HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW about hippies: (1) They have long hair and a disturbing aversion to soap. (2) They believe in "free love," which would be awesome if they also believed in soap. (3) They dress like circus clowns, yet rarely do or say anything that is intentionally funny. (4) They have names like "Rainbow" or "Starshine" or "Sea Skye" or "Wolfe Glare" (AKA "Beat Me Senseless"). (5) They are extremely easy to defeat in almost any known competition—except maybe a bong-huffing contest. (6) And while asking a hippie for directions is like asking a wet dish mop to explain quantum physics, there's a good reason for their inherent spaciness: Hippies really know their drugs!
Example: My ex–drug dealer was a hippie, who at one time was trapped in the backseat of a car for three hours because he couldn't figure out the childproof locks. However! His knowledge of drugs and their accompanying paraphernalia was epic. In mere seconds he could accurately calculate how many milligrams of coke one could safely mix with two tabs of ecstasy and four rum and Cokes, without the user suffering permanent mental or spinal damage. AND he also came up with some very interesting ideas for TV shows, such as Masterlice Theater (Shakespeare reenacted by head lice). Or It's a Squirrel's World! (squirrels with video cameras taped to their heads). Or America's Funniest Gas Huffers (no explanation needed).
I bring this up because this week marks the debut of a brand-new miniseries on AMC called The Prisoner, which is a remake of one of the greatest drugged-out sci-fi shows of all time! The original Prisoner series kicked off in the pharmaceutical-happy year of 1967 and starred Patrick McGoohan as a burned-out secret agent who—after abruptly resigning his post—is kidnapped and held captive in a remote seaside village isolated from the rest of the world. Everyone in "the Village" is given a number and remains blissfully happy—except for McGoohan's character, "Number Six," who is wicked pissed about being held prisoner and vows to escape. Unfortunately, whenever anyone tries to bust out, a humongous roaring white balloon flies over and sits on their face.
Things get weirder from there.
The original series is a legitimate cult classic because of its trippy, psychedelic cinematography and incomprehensible plotline, which was obviously crafted under the influence of several hundred tabs of acid and/or goofballs. Now, obviously, the new AMC six-episode miniseries (debuting Sun Nov 15 at 8 pm and starring James Caviezel and Ian McKellen) will be somewhat less freaky, due to the fact that (a) this is no longer 1967 and (b) a good three-quarters of its audience is not currently hallucinating a tap-dancing cat on the back of their couch. However, many of the basic plot points remain the same—including the large balloon that sits on escapees' faces.
So check out The Prisoner on AMC, and if it's not "psychedelic" enough for you, my hippie ex–drug dealer offers this advice: "Take two hits of LSD, eat 1.5 mushrooms, huff one quarter ounce of silver spray paint, and guzzle half a bottle of Robitussin. Avoid soap at all costs."