The marijuana-focused Netflix series Disjointed has been cancelled, and it has only itself to blame.
Disjointed had everything going for it. It’s a marijuana-themed show in an era where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational purposes in dozens of states, and its usage is quickly losing its stigma and becoming more and more mainstream. It had Netflix as a platform, which allows for more creative freedom than most cable networks. It was created by Chuck Lorre, who also created The Big Bang Theory (which has been one of the most popular shows for years), and David Javerbaum, a former head writer for the Daily Show. To top it all off, the show was able to cast Kathy Bates in the lead role as an LA-based dispensary owner; Bates has won two Emmy Awards, and has been nominated over a dozen times dating back to 1996.
Despite having all this going for it, the show failed to make it past season 1. Netflix recently announced that the show has been cancelled after a 20-episode initial run (10 episodes released in August, followed by 10 more in January). Given Netflix doesn’t release viewer counts for their shows, there’s no way of knowing if it was cancelled more for a lack of viewers, or for its poor critical reception (it has a score of 43 on Metacritic and 23% on Rotten Tomatoes). What is clear, is that there simply wasn’t a large enough appetite for the type of comedy that Disjointed offered, which too often relied on the “dumb stoner stereotype”.
Disjointed could have taken a more intellectual approach to the show’s subject matter (and being focused on a dispensary gave them the perfect setup), but instead they harkened back to the days of Cheech & Chong. Though this may have worked a decade or two ago, people are looking for a more nuanced approach to marijuana use. Most cannabis consumers simply don’t find this type of comedy funny (and some find it offensive or simply ignorant), and those who don’t consume cannabis are either bored by it (it’s oh-so been-there done-that), or understand that playing into a decades-long and incredibly unhelpful stereotypes doesn’t make for good television .
This isn’t to say that Disjointed was necessarily an awful show, and that it didn’t have its funny or clever moments, it just had far too few of them, and didn’t do enough to offer a new or modern brand of cannabis comedy. As such, it failed to retain its presence in popular culture. Hopefully future shows that have a cannabis theme will learn from their mistakes.