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The Universal Drinking Game

(Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News file)

UPDATE: Check out the 2013 Universal Drinking Game!

When friends are gathered, the TV is on and alcohol is present, there’s a good bet a drinking game is just around the corner. For any given movie or TV show, there’s a list of moments to watch for and drink to. But to save time, we’ve gone ahead and made a drinking game that will work no matter what show or movie you’re watching. After all, movies and TV shows all pull out the same tricks anyway, right? And you’re just in it for the drinking.

Without further ado, we present the first ever Universal Drinking Game. So turn on Netflix, pick something extra-cheesy, and enjoy.

Drink when…

  • A phone number contains “555”

Wouldn’t it be cooler if writers just left in a real phone number so that a random person gets inundated with curious viewers’ calls?

  • Generic facsimile of a real brand name

Yeah, let’s meet up at Burger Queen. Let me just grab my MyPod and grab a Corka-Cola for the road.

  • Bad establishing shot

Sitcoms are notorious for those shots of a nice suburban house. I wonder who actually lives in the fake house from “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

  • People who hang up phone without saying goodbye

Sure there’s a terrorist attack about to launch within the hour. But would a little bit of phone etiquette kill you?

  • A laugh track audience applauds or laughs when a character enters

The Kramer effect. I personally hate all studio audience reaction sounds, but nothing is less deserving of cheap applause than just f***ing walking onstage.

  • Montage

It saves the time it takes to, you know, actually tell a story. If you’re really hardcore, keep chugging until the montage is over.

  • Someone uses a catchphrase

Whether it’s John McClane wishing someone a “Yippee ki-yay” or Homer Simpson shouting “D’Oh!” … catchphrases are a great way for writers to make you laugh without actually writing anything new.

  • A character mentions a real life show or movie

Pop culture references are great. Bonus drinks if the movie or show referenced stars someone in the cast of whatever you’re watching.

  • Someone looks at themselves in the mirror

One bonus drink if they talk to their reflection. Two bonus drinks if the reflection talks back.

  • Acoustic indie music starts up after a dramatic and emotional scene

If the over-acting wasn’t enough, the soundtrack pulled from an Adele station on Pandora lets us know to be sad.

  • Slow motion

The opposite of a montage. We get it. This is dramatic. Move on with it.

  • Someone looks directly at the camera

Yeah, I’m looking right back at you. “The Office,” “Parks and Rec,” “Modern Family,” and every other show that says “screw you” to the fourth wall.

  • That ubiquitous red-headed extra shows up

His real name is Jesse Heiman (extra drink to anyone who knew that already), but you probably knew him as “wait haven’t I seen that ginger somewhere before?”

  • An animal acts on command

No pet could ever top Comet from “Full House.” That son of a bitch (it’s not offensive if his mom was a dog) could make me cry with a well timed bark to say “I love you, Michelle.”

  • During the credits, the “guest star” listed is someone you’ve never heard of

Who the heck is Dylan Baker, and why do I care that he’s on an episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent?”

Did we miss anything? What are your favorite shows to drink to? What movie and TV cliches just beg us all to roll our eyes and take a sip? Go to the comments and add your own rules!


  1. Eric feel free to e-mail us at [email protected]

  2. Niggaballs

    Hey here’s a tip, (loved this article BTW) at the end of a list like this, Ya know where everyone flowing it is probably too drunk too keep scrolling to check if we need to drink? Add an image that can be saved to phones or what not of just the rules of when to drink. Personally I’m watching everybody loves raymond, and then IS NOT DRINKING GAME ONLINE LIKE WTF.But yeah Add a simplified list at the end that will fit on a typical phone screen (use iPhone as a reference since its the smallest and most popular screen size) it’ll get you more page views (due to image search) and all that etc fuck I’m drunk but trust me. Your the first page I know to not have a simplified list. Still like the list tho

  3. Just A Drunk

    Any time there’s an action scene and they say “Hold on!” as if to prompt the viewer that there’s going to be an action, take 2.

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