Disjointed portrays the highs and lows of cannabis

Grainne Jones

Credit: Laura Duffy

Disjointed, the new Netflix original comedy show, is showing that legal marijuana is not all highs – it has a serious side too.

The series, which is based in California where the recreational use of cannabis has been legalised, captures not only the highs of running a marijuana dispensary, but also manages to display that the use of the drug is not all fun and games.

‘Disjointed’ is centred around Ruth’s Alternative Caring marijuana dispensary, which is run by Ruth Whitefeather Feldman and her son Travis. Ruth is played by Kathy Bates, well known for her appearances in the American drama “American Horror Story”.

“I’m Ruth Whitefeather Feldman. Cannabis Lawyer, cannabis activist, and right before I opened this door, cannabis user.”

Ruth prides herself on “healping” people; healing and helping them, which thankfully is a word that didn’t roll on much further than the opening few episodes. Fortunately for Ruth, there are many people within her shop alone that need to be “healped”.

“Disjointed” doesn’t shy away from the harder hitting issues, and surprisingly manages to deal with the delicate situation of the security guard, Carter, who is struggling with PTSD after serving in the army.

The show cleverly uses slam poetry and illustration as a way to express what is happening in the mind of a veteran with PTSD to an audience that may not understand exactly what the mental health disorder is or what it entails.

“Disjointed” doesn’t push marijuana as the cure for all issues, and even highlights that using weed is not for everyone.

“For the first time in my life I felt like I was living in the moment [after smoking weed]. And as for weakness; I don’t know anyone on earth who isn’t using something or someone to cope with other somethings and someones. The only question that matters is; does it work for you?” asked one of the budtenders, Jenny, when Carter was having a PTSD episode.

Issues of paranoia also come up quite often throughout the series; a side effects that is quite common in cannabis users.

“Oh paranoia, why can’t I breed you out?” asks Pete, the in-house pot grower for Ruth’s Alternative Caring after one of the budtenders seems to freak for reasons unknown to Pete.

Ruth also cares for Maria, a wife in a love-less marriage who is riddled with anxiety. Ruth is able to help medicate Maria and bring back her ability to cope with life again.

Despite tackling some heavy issues, the addition of stoner pair, Dank and Dabby, add a light-hearted and childish value to the show, making it perfect for watching while relaxing after a long day.

The quirky couple run a famous stoner YouTube channel sponsored by Ruth’s Alternative Caring. Dank and Dabby are definitely not to all viewers’ tastes as it takes a particular sense of humour to find them funny, but their videos add the stereotypical weed user into the blend of an otherwise more serious show about marijuana.

An ongoing game throughout the series of “guess the word” keeps audiences entertained during the change of scenes; all words relating to weed of course.

The makers of “Disjointed” also play jokes on the viewers during the intro of each episode, speeding up and skipping different parts which are guaranteed to make any stoner think that they have sat on the remote control.

“Disjointed” only received a 23 per cent rating by critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was rated much higher by audiences at 80 per cent.

The show is somewhat crude in its presentation and it is understandable why critics – who are used to polished and finely tuned pieces of film – did not appreciate the constant weed jokes and less than angelic language.

The show is written and produced by Chuck Lorre and David Javerbaum; Lorre also produces “The Big Bang Theory” and essences of that series seems to have wafted its way into “Disjointed”. Fans of “The Big Bang Theory” will notice an ode to the show when Tibetan throat singing is brought up in one of the first few episodes.

Although “Disjointed” is not going to be winning awards any time soon, audiences are appreciating it because it manages to spark conversations about the use of marijuana in daily life. It comically explains the benefits of recreational use of the drug, all without forcing it upon people.

The legal marijuana industry in America made $10 billion last year, so it was high time that a show was made about it.

“Disjointed” is definitely not blowing smoke about the issues of using marijuana. Season one of the show is available now to watch on Netflix.