Now Starring CPAP – The Top Ten List of CPAP Cameos in Film and TV

CTA Button - CPAPRX4You can probably think of a few famous medical masks that you’ve seen on either the silver screen or maybe even the small screen. There’s the oxygen mask that Dennis Hopper’s frightening character wears in Blue Velvet – Bane’s mask in The Dark Knight Rises. Yet, there never seems to be a legitimate reason why they wear those masks – except for dramatic effect. I mean, was Bane prescribed that mask by a doctor? Also, why don’t we see more CPAP masks on television and in the movies? Surely, with so many people diagnosed with sleep apnea, you’d think that there would be more characters on TV and in the movies undergoing CPAP treatment, right?  Here is the ultimate list of the times CPAP has made a cameo in either television or the movies – seriously, there should be a Golden Globe category for this stuff.


1.  Leonard Leakey Hofstadter in the Big Bang Theory

Wisp Nasal Mask System

  • Two frame options: Fabric Frame for a softer touch or Clear Silicone Frame for a more traditional feel
  • Clear field of view for a more comfortable therapy experience
  • Cushion is small and lightweight with minimal contact with the face

Leonard Leakey vs Wisp

CTA Button - Resmed3Nerds rejoice – The Big Bang Theory is a show that celebrates the more cerebral side of life; a breath of fresh air from the sensationalism and money worship of reality television. Indeed, the award winning sit-com celebrates the mind more than purses, cars, or that really fancy new Japanese restaurant in town. And one of the leading stars of the show – an experimental physicist named Leonard Hofstadter – apparently has sleep apnea. In the second season, Leonard  remarks, “Let’s just eat so I can get to bed. With any luck tonight will be the night my sleep apnea kills me.” However, Leonard wouldn’t have to worry about his sleep apnea killing him if he simply underwent CPAP treatment. If we were to prescribe Lenny with a CPAP mask, it probably have to be the Wisp Nasal Mask System, because it is extremely lightweight and has limited facial contact – perfect for a physicist with sensitive skin.


2. Mike in Mike & Molly

Mirage FX Mask System

  • Minimalistic design that only has four parts
  • Forehead support is designed to easily flex to the needed position for a better fit
  • Air vents designed for quieter and gentler air diffusion to reduce noise

Mike vs Mirage FX

CTA Button - Insurance2This is one of those shows with a premise so preposterous and funny that it almost seems like it could really happen, especially as obesity reaches drastic and pandemic levels. Mike and Molly meet and fall in love at a Chicago Overeaters Anonymous meeting and the rest is history. The show gives those hopeless romantics out there a chance to imagine that their soul mate is out there somewhere. Also, Melissa McCarthy, the embonpoint actress who plays Molly is one of the funniest actresses alive today. In one scene, Mike and Molly finish doing what couples do. Instead of pillow talk, Molly reaches for her laptop and when she turns around, Mike is wearing his CPAP mask. Molly is obviously taken aback, but Mike assures her that it keeps him from snoring – to which Molly retorts, “That’s just what makes it so hot….please leave it on.” In this particular episode, Mike is wearing the Ultra Mirage™ II Nasal Mask System, but he should really be wearing the Mirage FX Mask System, which is a quieter and more effective mask – perfect if you are sleeping next a girl you just met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.


3.   Patrick House in The Biggest Loser

Nuance Gel Mask System

  • Non-slip headgear stays in place throughout the night
  • Light-weight and flexible tubing
  • High-performance look that reduces nasal irritation

Patrick House vs Nuance Gel

CTA Button - RespironicsFeaturing overweight and obese people competing for a cash prize by losing the most weight, The Biggest Loser is a reality show befitting (albeit physically ill fitting) of the times.  Just like there are five stages of grief, there should also be five stages of watching The Biggest Loser: indifference, curiosity, shock, awe and unbridled addiction to watching it, which is accompanied by an inability to change the channel. There have been many contestants on The Biggest Loser with obstructive sleep apnea and who underwent CPAP treatment, but none held ours hearts in his enormous hands with so much compassion like Patrick House. Patrick entered the show an unemployed father of two that tipped the scales at 400 pounds – at the end of the show he was 200 pounds lighter and an inspiration to millions – not to mention he also won $250,000; that’s enough money for a lot of dinners at Benihana.  What was Patrick’s secret weapon? Time and time again, and throughout the season, Patrick contributed CPAP treatment to not only helping him lose weight, but he also said that CPAP therapy has helped change his life and allows him to “stay on his A game all the time.” We’re not sure what mask Patrick used in the show, but it would probably be something like the Nuance Gel Mask System, which is a nasal pillow mask, which is one of the most comfortable and advanced nasal pillow masks on the market.


