Network television might be the most conservative of media channels, but that doesn’t mean a few sly stoners haven’t snuck their way onto the small screen over the years. Here are a few of our fave sitcom stoners.
John “Dr. Johnny Fever” Caravella- WKRP in Cincinnati
A worn down 60s survivor, Howard Hessman’s washed up rock jock hits rock bottom by the late ‘70s when he takes the morning man gig at the moribund, last place FM station in the Queen City. Johnny seems destined to sleepwalk through his days like a half dead radio zombie spinning Herb Alpert tracks, until fresh faced, tight jeans wearing new station manager Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) switches up the format from elevator music to AOR.
Liberated and rejuvenated by the healing power of guitar fuzz, the good Doctor begins doling out the musical prescription for a growing audience of Ohio river valley commuters, and even shouts the previously taboo word “Booger!!” on air.
Along with his partner in hipness and fellow DJ Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid), Johnny Fever was voice of reason in a nuthouse, and a staunch defender of blues, R&B and roots rock against the evil forces of disco cheesiness that were lurking all around.
Known to enjoy a bit of herbal self-medication, Dr. Fever shuns the harder stuff, though he’s seems to be perpetually coming down when not in the radio booth. WKRP was a modest cult hit, but ahead of it’s time, and only became a smash in syndication, where you can still sometimes catch the Fever, as Johnny tries to maintain his eternal cool in a churning sea of kooky co-workers. Also, he dated the mousy but strangely sensual Bailey (Jan Smithers), a dream babes for discerning nerds everywhere.
Rev. Jim Ignatowski –Taxi
The most sad sack, burnt out wreck in the motley gallery of beautiful losers employed by the Sunshine Cab Company, “Iggy “ was a lovable denim clad weirdo; a gentle soul with a rambling, spaced out philosophy on life that teetered somewhere between incoherent idiocy and zen poetry.
A counter culture war casualty, Jim had once been an upright, wealthy Boston scion until one bite of a “special” brownie flipped a trigger in his brain and sent him down the yellow brick road of Love-In’s, protest rallies and freak outs that apparently never ended. He was so blasted that he changed his birth name of Caldwell to Ignatowski because he thought it spelled “Starchild” backwards. There was a brilliant, inventive mind somewhere under all that drug induced sludge that deposited on his brain.
Iggy’s spaced out, trippy cadence proved to be a perfect showcase for the genius comedic timing of Christopher Lloyd, and it likely would still be his most famous role to this day, if he hadn’t knocked his head on the toilet bowl and invented the Flux Capacitor that sent Marty McFly back in time.
Hyde –That 70’s Show
Frankly, the whole damn cast of this artificial retro throwback show would have qualified, but it was Stephen Hyde (Danny Masterson), with his bushy sideburns, band T-Shirts and amber tinted shades, that looked like the most obvious poster boy for conspicuous consumption in the “Me decade.”
He’s also the most probable of the gang to be carrying, and it’s usually is tightly rolled joints that get puffed and passed around in those spinning 360 shots. Also, he worked in the Foto Hut for old school hippie dippy Leo (played by Tommy Chong) who is pretty much the prototype of all stoner comedy characters to ever.
Tim Bisley –Spaced
Simon Pegg was the writer, co-creator and star of this brilliantly meta masterpiece that aired on Britain’s Channel 4 at the dawn of the Millennium, and helped launch the careers of his pals Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz).
In the series that started it all, Pegg plays Tim, a slacker who is profoundly ambivalent about moving forward in life, but is such a deeply passionate dork, he once got sacked from his comic book shop gig for obsessively arguing with customers about the bottomless awfulness of the Star Wars Prequels.
Unlucky in love, would be cartoonist Tim and wannabe writer Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) pretend to be a couple so they can get a sweet deal on a London flat, despite barely tolerating each other at first, but this is TV, so you know how that goes. All the minor relationship drama was just a backdrop for the clever and funny send ups and homage’s to comic book, video games and other nerd orgies, many of which triggered directly from Tim’s toked up hallucinations.
Neil-The Young One’s
The sleepy eyed center of the whirling maelstrom of this anarchist Reagan romp, beatdown Hippie Neil (Nigel Planer) served as a punching bag for his house mates resident vicious, neanderthal punker Viv (Adrian Edmondson) and constantly verbally assaults by pretentious, would be revolutionary Rick (Rik Mayhall).
All the dude ever wanted to do was chill out, hit a doob and maybe cook up a pot of lentils, but he was forever getting caught up in the absurdist, fourth wall antics of this outrageous BBC2 bizzarro classic, which became a transatlantic crossover smash with heshers, comedy nerds and overly smart middle schoolers when MTV started running it midnights, way back in the crazy, pastel summer of 1985.