Top Stoner TV Shows

by Johnny Hash 3 years ago in tv review / list

Our top stoner TV shows will have you wishing you could munch on some Scooby snacks after lighting one up with Abbie and Ilana.

TV and weed are a marriage made in heaven. Entertaining without being too demanding and available literally everywhere, television is the easiest way to kill a few hazy hours. It’s only natural that stoners should want to see themselves reflected in their favorite medium. As legalization slowly but surely creeps across the US, we’re sure to see weed represented in pop culture in new and unexpected places, but stoner characters have always been at home on the small screen. Whether you’re planning a 4/20 Netflix marathon or just bored and couch-locked for the immediate future, here’s a roundup of the greatest stoner TV shows of all time.

Although the semi-improvised FX favorite is an ensemble comedy, John Lajoie’s Taco stands out as a stoner hero. As the other straight-laced characters fumble towards family life and middle age, Taco is oblivious to all obligations, including the fantasy league that brings them all together. Over the course of seven seasons, he gets high in increasingly resourceful ways, from hotboxing a mascot costume to smoking out of a gun. His hobby occasionally spills over to the rest of the crew, too—at one point, sole female League-r Jenny accidentally laces some snacks with Taco’s stash and gets her daughter’s grade school class lit. Antics like this pop up throughout the show’s run and are a big part of what makes The League more than just a comedy about football.

There are no explicit references to pot in the original 70s run of Jim Henson’s classic, but let’s be honest—the show was a product of its time. Though it was technically a family variety special, The Muppet Show put a timely countercultural spin on entertainment, often to the dismay of old-timers Statler and Waldorf. The show contains some very thinly veiled allusions to psychedelia. The muppet house band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem includes Floyd and Zoot, who never take off their sunglasses, as well as singer Janice (Janice!), who’s permanently squinting through some heavy lids. In the show’s 2015 revival, Kermit even jokes that the band is “always happy—legally now,” pointing out how far we’ve come.

Shaggy and Scooby have icon status as early TV stoners, but the cartoon’s creators claim they didn’t intend for these pothead heroes to have any association with marijuana. Even though the original characters were always hungry, confused, and cruising around in a neon VW Bus, animators took offense to some obvious suggestions of Shaggy’s pot use in the terrible 2002 live-action movie. Regardless, Shaggy and Scooby are easily the most memorable part of the franchise—for all their bumbling, they usually end up saving the day.

It put “YASS KWEEN” on the map, but Broad City is probably most notable for bringing two relatable female stoners to primetime TV. Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer nail the ins and outs of getting, hiding, and enjoying weed in New York. From falling into a day-long tumblr rabbit hole to getting lost at Whole Foods, the girls hold up a funhouse mirror up to millennial stoners. They share some pro tips too—the episode “Pu$$y Weed” is a masterclass in smuggling an eighth, and at one point, Ilana even gives us a step-by-step recipe demo for a potent smoothie that puts all those Buzzfeed food videos to shame. Actually, most of the show’s main characters smoke, and they’re all surrounded by decidedly un-#woke coworkers and neighbors. Equal parts ridiculous and sincere, at its core, Broad City is about female friendship and trying to make it as a young adult in the twenty-teens.

Broad City’s fratty older brother, Workaholics is a bro-tastic fantasy of hedonistic friendships that stretch into post-college life. Blake, Adam, and Anders are coworkers at a telemarketing firm and roommates in a borderline-condemned ranch home. Although the show revolves around the guys getting high and pissing off their coworkers, a running gag is the development of their individual personalities. The guys represent some classic stoner archetypes, with Adam as the party boy, Blake as the inscrutable, sensitive weirdo, and Anders as the type-A control freak who’s wound too tight even when he’s high. The three often develop a rivalry - a trope that’s on full display in “Straight Up Juggahos,” as they navigate an Insane Clown Posse festival with varying degrees of success. They also do a lot of their smoking in lawn chairs on their roof, which actually seems kinda sweet, right?

Created around the alter ego of writer Jonathan Ames, Bored to Death is the thinking stoner’s (or maybe more accurately, over-thinking stoner’s) comedy. Jason Schwartzman as Ames is a neurotic thirty-something New York intellectual who, inspired by old Raymond Chandler novels, takes up private investigating in the wake of a bad breakup. Between tracking and bungling new cases, Jonathan mellows out with his late-in-life stoner boss (played by Ted Danson, who’s like a cool uncle you never knew you wanted to blaze with) and obsessively analyzes his own drug habits and love life. The whole Bored to Death cast is spot-on with IRL stoners like Jenny Slate and Zach Galifianakis, but it’s Schwartzman who brings awkward and slightly insufferable charm to the cerebral sitcom.

