NATHAN GARDNER


(Charlie Bartlett)

What’s the Matter with Him?
Other than being the principal of a high school, Nathan’s dilemma is a pretty common one: He drinks too much (Alcohol, not coffee). An ex-wife that doesn’t get along with him and a daughter who attends said high school do not seem to make his life any easier.

Alcohol Use Disorder
The DSM-V has taken the “drinking problem” of the average Joe (In this case, Nathan) and classified it according to dependence. Since we don’t see the principal go through withdrawal or his first foray into drinking (A fraternity of some sort was probably involved),  this diagnosis makes the most sense.

*Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use
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Upon arriving at Charlie’s house to punish him (Totally not weird for teachers to show up at your house, right?), Nathan admits that he had a drinking problem and just decided he didn’t need to drink anymore. Of course, this is after we know he stashes alcohol in his study. (No one who actually has a study uses it to study, everyone knows that.)

*Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at home

Susan confesses to Charlie that her dad’s drinking has caused a rift (That boats couldn’t fix) between the two of them. It appears that she and her father have not had a heart-to-heart on the matter. Naturally, that makes her a good candidate for stall-to-stall therapy in the school bathroom instead (Apparently high-schoolers don’t have great health insurance).

*Continued alcohol use despite having persistent social or interpersonal problems

It’s clear that the principal’s principles need some adjusting. He keeps up the drinking even though things with him and his daughter don’t appear to be going well.

*Alcohol use is continued despite knowing he has a persistent recurrent problem
Hiding alcohol is a dead giveaway (Not dead, just drunk) that someone knows they have a problem. This is usually their way of telling themselves they know it’s bad, but not letting the rest of the world know yet.

Is There Hope for Nathan?
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Yes! Between falling into a pool and seeing his daughter sing out, Nathan will probably stick to getting help more seriously this time around. He could always try bathroom therapy with Charlie, if all else fails.

What About…Literally Everyone Else?

In a film about a kid writing prescriptions to be popular, there are a lot of interesting characters to be found. Other disorders are highlighted briefly, but Nathan gets the most screen time so he makes for a more thorough case study than say Kip, Charlie’s mother, Whitney, or Murphy. Considering it is high school (And almost everyone attended Degrassi before showing up in this movie), there’s bound to be a lot of insanity floating around. In fact, there’s a lot of insanity floating around after high school too (And before, really always).

What Do You Think?
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