Even as Dr. John sang, “Ain't no good reason for getting all depressed,” in my ear while I fired up another episode of Blossom, searching for something to write this review about, I couldn’t shake the feeling. Even when he said, “Buy up your pad and pencil,” my call to action, I was still feeling discouraged. This week, I started watching Season 2 of Blossom for the first time. I fell asleep during the first two episodes but here it was… Episode 3… The Joint!
My interest is piqued. I haven’t smoked weed in a long time. Early last year, I would get stoned every night and watch vintage sitcoms, not coincidentally. I love(d) weed but it was driving me further into my depression. I was even more depressed then than I am now as I fire up this episode of Blossom.
Blossom, played by Mayim Bialik, and her best friend Six have somehow got their hands on a joint. The episode starts with Blossom holding the joint between them outside of her house, then hiding it, preparing to go in and not rouse any suspicion from her family. Really, what would be more interesting to see is how they got the joint. (I guess that’s the plot of Superbad.) Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the writers room for this one. I must’ve been pretty knocked out those first two episodes because I’m totally surprised when Blossom’s grandfather, Buzz, is waiting for her inside the house.
Blossom and Six retreat to her room to decide what to do with the joint. “Not everyone who smokes a joint becomes a drug addict,” thoughtfully says Six. “Sometimes, they become Supreme Court justices.” I don’t get the joke. I don’t get a lot of jokes in this episode. Including when the family ends up watching Midnight Express, which gives Blossom anxiety because she’s the drug smuggler in this episode. (I caught on quickly enough.)
One thing I love about Blossom is the way watching movies factors into the plot. Someone, sometimes the whole family, will start a movie then the show will cut to the last lines of the film, or its closing music. Reactions to the film set off the next chapter in the plot. It’s just funny, mostly... the way they fake the sounds from the movie.
OMG! Blossom loses the joint in the couch while they’re watching the movie. Her dad, Nick, smells it and does something no long-haired musician who lived through the 60’s has ever done when faced with weed–he looks disappointed. Blossom sees that he has found it from the stairs, a major device in the plot of Blossom, as she sees a lot of drama that she shouldn’t be privy to from the stairs. Not unlike my childhood, really. It’s a nice touch. Anyway, it’s clear that Anthony, Blossom’s recovering addict brother, is going to be blamed for this.
Suspicion is cast first onto Anthony, then onto Buzz. This makes for an excruciating scene where Nick comes into his room and realizes he’s walked in on a sexual encounter that Buzz is having with a “67-year-old woman” who is made out to seem completely disgusting. “She looked like a raisin before she got in the bath,” Buzz remarks to a lot of canned laughter and hooting. Next, suspicion is cast onto the middle brother, Joey – he is a dumb high schooler after all – and then, finally, onto Blossom. What’s made clear throughout these scenes is that even if a responsible adult once smoked weed, they don’t anymore or they only did it once and hated it.
It’s Anthony who first confronts Blossom about if the joint is hers, who responds, “I have glaucoma,” completely deadpan. I love when she’s like this. Anthony proceeds to give her a lecture about what may have been in the joint. The list includes crack, dust, and also “anything.”
It turns out, for some reason, that Blossom’s brother Joey has also lost a joint in the house which he admits to their father in front of Blossom. They are both *almost* subjected to a speech from Nick which starts, “When I was your age…” But he holds back and asks Anthony, the subject-matter expert in this case, to give the lecture instead. He starts, “When I was your age…”
We’re all left with this heavy-handed assuredness that the episode was not, in fact, a lecture, but a normal episode of Blossom.
And I’m left to do some research on how the Mayim (present day) feels about pot. I find myself back where I started, thinking about weed and depression.
Without ever being exposed to Mayim’s views on weed, I had a hunch that there would be content waiting for me on Gronk, oh, sorry, Gork, err, Grok Nation, the “online community” Mayim founded in 2015. While she’s open about the subject and approaches it candidly, she’s really giving me the same vibe that this Very Special Episode of Blossom did. Weed is okay, she says, it has medicinal purposes, but it shouldn’t be used by young people whose brains are developing. (Remember, Mayim is a real-life neuroscientist.) But like, okay, that’s fair but pedantic. Mayim and Blossom, the show, would both like me to believe that these are not lectures. That they aren’t just telling me “No.”
Grok Nation’s content for 4/20(/2016, a different time) is a video of Mayim interviewing her mother about weed. Mayim’s mom seems to be covering for the fact that she’s actually a stoner. She insists she doesn’t smoke but her knowledge of CBD oil and edibles betrays her. The video ends on an interesting note. Mayim appears to be advocating for the use of marijuana to treat anxiety and depression. Her mom is more cautious. “I don’t want people, especially elderly people, thinking they can just mask their emotional pain and depression by smoking marijuana.” “Don’t be masking it.” “Peace,” she adds as the video wraps.
Mayim’s mother, a counterpoint to the absent mother of Blossom in the series, actually seems pretty interesting. And don’t sue me but I kind of agree with her about not using weed to mask your emotional pain and depression. Mayim seems to have inherited more of her opinions from the trifecta (now quadfecta!) of men who, episode after episode, teach Blossom lessons about how to be a young woman.
I think I’m depressed as I write my review this week because I’m starting to see how Blossom begat Mayim. My theory from last week that there might be some salvation in watching young Mayim work through teenage foils doesn’t hold up. Watching Blossom is more like watching Mayim develop into the adult version of her character, only slightly unconventional, sterilized to appease the TV viewers, appeasing some universal father.
See you next week.