Call it the Will and Grace of cannabis. The new Netflix comedy series Disjointed uses a spoonful of saccharine comedy to kick-start the conversation about legalized marijuana; moving it from heady political discourse to a household conversation.
Set in a fictional Los Angeles marijuana dispensary, Academy-award winning actress Kathy Bates plays Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, an earth mother who’s spent her life fighting for cannabis legalization. With flowing gray hair, sandals and an on-again off-again Jewish mother lilt, Ruth is a ridiculous caricature that’s hard not to love. Much like Sean Hayes’ “Jack” in the 90s sitcom Will and Grace, who brought humanity and humor to the sensitive issue of gay rights, Ruth brings a human touch to cannabis, bringing the still federally-illegal plant into the light.
Disjointed’s cast plays out the messy complexities of an immature market bumbling its way toward legitimacy. Included are Ruth’s bi-racial son Travis, a handful of Millenial budtenders, a commune-raised grower, a PTSD-ridden security guard, a spacey soccer mom and two hysterical Youtube pot celebrities named Dank and Dabby. They’re all overblown mash-ups of the kinds of folks easy to find in the 420 community, but have enough truth and heart to them to make them entertaining.
We especially like the cheesy YouTube ads for Ruth’s Alternative Caring dispensary advertising Blue Dream, and other sillier strains as “Strain ‘O The Day”, along with Dank and Dabby’s hilarious Cough montage and the brilliant animations that delve into the mind of post-war vet Carter.
Backstories include growing up neglected on a pot farm in Humboldt County; a veteran hiding his PTSD, but using cannabis for some relief; growing up bi-racial; the guilt of being a working mother; being stuck in a stale marriage and escaping from meth-addled middle America. Not small things. But the thread running through those stories is cannabis and the complex perspectives — pro and con, legal or illegal, medicine or party drug– each character has.
Let’s be frank: Not every moment of Disjointed is brilliant. A few tokes can make some of the painfully unfunny first episodes, ridiculous stereotypes and the god awful laugh track tolerable as the story sets itself up. Hey, there’s a lot of education to be packed into eight episodes.
This is a horrible quality video, but sheesh, nothing legit online Disjointed?
The humor and earnestness of Disjointed are both its strength and weakness, but as the country moves toward legalization, it’s an awkward conversation we need to have. But maybe it’s a little easier to swallow with a hint of Ruth Whitefeather Feldman and pinch of Blue Dream in the mix.
Available on Netflix (subscription required).