Marijuana is a common prop, commodity and even star in the movies, from classics like 1995's Friday, to the Cheech and Chong and Harold and Kumar series, to dreck like Dude, Where's My Car?
But now the boob tube is growing bolder about depicting the devil's weed, and stoner scenes on TV typically get a much bigger audience than those made up by the paying crowds in theaters.
Here are our Top 10 TV Toking moments. We welcome your additions in our online comments section.
Cure for a Hangover?
Hangover star Zach Galifianakis appeared on Bill Maher's HBO talk show Real Time in November 2010. In the midst of a panel discussion he whipped out a joint, started smoking and suddenly screamed, “Oh my God! Look at those dragons!”
Was his green stuff real? Another guest, Margaret Hoover, said it “sure smelled like the real thing!” But Maher insisted, “If it was real, I would have had some.”
Galifianakis never confirmed or denied the joint's reality, although many “experts” who weighed in believed it was real.
Like his fellow cast member Ted Danson in the late, lamented HBO mock-detective show Bored to Death, Galifianakis was a certified stoner — not to mention naturally high — in the Hangover movies. And for that matter, Maher is a longtime pot aficionado and activist.
Real Time: youtube.com/watch?v=I8I3k8nFplc
If You Remember the '70s …
You weren't really there, goes the line. That '70s Show was mostly a benign sitcom re-enactment of teenage angst, hormones and humor set in that legendary era of gas shortages, stagflation, Quaaludes, polyester and platform shoes.
But the characters would occasionally, and furtively, toke one up. In this scene, Eric (played by Topher Grace) waxes sentimental, saying, “We always have to remember this moment,” as the joint is passed around. Then Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) looks alarmed as Eric's stern, nerve-rattling dad (Kurtwood Smith) materializes behind Eric. Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) looks high as Dad bellows, “Upstairs! Now!” Eric then mutters what anyone who's seen Smith's scary performance in RoboCop would know: “I am in huge trouble.”
That '70s Show: youtube.com/watch?v=6tGdAv3Omq8
Sergeant Friday Here
Many people are too young to recall the original Dragnet TV show, or even the forgettable Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks 1987 movie. The original series ran for eight years in the 1950s, followed by a four-year return in the '60s, two more years in the '90s and even two post-millennium years. While Dragnet influenced millions of Americans who enjoyed its law-and-order motif, some viewers just laughed at it.
Dragnet's stern look at pot was as ubiquitous as the show's ever-popular four-note theme, “Duhhh, duh-dun-duh!” As you'll learn from watching this clip, Sgt. Joe Friday knows that “marijuana is the flame, heroin is the fuse, LSD is the bomb. … So don't you try to equate liquor with marijuana, mister, not with me.”
Dragnet, “The Big Prophet” (1968): youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_Twre6ItGEI
“Whose Joint Is It?”
There's always tension in the household of Protestant Rev. Eric Camden, stay-at-home wife Annie and their brood of seven biblically named children. In this very special episode of 7th Heaven, the family members look to each other to answer the eternal question, “Whose joint is it?”
Holding a reefer, Rev. Eric, played by Stephen Collins, says, “I'll get straight to the point. I found marijuana in the house. While I never thought I'd be the kind of father who had to drug-test his kids, I'm willing to do just that — if that's what it takes to find out who brought a joint into this house.”
And young Lucy found another joint in Mom's dresser drawer! Fortunately, it was the same joint that Mom had put away.
Wholesome daughter Mary, played by Jessica Biel, then says, “What a relief! It's not that we thought that Mom was a stoner or anything.”
Oldest son Matt finally cops to possession, earning a lecture from his father about weed, losing his little brother's respect and not being able to find a job. Matt storms out as the reverend worries — can this awful rip to the family's space-time continuum be repaired in an hour? (Interestingly, both Collins and Catherine Hicks, who played his 7th Heaven wife, starred in Star Trek films — a stoner favorite.)