4. Owen Thoreau, Jr. in Men of Certain Age

Zest Q Mask System

  • Refined design of the air diffuser to minimize the sound associated with exhalation
  • Glider strap anti-leak system allows for freedom of movement while maintaining the seal
  • Glider clip strap release makes removing the mask easy and maintains the headgear adjustments

Owen Thoreau vs Zest Q

I guess the world isn’t ready for a show about a bunch of middle age guys who are getting older and who hate their lives – I guess reality, even in a fictional format, is not very palatable. The show was canceled after only two seasons, but not without winning a coveted Peabody Award first. The show also featured Ray Romano, but I guess not everyone loves Raymond. In the pilot episode – aptly titled “Powerless” – Owen Thoreau, a diabetic who works at a car dealership that is owned by his father – a retired pro basketball player, is realizing that life’s dreams come crashing down on you hard, like a Bangladeshian garment factory. In the first episode, we are introduced to Owen who is sleeping with his CPAP mask on – as he should. Owen’s sleep apnea and CPAP therapy actually becomes a part of his character on the show, which is unique in a drama series. In fact, Owen’s wife is the one that convinces him to wear a CPAP mask – probably because she couldn’t take his snoring anymore. It looks like Owen is wearing some kind of nasal mask, like the Zest Q Mask System, which is one of the quietest nasal masks on the market.  


5. Andy Richter on Late Night with Conan O’Brien

Swift FX Nano System

  • Low-profile nasal cushion that provides natural breathing comfort
  • Ball joint elbow that moves with you while you sleep
  • Includes optional soft wraps for added comfort and extra defense against facial marks

Andy Richter vs Swift FX Nano

Long before Andy Richter controlled the universe, he was a struggling comedy writer in a sea of other comedy writers. A former prom king and the son of a gay day, Andy Richter had tons of materials for a promising comedy career. Sometime in the early 90s, Andy met Robert Smigel – the voice and puppeteer behind the cigar chomping Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. A few years later, Smigel hired Andy as a Conan’s slightly rotund sidekick on his long running Late Night Show that famously came to an end in 2009 after Jay Leno’s famous temper tantrum. During one of the episodes, Andy tells Conan that he has obstructive sleep apnea and shows him his CPAP mask. This is how Andy describes sleep apnea: “Sleep Apnea is God’s inclusive way of making us fat people awake each day thinking we’re in the movie Alien.” In the segment, it looks like Andy is wearing the ComfortFusion Mask System.  Are you kidding me, Andy?!  I think it’s time for an upgrade…  We’re thinking the Swift FX Nano System, the latest nasal mask from Resmed.


6. Ruxin on The League

Swift FX Bella Gray Mask

  • Offers two different ways to wear the mask, depending on personal style and comfort preference
  • Easy and quick to fit with minimal parts for ease of use
  • Exceptional softness, simplicity and stability

Ruxin vs Swift FX Bella Grey

FX has become a genre-defining network – putting out brave comedies and action packed dramas that people actually want to watch, like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Shield. FX has also brought us The League, which is a show set in Winnetka, Illinois and features the inner lives of a fantasy football league – seriously, it’s hilarious. In season one, episode four, the gang decide to stay at a hotel and spa for some rest and relaxation. In one scene, Ruxin is wearing a CPAP mask in bed next to his friend Taco – Taco rolls over and remarks, “Hey, nice night bong….what smoke shop did you get it at?” Yes, you could confuse a CPAP mask as a bong, but only if you’ve taken enough bong rips to look at the world like one giant Pink Floyd song –even a shoehorn looks like possible drug paraphernalia to a serious pot smoker.  In the episode, Ruxin is wearing the Breeze SleepGear Mask System with DreamSeal.  That night bong needs to be upgraded to the Swift FX Bella Gray Mask because it’s the newest model of the ResMed FX family of products and is dynamite.


