsy for anyone to believe your claims of sobriety but together enough to pass as a reasonable human being. Anything with a plotline that the average ten-year-old couldn't comprehend is beyond you now, as is anything that requires intense concentration. Luckily, this is also the criteria for the majority of reality TV shows – The Apprentice, Come Dine With Me and Embarrassing Bodies are all good shouts, as the combination of drunken anger and people more stupid sober than you are pissed come together to form the perfect viewing experience. Shouting at people is a wonderful group activity, but make sure your company is at least as drunk as you are – nothing makes you look more like a tool than giving abuse to a TV screen alone.

It Was A Heavy Night

This level of drunk is best achieved with a beer bong and ruthless friends. You've probably garnered some randomly placed injuries that can’t be accounted for, and somehow acquired a garden gnome. Perhaps you even threw up on the way back to yours – that’s fine. The poison is out of your body now. It’s time to watch some TV. Your best bet at this point is anything relatively short: the prime options are pretty much any comedy Channel 4 started to put out between 1990 and 2007. This means Spaced, Peep Show, Black Book, The IT Crowd or at a push, Green Wing – pretty much anything where the jokes seem really clever but actually would only pass over the head of an absolute moron. These programs are just as good sober, but the silliness that twelve double vodka and Cokes can inspire gives you a never-before felt kinship with Jez and Bernard Black. This is television at its most friendly and relatable. The only possible downside of such enthusiastic next-level viewing is that you may watch four episodes in a row, pass out, and wake up ten hours later to three empty family-sized bags of Doritos and a sinking sense of shame.

Fuck, I Can’t Stand Up

This is really the end of the line. It took you six tries to get the key in the door and although you’re pretty sure you only have one cat, you can see four. Realistically, the only sensible choice to make at this point is to go to bed. You won’t remember anything you watch and it’s a dead cert that you’ll fall asleep mid-program. However, the state of your liver suggests you’re an old pro at ignoring the protests of your body and so you’ll inevitably want to watch some television and inhale some brightly coloured junk food that will make a surprise reappearance ten to fifteen hours later. It’s advisable to pick something you've seen a hundred times before or is essentially the same program over and over again. This is where seemingly entertaining but really sub-par American sitcoms come in – anything of a How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory or Two And A Half Men nature. It doesn't matter that you’re pretty sure you fell asleep for ten minutes or got briefly distracted by spilling water all over your laptop – the jokes are predictable and any gaps can easily be filled in by recalling previous punch lines of the same nature. Don’t feel bad that you’re not taking anything in – it’s okay. Shitty sitcoms are a drunk’s lullaby. Sit back and let the laugh track soothe you to sleep.