September 24th, 2007
They put the "high" in high school.
While drugs are a complicated experience, TV shows are not. So when the characters in a show about high school students tackle the issue of illicit substances — the characters are in for some very funky trips.
And so is the audience...
1. Freaks and Tweaks
Judd Apatow captured the existential moment every stoner faces when Lindsay smoked Nick's stash on a very special episode of Freaks and Geeks. A paranoid Lindsay isn't worried about losing high school innocence, but reality itself.
As acoustic guitars play a come-down tune, there's a beautiful speech about having faith, even from the other side of an altered reality. But ironically, after this episode aired, the entire series was cancelled — and Lindsay's whole universe really did cease to exist.
2. That 70s Bust
They'd already smoked pot for over eight years. In their high school yearbook they even wrote "What a long strange trip it's been....in Eric Foreman's basement."
But in one extra groovy episode of That 70s Show, Eric's hard-assed father Red finally catches the whole gang lighting up. And then the four stoned teenagers endure a histrionic lecture in the kitchen as its wallpaper seems to sway with trippy special effects
"Who taught you how do to this?! Was it those damn Beatles?"
"It's like Amsterdam down there!"
3. Saved by the Caffeine Pills
Saved By The Bell was notorious for its feel-good storylines — about personal responsibility, loyalty among friends, and the soul-crushing dangers of caffeine pill addiction.
In another episode, the cast also turned their backs on a pot-smoking TV star and recorded an explicit anti-drug message with NBC President Brandon Tartikoff. Although not all their fans agreed.
By the time that scene hit the internet, it was looking a little different...
It's all right. In the comments at YouTube, one party-pooper points out that the clip has obviously been edited. ("He originally says, Don't do drugs, then they all say, "There's no hope with dope!") If you watch closely, someone's even tampered with the closing credits, which now urge viewers to phone the NBC pot line — to get a free sample.
And a third commenter just says he couldn't stop marvelling at Screech's tripadelic shirt.
4. Welcome Back, Uppers
Epstein and Barbarino act like "we took some of them pills" in an earnest anti-drug episode of Welcome Back, Kotter. Unbeknownst to them, Horshack has already wolfed down a real handful of uppers, and their pretend stupor is complimented by — well, with Horshack, it's kind of hard to tell.
They'll scare Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington into going straight — especially with 25-year-old high school student John Travolta acting like "one of them druggie people. Real dum-like. 'Gimme drugs. Gimmie drugs...'"
Ultimately their six minutes of play-acting prove that it takes more than good intentions to cure drug addicts. It also takes some bad examples.
5. The Brady Bong
As Mr. Brady pulls the station wagon into the driveway, he discovers his son Greg is acting a little "dopier" than usual. But 17-year-old actor Barry Williams wasn't fooling anyone...
Greg: ...far out!!
In real life, Williams was stoned, as later investigations proved, in an episode of The Brady Bunch which was — ironically — titled "Law and Disorder." (Young Bobby Brady is appointed the school's safety monitor, but misses tell-tale signs of obvious reckless behavior...)
This is where the two worlds come together — the fake TV family, and the actors caught in the middle. Ultimately Barry Williams decided that his legendary drug scene represented just another form of play-acting. In his autobiography, he wrote that "Getting stoned instead left me...feeling as phony as the turf in the Brady's backyard.
"Maybe I should've just smoked that."
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