7. Junior Soprano in The Sopranos

Pilairo Q Mask System

  • Self-inflating AirPillow™ Seal and minimalist headgear
  • One of the lightest nasal pillows masks
  • The ultimate CPAP for freedom of movement

Junior Soprano vs Pilairo Q

Set in the concrete wilds of New Jersey – the Mafia capital of the U.S. – The Sopranos was basically one giant Mafia epic that took place over six seasons, in one-hour segments – every Sunday night on HBO. The series broke a lot of boundaries in television and in the cinematic portrayal of the American gangster. Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, went to therapy. Vito Spatafore Sr – a minor mobster character – was a closeted homosexual. Also, Junior Soprano – the aging mobster – is prescribed a CPAP mask for his obstructive sleep apnea after a heart attack scare. In one scene you see him get fitted for a CPAP mask by a doctor, and in another scene a technician helps him try on a full face mask at home – a nurse tech offers this advice: “It will ramp up to 8 pounds per cubic inch – and it will keep your airways nice and open when you are sleeping.” If an aging mobster can handle a CPAP mask – it is pretty safe to say that anyone can. We’re not entirely sure which model he has, but if he were smart, he’d use the Pilairo Q Mask System, which was inspired by the aerodynamic flight of the world’s lightest little bird – the hummingbird.


8. Fred in Hall Pass

Amara Gel Full Face Mask

  • Minimalist design that looks and feels smaller and lighter
  • 20% lighter and has 60% fewer parts than the leading full-face mask
  • Any size cushion snaps into one mask frame

Fred vs Amara Gel

Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson (and his nose) and Jason Sudeikis, is one of those movies that will instantly be forgotten about – you’ll probably forget about it by the end of this article. The movie’s premise is simple: their wives give them a one week hall pass to basically do whatever they want. What do they do? They go nuts. In one segment of the film, the guys – Fred and Rick – go out and get smashed. After a night out on the town, we cut to a nondescript budget hotel room where Fred and Rick are passed out – Fred is wearing a CPAP mask and is undergoing CPAP treatment. It just goes to show you, even with a hall pass to do whatever he pleases, Fred still chooses to undergo CPAP treatment – it may even increase his chances with the ladies. In the film, Fred is wearing the ComfortGel Blue Full Mask System, but we can’t give him a Hall Pass on that one.  He should be wearing the Amara Mask System, which is a simple and comfortable mask system that has an easy “one-click” cushion.


9. Anita De Marco in Orange is the New Black

Quattro Air for Her

  • The lightest full face mask on the market
  • Patented dual-wall cushion with enhanced design at the nasal bridge makes it more comfortable
  • Only four parts—the fewest of any leading full face mask—for easy cleaning and assembly

Anita vs Quattro Air for Her

Netflix, the digital movie rental and streaming site, has been busy doing two things: killing dinosaurs (Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, etc) and producing incredible dramatic and comedic programming – competing with the likes of Showtime and HBO with shows that include House of Cards and the gritty new prison comedy-drama series Orange is the New Black. The show is based on the real-life memoirs of a woman who was incarcerated for transporting drug money and features the lives of a cast of characters locked up in a woman’s prison. In the first six episodes, we get to know a character by the name of Anita De Marco who has just suffered a massive heart attack and must undergo CPAP treatment if she wants to save her life. Anita’s role is important because is just goes to show you: orange isn’t the new black – CPAP treatment is. If we were to recommend a CPAP mask for Anita, we’d recommend the Quattro Air for Her.  It’s so light that it’s really the only mask she’ll want to have with her when she makes her escape.


 10. Angela in The Office

Swift FX Bella Pink Mask

  • Offers two different ways to wear the mask, depending on personal style and comfort preference
  • Easy and quick to fit with minimal parts for ease of use
  • Exceptional softness, simplicity and stability

Angela vs Swift FX Bella Pink

There is a good chance that people are still reeling from the end of the critically acclaimed awkward comedy The Office, which was the American version of the British comedy created by Ricky Gervais. The Office was famous for giving viewers a very realistic peak into the inner lives of a group of low to mid-level workers at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin. The comedy portrayed in the series was a cringe-worthy variety that at times made you want to close your eyes, but how could you. One character in particular stood out – for her love of cats and for her rather judgmental view on life. In one episode – entitled “Money” – she lets the world know that she suffers from sleep apnea. Out of all the characters, you’d think that Stanley would be the one who has the disorder – mainly because of his rotundity. Although we don’t see Angela wearing a CPAP mask, we do see Dwight giving Angela her things back after a break and one of those things is a CPAP machine. If you look at the screenshot, you can tell that the CPAP machine is the ResMed S8, but what she should really do is upgrade to the ResMed S9 AutoSet, because it auto titrates and get her a nice Swift FX Bella Pink Mask to boot!

CTA Button - CPAPRX3