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Cheers: Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking is available September 13 from HBO Home Entertainment.

Carrie Fisher is damaged goods, and she’s the first to tell you so
by Nancy Ford

The daughter of superstar actress Debbie Reynolds and superstar crooner Eddie Fisher—Hollywood’s early prototype of America’s Sweethearts—was just a toddler when her famous parents’ divorce made international headlines. But Carrie Fisher has turned the lemons of her tumultuous childhood, and the ensuing battle with alcohol, drug, and food addictions, into lemonade. Wishful Drinking—originally a memoir, then a solo stage show—is her lemonade stand.

Now famously clean and sober, Fisher is also to be congratulated for losing some of her weight, thanks to Jenny Craig. The difference in her physique is considerable in her closing credit-recording studio footage singing the show’s theme song, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

We so want to believe Fisher’s days are happier, finally. But she just seems world-weary. Like she says at the top of the show, if the outrageous particulars of her life weren’t funny, they’d just be true. And it’s a bit painful (no pun) to wonder whether or not she’s joking about her endorsement of electroshock therapy.

There are several truly hysterical moments here, like Fisher’s informative “Hollywood Inbreeding” flowchart, and her salute to her Princess Leia legacy. But mostly, Wishful Drinking recalls that old showbiz chestnut: comedy = tragedy + time. Lots of time. It reminds us even more of the lifelong toll that irresponsible parenting takes.

And it makes us wonder if, had this brilliantly gifted woman been properly nurtured in a healthy environment as a child, she might have shared even greater talents with us as an adult. 

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