"It's fascinating - one might expect that they were high during work hours, looking at their output," said Dr. Francis Spitznagel, who conducted the study. "But apparently their states of inebriation stretch far beyond the end of business hours."It seems they need to remain impaired to withstand the ... wait, let me check my notes ... 'depressing, almost soul-crushing nature' of the work," he said. "Interestingly, almost all of them used that exact phrase."
According to the study, the substances the writers used to sustain their almost perpetual state of drug-fueled intoxication seem to vary depending on the show they work on. For instance, the writers for SpongeBob SquarePants, who generally reported the highest level of job satisfaction among the Nickelodeon writers, use marijuana almost exclusively.
Writers for iCarly, on the other hand, use "tremendous" amounts of cocaine to get through their workdays, while writers for the new Fred Show, featuring frenetic YouTube sensation Fred Figglehorn, spend most of the day huffing Dust-Off, a computer cleaning spray.
"It hasn't been officially reported, but for at least three Fred writers, the habit has apparently proved fatal," said Spitznagel. "General consensus among the surviving writers was that the victims were better off."
The constant drug use has had its negative effects on the various productions, particularly when it's spread to the performers, the study found. For instance, police were called to the set of iCarly when Jennette McCurdy, who plays Sam on the show, tore off a stagehand's arm and beat him with it in a cocaine-fueled rage.
"Then there are all those times she did that completely sober," said her co-star Jerry Trainor, who admitted to being "deathly afraid" of her.
The constant drug use at Nickelodeon stands in stark contrast to practices at rival network the Disney Channel, where the writing staffs are reportedly motivated by routine beatings.
"And starvation," added one Wizards Of Waverly Place writer who declined to be named.