11 TV Stoners Who Show Just How Far Depictions Of Smoking Weed Have Come In Pop Culture
Weed enthusiasts and overly-protective parents everywhere are equally cognizant of 4/20. Ahhh, 4/20, the most suspicious day of the year to request off work, the only holiday that people spend actively pretending that they don't celebrate it. As public opinion of marijuana has shifted over the years, so, too, have the depictions of marijuana use in popular media. When I set out to write about the 11 best fictional TV stoners to honor on 4/20, I was pleasantly surprised at how many notable instances of marijuana use on television I could come up with
As we inch closer to national legalization of marijuana, the growing tolerance towards weed is obvious not just in public opinion but in depictions of marijuana usage in popular media. It has been interesting to watch the evolution of how weed is treated on the small screen, in particular. Weed isn't demonized as frequently as it used to be, and we seem to finally be doing away with the stale 'regular people don't smoke weed (and if they do, it was only briefly during college)' television trope that sitcoms used to love so much.
One need only watch the unintentionally hilarious episode of 7th Heaven that deals with marijuana, "Who Kew?" (Season 2, Episode 4), to see how far the relationship between weed and television has changed over the last few decades. Weed is no longer just the 'gateway drug' and marijuana users aren't exclusively pigeon-holed with the 'lazy burnout' stereotype that used to be so prevalent.
Now we have normal, relatable characters who casually use marijuana and *gasp* still lead normal lives; we have television shows which refuse to gloss over the fact that, like it or not, people smoke weed — and it's not always the end of the world when and if they do. As an homage to our favorite secret holiday, and in honor of the diversification of small screen depictions of weed use over the years, let's take a look at these 11 TV stoners to pay tribute to on 4/20.
Shaggy and Scooby Doo, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Scooby and Shaggy Doo are the OG stoners of the cartoon world. Unsuspecting parents everywhere let their kids eagerly consume Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! without making the connection between the Shaggy and Scooby's enduring hunger, their obsession with Scooby Snacks, and all the '70s swag. I remember when I first realized that Scooby and Shaggy were not, in fact, the hosts to tapeworms but merely suffering an everyday case of the munchies. A mind-blowing connection to make as a kid, and perhaps my first understanding the smoking weed is not quite as big of a deal as Reverend Camden led me to believe.
Daniel Desario and Ken Miller, Freaks and Geeks
Like most great things — The Wire, Dunkaroos, Justin and Britney's matching denim outfits — Judd Apatow's first attempt to steal our hearts, Freaks and Geeks, wasn't fully appreciated in its day. I didn't stumble upon this minefield of early Hollywood talent until just a few years ago and, as a result, was also given the gift of the best friend stoner due of Daniel Desario and Ken Miller. Played by James Franco and Seth Rogen, respectively, these babyfaced burnouts play the boys your parents warned you about in high school and their allure is undeniable.
Oscar Bluth, Arrested Development
As Arrested Develpment fans know, George Bluth, Sr.'s twin brother, Oscar Bluth, is most notable for three things: his luscious silver locks which predated the silver 'granny' hair trend (so hipster of you, Oscar), his role as uncle-father to Buster Bluth, and his affinity for marijuana. I wouldn't say that Oscar makes smoking weed seem cool — far from it, in fact. But Oscar's relationship with marijuana just goes to show that teens and twenty-somethings aren't the only ones who can have a healthy appreciation for ganja (and I bet some of your grandparents are living proof of this).
They say the best way to understand someone is to take a walk in their shoes and, in the case of Workaholics, those shoes probably reek of stale beer, spilt bong water, and the lingering scent of Blueberry Yum Yum. Workaholicsis the first show I have seen in which weed plays a notable role in the everyday lives of the characters.
Wilfred is one of the shows that you really can never appreciate unless you've smoked weed before. (And, mom, if you're reading this, I've obviously only ever smoked weed that one time I was in Amsterdam when I studied abroad...) The absurd, black humor of Wilfred, and the bizarre premise of the show, is better appreciated with the help of our dear friend, Mary Jane.
Everyone, That '70s Show
The same naïveté that stalled my understanding that Scooby and Shaggy were stoners also kept me from putting two and two together and realizing that That 70's Show was largely centered around the characters smoking pot. BRB while I binge watch this instead of doing anything remotely productive.
Towelie, South Park
I think it goes without saying that South Park is a huge source of entertainment for the stoner crowd. According to the South Park wiki page, the character of Towelie is described as follows:
I really don't think this one needs much more of an explanation.
Doug Wilson, Weeds
If you love Orange Is The New Black and you haven't seen Weeds (also created by Jenji Kohan), I would highly recommend it. Weeds follows a widow who grows and distributes marijuana after falling on financial struggles after the death of her husband. Imagine Breaking Bad, except Walter White is an eccentric and oft-irresponsible mother who decides she wants to break into the weed business, and she eventually allows Walter, Jr. and Holly to help run the family empire.
Weeds' aforementioned main character doesn't smoke weed, but the show makes up for that with glorious characters like Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon).
Otto, The Simpsons
Taco MacArthur, The League
Though The League isn't as good as it used to be, the FXX comedy that centers around a fantasy football league also features one of my favorite stoners, Taco MacArthur. Played by the hilarious Jon Lajoie, Taco is the token stoner of the friend group who doesn't care much about football but is always a source of amusement thanks to his constant pot smoking and hilarious antics.
Also, a hilarious and relevant NSFW Jon Lajoie YouTube video can be found here for you 4/20 viewing pleasure.
Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler, Broad City
Broad City is the wonderfully creative and hilarious sister to Workaholics. Abbi pursues a career as an illustrator; Ilana pursues a career as an unemployed woman who likes to smoke a lot of weed. Broad City combines an uber-realistic take on life as a young woman in the city with an absurdly fantastical vibe that borders on surrealism. Well worth your time as you journey along your path of 4/20 pursuits.