A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Disjointed is a sitcom that takes place in a mother-and-son-helmed marijuana dispensary in California. The show's co-creator, Chuck Lorre, is the man behind mega-popular network sitcoms like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory -- but as this series is on Netflix, don't expect clean-cut language. The free rein given by the streaming service seems to have inspired the show's writers to pepper each episode with a variety of F-bombs. There is frank talk about marijuana and other, harder drugs, with scenes of characters growing weed, selling weed, and smoking weed.
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What's the story?
Kathy Bates stars as Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, a crunchy-granola mama (and self-described shaman/rabbi) turned owner of a marijuana dispensary in DISJOINTED. She's struggling to reconcile her lifelong weed-centric activism with the fact that ganja is now big business -- and legal. She sees her cozy shop as an extension of her counterculture spirit and belief in the healing powers of hemp, while her ambitious son Travis (Aaron Moten), fresh from business school, would like nothing more than to cash in and turn "Ruth's Alternative Caring" into a widespread chain store operation. Ruth's shop also employs three "budtenders": Pete (the spaced-out grow man), Olivia (the love interest), and Jenny (who calls herself the "Tokin' Asian"). The dispensary's security guard, Carter, is a teetotaling ex-soldier suffering from PTSD. Wacky customers (Ruth would stress that they're patients) come and go, causing drama with their stoned hijinks. The strip mall housing the dispensary also houses a Taekwondo studio, whose hothead instructor looks down on the marijuana biz and does his best to oust them from the area.
Is it any good?
Puff, puff, pass on this messy, awkwardly paced sitcom full of obvious punchlines and lazy TV tropes. The creators basically took the well-worn network sitcom format, complete with a cutesy-quirky ensemble cast and a chuckle-happy studio audience, then added in a big-name star (Kathy Bates, who is wasted here) and a heaping helping of "F" words. They've also made the bizarre decision to emulate the timing of commercial breaks by adding jarring interstitial bits such as animated freak-out segments, faux marijuana ads, and fake YouTube videos.
Despite Disjointed's offbeat setting, the humor hits all the most predictable beats -- so, so many jokes about how forgetful stoners can be -- and doesn't have the slightest bit of edge. There's also the curious decision to include a somber PTSD storyline, which drags an already straining show down and gives things a "Very Special Episode" feel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way Disjointed depicts what it's like to run a family business. How does the type of product they're selling change the way the show depicts the daily stresses of owning a business?
One of the characters on the show lies to her parents about what she does for a living (they think she is in medical school). Is lying the only way she can deal with the situation? Why might it be hard for her to tell her parents the truth?
Do laugh tracks make a show funnier? Does hearing a studio audience laughing make you more or less likely to laugh at a joke?