This criminally underappreciated British comedy follows the shaky friendship of odd couple Mark and Jeremy. Stiff upper lipped Mark is a lovable dweeb, but it’s slacker and certified stoner (and shroomer, and occasional dealer) Jeremy who gives the show its consistently offbeat humor. Many of Jeremy’s love interests are sparked and eventually ruined by his quests to get high, and the electronic dance music he dabbles in is the kind of stuff you might only appreciate after a few bowls. Jeremy’s musical collaborator and drug buddy Super Hans takes things to an even darker place, railing some lines of coke before his wedding speech and dropping acid at a funeral. Peep Show is visually trippy too, with lingering P.O.V. shots and inner monologue voiceovers that get you deep in the character’s heads. If you tend towards paranoia, this show can be more cringe-inducing than the best episodes of The Office so, you know, maybe don’t smoke while watching.

Cancelled long before its time, Freaks and Geeks launched the careers of now high-profile stoners James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel. Plenty of other recognizable faces pop up in the coming-of-age Paul Feig/Judd Apatow dramedy, but it's this scruffy fictional trio that seems to keep suburban Detroit’s dealers in business. In the first moments of the pilot, they share a joint and talk shit under the bleachers, setting a nostalgic tone for the 18-episode portrait of disaffected teens. The show commits to lots of Early 80s period details and weed is no exception—Segel’s Nick is perfectly happy to get baked and practice John Bonham drum solos in his garage all day. Other stoned moments are more timeless: heroine Lindsay, played by Linda Cardellini, accidentally gets high for the first time before babysitting and proceeds to have a very bad, very funny trip while the kids try to play hide and seek with her—“Nah I wasn’t even hiding!... Just gimme some space, man, ok?!”

Like Broad City, High Maintenance started as a series of web shorts; a full-fledged sitcom version will launch this year on HBO. The story follows a chronically chill weed deliveryman—referred to only as The Guy—on his daily rounds, giving us a voyeuristic look at the private lives of stressed-out New Yorkers who use weed to help manage everything from cancer to klonopin withdrawal. The five to ten-minute format gives the show a chance to experiment with some non-traditional storytelling. As much as husband and wife co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair set up some absurd premises, they often pull the rug out from under us, with many episodes ending in a surreal or poignant twist—check out Season 4 episode "Qasim." A fresh take on drug culture and urban life, High Maintenance lets you peek at the stoners you didn’t even realize were next door.

A softer, gentler Breaking Bad, Weeds follows single mom Nancy Botwin, who starts selling to support her family and quickly gets in over her head. Nancy, played by Mary Louise Parker, isn’t much of a user herself and only smokes on screen three times throughout the series—but her stoner brother-in-law Andy emerges as a business partner and unexpected father figure to her boys. Though the show descends into some increasingly ridiculous and convoluted plot lines in the later seasons, it’s a great satirical look at suburbia and culture shock. There are also plenty of priceless cameos, including Allison Janney as Nancy’s blissed-out lawyer and Mary Kate Olsen as a holy roller who can’t choose between God and weed.

While The Simpsons may be a cartoon, few would call it a children's show. Following the daily life of Homer Simpson and his rambunctious family. While the writer never really specifies Homers weed use, we can say with some sureness that most of the trouble he gets himself into is probably cause by not so clear judgement from smoking one too many doobies. If Homer himself isn't high, the creators sure were when they thought him up.

This Canadian mockumentary has grown a cult following since its inception in 2001. In the same vain as Park and Recreation or The Office, the show involves a lot of third-wall breaking, with the characters often speaking directly to the camera. With such strange characters speaking directly to you, there is no way you won't crack up watching these guys get into trouble.

Before Laura Prepon was Alex Vause, she was Hot Donna on That '70s Show. The teen comedy chronicled the everyday life of a group of teens in the 70s, smoking weed and hanging out in Eric's basement. While we never actually got the see the marijuana itself, one of the shows regular bits was a "circle" where the group would be surrounded by smoke, and laugh a lot. The unofficial 7th member of the crew, weed played a huge a part in the 70s and in this hilarious show.

As a marijuana advocate, Dave Chapelle never shied away from making his show stoner-friendly. Often poking fun at cannabis culture, especially in connection with the black community, many of the skits on Chapelle's Show aimed to force us to recognize stereotypes, all while laughing at ourselves. After a few years of success, Chapelle had enough of the spotlight and disappeared. Luckily for stoners everywhere, his show never will.

Seriously, can Jeffery Tambor do wrong? Or Jason Bateman? Or Michael Cera? We could literally go on forever with this one. With a hilarious all-star cast, and the funniest writers in Hollywood, Arrested Development was a surprise hit. The show features Tambor as one of the funniest TV stoners of all time, Oscar Bluth. He's like the stoner uncle everyone has but no one talks about, except on AD we're all allowed to laugh at him. Even though the show was cancelled for low rating in 2006, it was brought back by Netflix for a fourth season to fans delight. Will it be back for Season 5? Netflix hasn't let much info slide, but stoners everywhere are hopeful for another season to binge watch.

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Johnny Hash

Born in Kingsland, Arkansas. Spent way too much time watching TV. Daily toker. Still in Kingsland, Arkansas.

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