Nancy's Drug Problem


1971 | 00:08:35 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: Film or Videomaking, Humor

In this short but provocative tape, recorded August 4th, 1971, Carol Vontobel “interviews” Nancy Cain who is speaking about her “coke addiction problem” under the pseudonym Nancy X.  Nancy’s addiction, the viewer soon learns, is not to cocaine but coca-cola. As such, the segment unfolds as a spoof, both playfully calling attention to the proliferation of depictions of, and conversations about, the pervasive use of drugs in the U.S. in the early 1970s.

Referred to as a “soft drug” for which there is no formal program for coping or combating addiction, Carol and Nancy’s dialogue about this type of “coke problem” pokes fun at the over-legislation of youth subculture by authorities seeking to contain it, while also gesturing towards the ways in which capitalist consumption of consumer products, such as coca-cola, are infectious. By maintaining their composure throughout the parodied interview, the Freex’s performance anticipates and resonates with today’s popularized form of parodied news reportage, such as the Colbert Report and the Daily Show. In effect, Carol and Nancy take on imagined personas of reporter and subject before the camera, but leave a message that remains open-ended, and characteristically lighthearted.

— Faye Gleisser


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