7th Heaven: youtube.com/watch?v=JB24X05F0wI
Wrong Bag, Man
When it comes to the late, lamented Chappelle's Show, you can pretty much pick any skit as one of TV's greatest bong hits. Most of Dave Chappelle's television stand-up routines also are about pot. But we'll go with this “commercial” for O'Dweeds, the pot without any THC.
“When the baby was born, I promised Karen I'd quit smoking, but I didn't know how,” Dave says. But a friend told his loving wife about full-flavor, nonintoxicating O'Dweeds — “like O'Doul's but for weed.” Dave brightens, “Now I can get that full reefer aroma — but without any of the guilt!” He proceeds to puff this guiltless pleasure in his baby's face. Then a cop stops a rasta man for smoking but shares some when he finds out it's O'Dweeds. Except, cackles the rasta to the shocked (and presumably stoned) cop, that's “the wrong bag, man!”
Chappelle's Show: youtube.com/watch?v=Csvgp95jO2w
Mutant Ninja Turtles Take on Pot
In this public service announcement, the turtles show impressionable young viewers what to do if a drug dealer tries to force them to smoke pot: If they call you a chicken for not smoking, tell them, “You're a turkey!” Perhaps Michael Bay will reference this immortal scene in his upcoming reimagining of the Mutant Ninja Turtles saga.
Mutant Ninja Turtles PSA: youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mqtY88BUi0M
Down in the Weeds
The top TV show for many stoners? Despite its soap opera ways and occasional jump-the-shark, over-the-top antics, many would point to Weeds, led by Mary-Louise Parker's comely, marijuana-dealing mom.
While she's hot, and the pot-smoking scenes are, shall we say, realistic, Parker herself is no pot puffer. She noted in an interview, “I don't have that reefer madness, but so many people do it. I don't know why they bother doing it. There's nothing even remotely naughty about it. … It's like Sudafed. … I was never interested in it. I just feel, honestly, people make a really big deal about it.”
This promo clip includes some of Weeds' more bizarre scenes, showing the cast's “short-term memory loss” as they struggle to remember details.
Weeds: youtube.com/watch? v=3W2z3wDfJ5U&feature=related
Medicinal Fried Chicken
South Park has dealt with marijuana occasionally (as, apparently, have its creators) during its 16 seasons, with characters like Towelie.
Recent episode “Medicinal Fried Chicken” dealt with a pair of pot-linked frustrations. Cartman freaks out because his favorite KFC place has been replaced by a medical marijuana store. “What the fuck? Where is the KFC?” “Sorry, we only sell marijuana here.”
Meanwhile, Stan's dad, Randy Marsh, is too healthy to get a medical marijuana card, so he makes desperate claims like a “little bit of cancer” to get a prescription card for pot, just as chicken-addicted Cartman will do anything to get his beloved KFC back. (The episode may have been loosely based on K.F.C., aka Kind for Cures, in the Palms area of Los Angeles.)
Cheech and Chong: Older but No Wiser
What happens when a mature Cheech and Chong meet young comic Bobby Lee in his red underpants? On this 2009 MADtv episode, hilarity ensues. Cheech and Chong are dropped off at Bobby's place by Chong's wife, who says, “I'm not going in that apartment. That Bobby Lee gives me the creeps.”
Chong: “OK, man.”
“Don't call me 'man.' I'm your wife!”
But the pair can't wake Bobby. So they give him mouth-to-bong resuscitation, which fails. But Chong knows how to wake him up — by breaking the bong over his head. When the sleeper's eyes open, Chong tells him, “Hey Bobby. You owe me a bong, man.”
Bobby wants to know why they're there. “You're supposed to open our show tonight,” Cheech says.
Bobby pleads, “Can we get wasted first? I have a new vaporizer I want to show you.”
Turns out it's a walk-in model.
Bag o' Weed
Everything is better with a bag of weed, Stewie and the Family Guy guys sing. This ditty is based on a song from, of all things, the children's classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
A marching band, a “Legalize Pot Now” bandstand banner, Bryan the dog juggling bongs, a cannon firing bags of pot at the delighted crowd.
Yes, everything goes better with a bag of weed.
Family Guy: video.adultswim.com/family-guy/bag-of-weed.html