The talented and critically acclaimed actress, Kathy Bates, is the star of a new Netflix show called “Disjointed”. There is already plenty of drama surrounding the marijuana legalization movement and certainly there must be plenty of comedy involved too. California technically legalized marijuana in the mid 90’s and a lot has happened since then. The climactic point in the story may be coming up with recreational sales starting at the beginning of next year. It is understandable that the concept of a satire could be created from that story alone. What is your favorite Netflix show?
What were they smoking?
That’s the question you’ll ask after watching a few episodes of “Disjointed,” a surprisingly lame new comedy from hit-maker Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom”) and David Javerbaum (“The Daily Show”). Lorre’s collaboration with star Kathy Bates proved Emmy-worthy when she did a 2012 cameo on “Two and a Half Men” as the ghost of Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen), but, as marijuana advocate Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, he hasn’t given the “Misery” star much to do except make lame jokes about Wal-Mart and other enemies of Feldman’s hippie mentality.
Ruth operates a cannabis dispensary in California. Now that the state has legalized marijuana use, she faces a choice: to operate a mom-and-pop pot shop or to take advantage of the incipient “gold rush,” as her biracial MBA-educated son, Travis (Aaron Moten), describes it, and build a franchise. Up until now, she has staffed her store with stoner “budtenders” (Elizabeth Alderfer, Dougie Baldwin and Elizabeth Ho) and Carter (Tone Bell), a security guard and Iraq vet who suffers from PTSD. Her clientele includes Dank (Chris Redd) and Dabby (Betsy Sodaro), YouTube celebrities who are always high. Ruth likes her motley crew and things the way they are. Holding up a Pottery Barn catalogue, she exclaims, “This is not what I spent my life fighting for.” Taking a beat, she then sinks the joke. “What kind of schmuck buys pottery in a barn?”
Chuck Lorre hasn’t given Kathy Bates much to do except make lame jokes.
While any of the show’s individual components might make a good “Saturday Night Live” skit or — like Dank and Dabby — an entertaining YouTube video, they don’t cohere into a series with a rhythm or give the performers enough material to form a viable ensemble. Bates, an actress whose range has been fruitfully mined by Ryan Murphy over several seasons of “American Horror Story,” is wasted here.
Lorre and Javerbaum disguise “Disjointed’s” monotonous humor with an intrusive laugh track — could this be the only streaming series to offer this antiquated measure of wit? — and cutaway spoofs of TV commercials for potato chips and Marlboros that are funnier than the jokes delivered by Bates and company. Most predicable: for all of Ruth’s championing of subversive behavior, she is at heart a pushy Jewish mother trying to get Travis to “bang” an employee (Alderfer) so they can have “butterscotch babies.” Yikes. Stereotypes die hard on “Disjointed.”
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