Monday, April 2, 2012
HOW COME EVERYBODY ON TV IS HIGH?! (I'd come up with something more catchier, but like many sitcom character today, I'm pretty wasted right now)
Does anybody remember this episode of "Roseanne," where Roseanne finds pot in the house, and she blames David, not realizing that it was hers from back in the day, and Roseanne, Dan and Jackie end up smoking it as one last sendoff? That was a landmark episode; I think TV Guide named it one of the Top 100 of all-time. It was the first time marijuana wasn't portrayed as some tempting drug that some devilish character was trying to peer pressure some teenager with in a special two-part episode of, "The Facts of Life," or "Diff'rent Strokes" or whatever, and their wasn't any message at the end of the show about some 800 number to call or other such warning about the dangers of some drug. It was actually a realistic portrayal of the substance, and showed that somebody could have a misspent youth and grow up to be a exceptional person, or better yet, an exceptional parent.
I bring that episode up, because I don't know when the rules changed, or how drastically did they change, but suddenly, it seems like every sitcom now, has main and/or supporting characters that are high, and I'm not talking like, that one time, but constantly. They're smoking offscreen and then entering from smoke-filled rooms, they're joking about smoking pot,... I'm not even talking about cable sitcoms by the way. The Katy Mixon character on "Mike & Molly," spends the entire show either high, drunk, or in some for of hangover mode. I've seen jokes about pot use on "Whitney," "Are You There, Chelsea," "2 Broke Girls," "How I Met Your Mother," there was probably one of "Happy Endings," but I forgot what it was. Listen, I'm not trying to be sqaure here or anything like that (although, actually using the word the term "square," in that context, probably means I am, now that I'm thinking about it) but, what the hell, does every sitcom character have to be high now? I mean, I'm pro-legalization, but Jesus Christ, not everybody smokes pot every free second.
This sudden acceptance of this as normal is somewhat bothersome to me. I'm not delusional, I realize that there's been potheads on TV since Maynard Crabbs on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis", and Scooby snacks are code, and Kramer was dealing from his apartment and all that, but it seems a little much now. It's seems they're high, just for the joke. I understand why everybody on "That '70s Show" was high, it made sense in that show. It was a smart show about stupid teenagers, who got high often. If I was stuck in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin in the '70s, I probably would too. I'm not against pot. Like I said, it should be legal, if for nothing else, tax purposes, but even if you take that out of it, it's not a drug that kills you, for certain conditions it can be used medicinally, it also means police can put more time and effort into other more critical crimes than some moron lighting up. Hell, screw the morons, if you happen to be Lennon, McCartney, Carlin, Pryor, Lady Gaga,... then, hell go ahead. If you can write like Aaron Sorkin or swim like Michael Phelps, smokes as many bongs as you want, I don't care. If you're a waitress at a diner who's to saving every penny to buy a cupcake shop..., at a minimum, that seems like a waste of money more than anything else to me.
And even if was marijuana was legal, that doesn't mean marijuana's good for you! It kills your brain cells for God sakes. Clearly not everybody's brain cells, but it kills enough. I don't know about you, but I like my brain cells. That's probably the main reason I haven't smoked pot. I spent all this time developing my brain, I'd hate to suddenly wake up one morning, and not know which state in north of South Carolina. Alright, let me put it another way for a second. Cause some of you might be thinking, that losing brain cells, isn't terribly harmful, and yes, if you're only a casual user, you know, like an "only in Amsterdam," user or something like that, a party where the entertainment choices are lava lamps or an orgy, you know, situational where it's appropriate, I can see that, but for me, if I had to choose, I think I'd rather lose my penis, than my brain cells.
Now I realize, that, well, hopefully there will never be a scenario, where I'd have to make that kind of choice. (That would be one f***ed situation to be in) Maybe I'm in the minority on this. Granted, I use my brain cells way more than I use my penis, so it's personal to me. I'd rather that statistic be reversed, but even then, with brain cells, I can imagine.... Maybe I'd be more reluctant if it was bigger, I won't deny that, but still.... I'm also not saying that because of that, I'll never smoke pot. I can't predict the future, I'm certainly not against trying it, or "experimenting" I guess would be the word, but I would be aware, and thinking, "Please don't kill my brain cells, please don't kill my brain cells-, (Rasping choking cough) Don't ever try to inhale again, don't ever try to inhale again...." It bothers me, that kinda thinking. Characters are meant to evolve, especially on TV, I don't want them all just getting stupider. In my experience, it's about 50/50, for every pothead I know who can light up and create the next "Sgt. Pepper's..." , there's one, who walks up to me, all glaze-eyed and asks if I'm selling. (Why everybody asks me if I'm selling, I have no idea. Nobody ever asks me if I'd like to buy, or at least ask if I'd want a hit. I probably wouldn't, but it'd be nice to be asked.)
I don't understand how or why this is being accepted as a norm among sitcom characters nowadays, but it really feels strange and unnatural to me. Maybe not so much that they are smoking pot, but the talking and joking about their pot use feels out of character. Some of those talented artist types I've known for years without realizing they smoke pot on a regular basis. I never noticed, and they never talked about it, and why would they? A, I didn't care, B, it obviously didn't effect them, and C, there is nothing worse than the potheads who do nothing but talk about pot all day. If that's all that's in somebody's life that in consumes their interactions with other people...- I mean, that's the definition of having no life, to me. Those zombie-esque people who walk up to you, and within 2 minutes of talking to you, ask if you get high, those are the people who ruin marijuana for everybody else. Those are the potheads that I see that make me think, "You know what, I'd rather lose my penis, than end up like that." They're annoying in real life, why are they showing up on my TV now? I find it troubling that just because shows like "Californication," "Entourage," and "Eastbound and Down" to name a few hit cable shows, (and they're good ones I might add) have main characters that smoke pot much of the time, that suddenly the sitcoms on Basic TV have to follow suit, and I feel like "Have to" is the word here. I can't find a reason for most of these basic sitcom characters to be smoking pot, much less be the ones that constantly talk about it. I have to ask, is it supposed to be funny that a character smokes pot, or is high a lot, 'cause that in of itself, isn't particularly funny. Maybe they think it's the next taboo they have to break, or something like that. Maybe all the writers smoke pot, and they're just writing real life to them. That's probably why most sitcoms outside of NBC's Thurdsday night lineup have basically sucked for the last five years or so. (I'm convinced there's gotta be somebody who's high at CBS that insists on keeping "Rules of Engagement" on the air) Hey, they're all made in California, I'm sure more than a few of the writers have prescriptions for their agoraphobia or whatever. Look, here's what I'm saying, if you want to write characters that smoke pot, go right ahead, I've written more than a few myself, but don't make a regular character a pothead just to make fun of that character being a pothead and nothing else, or write a more interesting character who smokes pot or one who "happens to" smoke pot that's even better, it's not the center of their lives, and/or at least one who has more to do than mention how much pot they smoke every other time they enter the room, or short of that, at least make them funny. You don't have to bring in Reverend Jim again, (Although that would improve most sitcoms) but if you're gonna do it, do it well, and do it so that it doesn't feel like somebody just pitched "Let's do a marijuana joke here" in the writer's room.
Posted by David Baruffi at 3:05 PM