January 4, 2014 by brainslightlyfermented
I often enjoy stories where a lead character enjoys a bit of a tipple from time to time. Especially when they overdo it to the point of making my own behavior look like a nun’s. If you also enjoy justifying your own poor life decisions, check out UK television’s “Black Books” (2000-2004). The show follows the miserable Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), a cynical, slobbish London bookshop owner who hates his customers and spends his days drinking wine, smoking, and reading.
“Your existence annoys me”
Bernard has no friends, except for the more-lively but equally off-kilter Fran, who owns the Nifty Gifty, a gift shop next door to Bernard. A third character, Manny, a tragically hapless store clerk whom Bernard employs, rounds out the trio of main characters. The three oddballs find themselves episode upon episode caught in a surreal parade of mishaps spawned by their own eccentric undoings. The show employs a healthy does of slapstick and includes a laugh track, yet it’s clever, witty, and makes you feel good about yourself while incorporating lots of wine. See: the wine lolly.
There is one particular episode, “The Grapes of Wrath” (full episode below), which I felt I must share. If you have ever felt the sinking agony of mistakenly drinking someone else’s prized, or otherwise very expensive bottle of wine, you will undoubtedly relate to this vinous folly of great proportions. And after viewing, you will be able to fitfully put those feelings to bed.
I worked as a clerk in a wine shop once where a customer came in needing a replacement bottle for a wine he mistook for white zinfandel. It happened to be a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Rose his room mate left in the fridge without notice. I can’t remember the vintage, but the bottle was listed as being a few hundred dollars in value at the time; enough to buy about a dozen cases of Andre California Champagne.
My verdict is that it’s the room mate’s fault for not knowing the drinking tendencies of the other. Anyway, back to the episode. “Grapes of Wrath” tells the tale of Bernard and Manny house-sitting for an acquaintance who has a very expensive, and very rare wine collection. Cringing, and hilarity ensues.