Netflix Puts Spoof Ads About Marijuana in Its New Pot-Themed Sitcom

Disjointed uses mostly fake brands to satirize various commercial genres

All of Disjointed's spoof ads feature fake brands, except for a pair of Lay's spots—Lay's is not a sponsor—in the sitcom's second episode.
Netflix

Netflix famously doesn’t run ads during its shows, but the streaming service is making an exception for Disjointed, its new comedy about marijuana that’s filled with spoof pot-themed spots for mostly fake brands.

The sitcom, which debuted on Netflix on Friday, stars Kathy Bates as a woman who runs a cannabis dispensary, where she and her employees are perpetually high. Almost all of Disjointed’s first 10 episodes include at least one spoof ad, which send up a variety of popular commercial genres.

The idea came from David Javerbaum, who co-created the show with Chuck Lorre and thought the fake spots would help maintain the flow that multicamera audiences are used to with ad breaks.

“We were doing a multicam on Netflix, and I wanted to shake some things up, with Chuck’s permission,” Javerbaum said. “One of them was, I thought, people are used to watching this thing with ads—let’s come up with fake ads. It will make the shoot more ambitious, but let’s do it. I thought it would be funny to have marijuana-themed ads in the middle of the show.”

The first episode kicks things off with a send-up of Americana-themed beer ads from companies like Coors. Over lush images of fields, mountains and streams, a gravely voice intones, “When you’ve grown marijuana since 1873, you learn a few things about pride, about standards, about only growing the highest quality plants watered by pure Rocky Mountain streams. Some say Americans can’t grow good marijuana anymore. We say, ‘Where you been, rabbi?’”

The spot then cuts to a shot of the product in a cylinder that matches the Coors Light can and logo—“Kush, the Banquet Weed”—as two cowboys share a bong.

A second spot in the first episode sends up local law firms, featuring a lawyer from the firm of Young & High, who explains, “We specialize in cases of extreme snack delay,” and promises that “we don’t get a slice unless you do.”

Other episodes feature spots that satirize home insurance ads (a couple whose home is destroyed in a tornado calls on Pot Farmers Insurance to deliver them two weeks worth of “emergency joints, lighters and bongs”), men’s shaving (Canna Foam, a “cannabis-infused shaving cream”) and infomercials (the Bud Butter Buddy, which makes marijuana butter). All subsequent episodes after the premiere have one ad with the exception of the final episode, which doesn’t have any.

“I liked the idea that they portray an alternate universe in which marijuana is legal and accepted and no big deal. I think that’s kind of cool,” said Javerbaum, a former executive producer of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

A portion of one spot, which satirizes the dancing cigarette pack commercials from the ’50s (the dancers represent “a box of matches and an eighth of Romuluan Green marijuana”) and includes a surprisingly foul-mouthed narrator, is included in the show’s trailer below:

The spots evolved into a more ambitious undertaking than Javerbaum originally intended. He explained that he wanted the ads to “not fall into a pattern and try to keep you on your toes.” While he tried to make the ads inexpensively—“we weren’t trying to break the bank with these,” he said—he made an exception with the Pot Farmers Insurance spot.

“We went a little all out to really get that nice vista of destruction,” he said of the ad, which was his favorite along with the spots in the first episode.

All of the brands featured in the spoof ads are fake except for a pair of ads in the second episode in which two stoners sit on the couch wordlessly watching TV and eating Lay’s potato chips. Given that Lay’s wasn’t an actual sponsor, Javerbaum said, they didn’t worry about crafting an ad that would keep Lay’s happy. “We just did it,” he said, laughing.

Netflix ordered 20 episodes of Disjointed and hasn’t yet announced when the second batch of 10 will premiere. Javerbaum said he’ll continue to make fake ads for those episodes as well. “We’re definitely going to continue that,” he said.

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