Netflix’s Disjointed, a new comedy about weed, debuted on Friday night. From the trailer and the fact that the show came from the same minds that brought us The Big Bang Theory and the reprehensible Two and a Half Men, I figured it would rely on a lot of stoner stereotypes. I was so right. This show made me feel embarrassed to call myself a stoner. There were also a lot of racist jokes for some reason?
The show, set in LA, is about a former cannabis activist Ruth Whitefeather Feldman (Bates) who opens a dispensary, while partnering with her son Travis (Aaron Moten) and three budtenders whose names I had to go look up because their characters were so noxious to me. The pilot episode “Omega Strain” opens with the gang watching a YouTube video featuring Ruth’s dispensary, Ruth’s Alternative Caring, which was basically just a way of introducing the characters. There’s Pete (Dougie Baldwin), who is a caricature of every white guy stoner I’ve ever met or seen portrayed on TV. Then we meet Carter (Tone Bell) a black man and veteran of the Iraq war, turned security guard. Next we have Jenny (Elizabeth Ho), who introduces herself as “your tokin’ Asian”. At this point I almost turned off the show. Then we meet Olivia (Elizabeth Alderfer) who seems to exist solely to be a love interest for Travis. Lastly, we meet Travis, who happens to be half black. I mention this because Travis’ being biracial will be brought up constantly. After watching their video, Travis reads the first comment,”Why is the son black?” My boyfriend, who was watching with me said, “That joke tells me everything I need to know about this show.”
The writers rely on a lot of stoner stereotypes. Travis asks Ruth at one point “Can we talk or are you too high?” Ruth greets a middle aged mother named Maria (Nicole Sullivan), who comes to the dispensary looking for some anxiety relieving cannabis. Ruth comes right out and tells her that she is a stereotype. After getting her smoke Maria periodically returns to the shop to act like the stereotypical “dumb stoner”. Mid conversation with Ruth she interrupts herself to say, “Is that a chair because I am so sitting in it.” Over the credits she sits in her car, obviously too high to drive, trying to lubricate her steering wheel. There are also fake commercials for cannabis and cannabis related products in place of where the real commercials would be. One featured a lawyer offering his services to stoners who wanted to sue a company for “delaying their snacking.”
Image Source: YouTube
Disjointed is filled with casual (and at times, overt) racism. At one point Ruth tells Travis “you remind me of your father back in the day: ambitious, determined, thirsty for young white women.” When Maria (our stoner mom) returns to the dispensary the next day she has an awkward conversation with Carter the security guard. It’s at this point that we find out he’s a veteran of the Iraq war, to which she replies “Our side, I hope,” while giggling. At this point Ruth walks out and stoner mom says “I thought he was surly because he was black, but it turns out it was war.” If I didn’t know anything about cannabis, watching this show I would think “does cannabis make you racist?”
Kathy Bates does do a good job, given the material she had to work with, and there are some genuinely funny moments in the show. At the beginning while introducing herself Ruth refers to cannabis as a plant with the ability to “heal the sick, calm the afflicted, and usher in a golden age of people not being such dicks all the time.” Bates and Moten (Travis) share some good scenes, such as when he’s telling her his idea of Ruth’s Alternative Caring becoming the “Walmart of cannabis” to which she replies “Walmart is evil”. Travis then replies “You shop there.” She then replies, “only when buying in bulk. It’s bulk evil.” The cringy moments far outweigh the good ones, however. Disjointed uses the type of weed humor that was popular in the nineties, the type of humor we should have moved past by now. Now I really understand why geeks were so offended by The Big Bang Theory. I’m told it gets better. Maybe I just wasn’t high enough?
Image Source: NY Post
Did you watch Disjointed? What did you think? Share with us in the comments!