Happy April 20, Portland!
Holy observers who plan to get baked as hell today know that one of life’s simple joys is pairing pot with a trippy movie, hilarious TV show, or weird podcast. But in a cruel twist of irony, actually selecting something to watch or listen to can be a bit challenging once the gummies kick in.
Fortunately for you all, I used to smoke a lot of weed (sorry to brag!), and I still dabble often enough to know what makes for good stoned streaming. Here are a few recommendations I’ve been enjoying lately, and that I think would pair well with a joint, bong rip, or edible of your choosing—and can still be appreciated even if you’re stone-cold sober.
Smiley Face is the best stoner comedy you maybe haven’t heard of yet. The 2007 cult classic, directed by Gregg Araki, follows hopeless stoner and aspiring actress Jane (a not-yet-super-famous Anna Farris) on a panicked journey as she tries to replace her scary roommate’s plate of weed cupcakes—all of which she ate on a whim, unaware of their key ingredient. Anyone who’s had to complete an important task while being more stoned than they intended will appreciate the hyper-realistic comedic tone of the film, and it somehow manages to include a smart critique of capitalism without being at all self-serious. As an added bonus, Smiley Face got hilarious early-career appearances by both John Krasinski and Adam Brody, narration from Roscoe Lee Browne, and perhaps the most spot-on casting of Jane Lynch next to Glee.
I first saw Smiley Face in college, but for years after I couldn’t find a way to watch that didn’t involve dropping 50 bucks on a used DVD from eBay. Fortunately, it’s now streaming on Tubi—for free—so you can watch it right now. Just be sure to only eat one weed cupcake before viewing.
Waffles and Mochi
There are a lot of overlaps between what makes good kids content and good stoner content: bright visuals; zany humor; upbeat earnestness; things that make you go, “Woah, I never thought of it like that!”
That’s why I’m recommending Waffles and Mochi, a new educational kids’ show about food created by none other than Michelle Obama, as a 4/20 watch. Waffles and Mochi are painfully adorable puppets who escaped the Land of Frozen Food and landed in a grocery store run by “Mrs. O” (Michelle Obama), and are finally able to pursue their dreams of becoming chefs. Along the way, they ride their Magic Cart all over the world, visiting locals and famous chefs who teach them about different ingredients—tomatoes, mushrooms, the humble potato—and cook dishes with them. Each episode links an ingredient with a lesson (we should be flexible like corn, and work together like herbs and spices), but the morality focus takes a backseat to the cute, funny romps, such as a musical number that personifies the five taste buds.
If you’re looking for heartwarming and silly content that will lift your already-high spirits today, watch Waffles and Mochi on Netflix.
The Great Pottery Throwdown
Have you ever asked yourself, “What if they made The Great British Bake Off, but for pottery?”
No? Well, the important thing is that Love Productions—the folks behind Bake Off—did ask themselves this, and the result is The Great Pottery Throw Down, in which roughly a dozen contestants compete each season to see who is the best at making vases, fully functional kitchen sinks, dishware, and other pottery fare. The show uses the same light touch as Bake Off, keeping the focus more on the craft and the contestants’ quirky friendships than on the heated competition. That makes it a nice show to put on when you’ve eaten a low-dose gummy and binge, knowing you can count on a reliable format, cool artistic visuals, and a low-stakes competition full of charming characters.
(My personal favorite part of the show: Keith Brymer-Jones, a sturdy-looking judge who gets overcome with emotion when evaluating each weeks’ results, earning himself the reputation as “the crying judge.”)
Get pot-ery (get it?) and watch The Great Pottery Throw Down on HBO Max.
Sometimes it’s nice to smoke a joint and relax your gaze, and in that case, a podcast is the perfect 4/20 companion. Specifically, I’ve recently been enjoying Poog, a “wellness podcast” that is not like any wellness podcast you could possibly imagine.
Hosted by alt-comedy legends Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak, Poog starts each episode with an ostensibly wellness-related topic: skin care, hydration, meditation, et cetera. But each conversation is wide-reaching and ravenous, taking unpredictable and laugh-out-loud-funny twists and turns through the hosts’ interior lives and expansive musings on the world around them. In one episode, a casual tangent about ice cream cones turns into a profound musing on life, loss, creation, and happiness, causing one of the hosts to cry—and then there’s a brilliant 15-minute discussion about the crying.
I’m probably not doing a very good job describing Poog, but that’s because it’s something so singular that you have to experience it for yourself. You can listen to it on any of the major podcast platforms, stoned or not.
A Few Other Suggestions
Here are some other weed-friendly watches the Mercury staff has been enjoying lately:
• Sasquatch, a documentary that pretends to be about Sasquatch but is actually a true-crime documentary set in the world of cannabis cultivation.
• The SPLIFF Film Festival, a collection of short stoner films brought to you by the Mercury and running through this Saturday.
• The current season of Top Chef, which is set in Portland.
• Excuse Me, I Love You, a documentary that will have you stanning Billie Eilish.