It seems like it’s all been done: mini-pageant princesses, hillbilly handfishin’, drunk, botoxed housewives and those hicks on Duck Dynasty who hate on everything good and decent in this world. So now that weed is legal in some states, it was only a matter of time until the industry met the siren call of reality TV.
So we have a slew of new shows dedicated to bringing us an insider’s perspective on the cannabis industry. Here’s a quick rundown:
1. Pot Barons of Colorado, starts Nov. 30 on MSNBC at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Elevator pitch: This six-part series follows several “pot barons,” a.k.a. business owners, working in the world of legal cannabis in the Rocky Mountain State.
What we know: MSNBC’s trailer is smack full of cannabis-documentary cliches and squeaky-clean Americana shots. In fact, I would like to see one lead-in to a cannabis documentary or special that doesn’t include these stereotypes: that quintessential annoying “YEEAAHHHH!” shot of an idiot stoner smoking in public; the outside party scene with a bunch of dredded-up white dudes dancing and playing hacky sack, and a barrage of statements like: “This is a part of history,” “all our chips are in,” or “we’re totally rolling the dice.”
In the extended version, we meet one Colorado Pot Baron, Nick. A Princeton man, Nick’s seen the potential of the business and that’s why he’s in it to win it. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Nick, he’s an everyday Joe doing an everyday gig, but damn, MSNBC, is he milquetoast. In fact, most of the characters in this trailer seem pretty boring. Which is one thing we Americans have come to rely on with reality TV. You need distinct personalities to keep it interesting. And we’re just not seeing that oddball personality shining through here.
Quality Control (on a scale of one to five pot leaves): Two. Unless I want to watch a bunch of boring white people hang around grow houses, counting their money and spouting business-world cliches, I think I’ll pass.
2. Medicine Man, TruTV, time and date TBD
Elevator pitch: Nothing says reality TV more than watching a family conduct business. These Colorado brothers seem ripe for the picking.
What we know: Brothers Andy and Pete Williams (who also, coincidentally, appear in the aforementioned MSNBC special but don’t get much air time in the promo) have been in the medical marijuana business since 2010. One of the largest dispensaries in the state, they have ambitions of becoming “the Costco of Weed.”
There’s no trailer to this one yet, but the Denver Post ran a longer profile on the pair that sheds some light on their Oscar and Felix personalities. An industrial engineer with a family and solid career, Andy was looking for his next business opportunity, and Pete? Well, Pete wasn’t doing that hot at life when Andy came around, but was successfully growing about $100K worth of medical in his basement. With the personality differences, the strain of running a large cannabis business and reality cameras in tow, this one might be the dark horse to watch.
Quality control: Three pot leaves.
3. High Profits, CNN, sometime in 2015
Elevator pitch: CNN follows two “marijuana moguls” as they try to set up shop in Colorado’s ski resort communities. First stop: Breckenridge.
What we know: Okay, now it looks like we’re getting some drama. Or at least the trailer’s been edited a little better to make us think so. This series follows Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire, a pair who wants to dominate recreational sales in the small money towns outside Denver and hopefully beyond. Their business, the Breckenridge Cannabis Club, has seen its sales boom from $515,000 per year as a medicinal shop, to $5 million since recreational began.
These two are different: they’re younger, more attractive and a little more dynamic. However, the trailer is heavy on the douche factor. We don’t hear much from Caitlin at all, just a lot of voiceovers and comments from Brian, and most of those are either talking about money, rolling in money, or … him talking about money as he rolls his hands through more money. He keeps talking about security and the risks, but the way he’s flaunting it, you kind of want him to get robbed, like that asshole who keeps bragging about his Rolex on the NYC subway.
Anyway, assholes make for great reality TV. High hopes for this one.
Quality control: Four. It’s still CNN. They’ll bleep the cussing.
4. “The Marijuana Show,” web-only series, debuting TBD in December
Elevator pitch: The Apprentice meets Shark Tank for ganja-preneurs.
What we know: Holy fuckballs is this amateur hour. Watch three people you have never heard of judge a bunch of potential ideas pitched by budding canna-business owners. The promo is delightful with its “share the buzz” call to action, fuzzy stills and custom rap song, but tons of questions remain: Will this ever air? Who has the money to give these people to fund their ideas? Who crawls out of the woodwork to audition for a web show?
The “brainchild” of Karen Paull and Wendy Robbins from Taos, N.M. (they also are judges, I think, from the promo above), and produced under their parent company, Tingle Global Media, they report that they’ve had more than 200 people audition for the first show. That was narrowed down to 10 finalists, who then spent three days at business bootcamp in a private mansion in Denver—we’re only hoping “Rock of Love” style with Bret Michaels—who then go before a panel of cannabis investors to pitch their ideas.
In a Wayne’s World public-access TV kind of way, this might make The Marijuana Show downright fascinating. Or at least the most hilarious to watch after firing up a spliff.
Quality control: One pot leaf. Or five. We can’t wait to find out.
And now, in light of the fact that these are in the not-so-distant future, I leave you with “Rock of Love,” just in case you’re looking for something a little weed-friendly to watch right now.
What pot show will you be watching? Let us know in the comments.