Staff Picks: The best stuff to watch on 4/20

By The Pitt News Staff

EDITOR’S NOTE: With campuses emptied and University life brought to a halt, student journalism is in a tough spot right now. We’re asking our readers to please support the work of our current staff, as well as the next generation of Pitt student journalists, by donating here. Thank you for your support!

It’s 4/20 and here at the culture desk, we hope you remembered to leave Cool Ranch Doritos and a blunt out for when Snoop Dogg climbs down the chimney. With so many ways to consume marijana — from edible gummies, to homemade gravity bongs, to a vape pen that is, like, totally odorless — our staff has assembled the best weed media to consume while you’re totally not high because Pennsylvania hasn’t quite legalized it yet. 

Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch Ancient Aliens // Charlie Taylor, Senior Staff Writer

This bizarre TV series premiered on Viceland on April 20, 2016. The premise is simple — rapper Action Bronson gets stoned with friends from the music industry, like record producer Knxledge, and watches the History Channel show “Ancient Aliens.” For those unfamiliar with “Ancient Aliens,” it revolves around a group of self-proclaimed “ancient astronaut theorists” who believe that extraterrestrials visited the earth during early human history, and that evidence of this visit exists in everything from the pyramids of Egypt to the Greek myth of the Minotaur.

So “Traveling the Stars” is a show about a rapper who gets high and watches another TV show. While Bronson watches the episode on a screen in front of him, the same episode appears on a greenscreen behind him so the viewer can follow along. Ultimately, however, the most interesting part of the series is the unscripted, pot-fueled banter between the stars, making it the perfect show for a 4/20 spent alone at home. What Bronson and his friends do on the show is in many ways no different from what the average college student would do on 4/20 under normal circumstances, so watching “Traveling the Stars” feels like living vicariously through someone else.

Harold and Kumar go to White Castle // Siddhi Shockey, Senior Staff Writer

If you’ve ever had a serious case of the munchies, then you will understand why Harold and Kumar went to such great lengths for some White Castle burgers. The pair have been best friends and roommates since college, but since graduation they have become fed up with the demands of 9-to-5 jobs and pursuing graduate school. While they get high and try to destress, a commercial for White Castle catches their eye. The two plan to do a quick run out to the fast food chain, order about 30 sliders, five french fries and four large cherry cokes … each.

But, their trip shortly turns into a wild adventure. The two end up driving to Princeton University to attend a college party, pick up a hitchhiker who turns out to be Neil Patrick Harris, perform surgery with Ryan Reynolds and ride a cheetah off into the dawn. Although their bizarre escapades are the highlight of the film, their comedic and sometimes outlandish takes on being high never fail to get a laugh. And who doesn’t love a good movie about a stoner bromance? This movie is quite a trip to watch no matter how you spend your 4/20.

Half Baked // Brenden Rearick, Staff Writer

Any Dave Chappelle fan worth their salt should be very familiar with his 1998 film “Half Baked.” Before Chappelle was garnering worldwide fame — or infamy — with his namesake “Chappelle’s Show,” he was on the big screen as Thurgood Marshall, stoner custodian living in a tiny NYC apartment with his also-stoner childhood best friends Scarface, Kenny and Brian. 

When Kenny is out on the ritualistic munchie run, he finds himself in trouble with the law and facing a hefty prison sentence. To bail Kenny out of prison, Thurgood and his other buddies take up selling medical marijuana that he steals from the pharmaceutical company where he works. The business becomes wildly successful, but ultimately their luck fades as they become confronted by big-time dealer Sampson.

This irreverent comedy — Chappelle’s first ever starring role — is filled with weed-film cliches, like a girl named Mary Jane, because it’s the movie where a lot of those cliches come from. With cameos from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong and Jon Stewart, the oftentimes politically incorrect flick is a must-watch for any 4/20 fan or Chappelle fan this holiday. Get your best friends and your smoking vehicle of choice and sink into the couch with this movie on to pay homage to the stoner classic.

High Maintenance// Delilah Bourque, Culture Editor

“High Maintenance” started as a short web series in 2012 developed by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld who, weirdly, are a divorced couple in addition to creators of the show. The show, which was picked up by HBO in 2016, follows Sinclair as a weed dealer who bikes to his clients around New York City and is billed simply as “The Guy.”

The original web episodes are delightful, though short. Once the show was given a full half-hour run time, it just got better and better. Each episode tracks different characters in The Guy’s world. Sometimes the show follows clients, sometimes their neighbors and sometimes people who seem completely unrelated to The Guy until the very last second.

My aunt, who also took me to a restaurant called Kush when I went to her visit in Miami, introduced me to “High Maintenance” and I’ve been hooked ever since, the same way Jeff Sessions thinks those who smoke marijana will be addicted from the first puff. The episodes are insanely bingeable to those with an HBO subscription and feature phenomenal guest stars, such as public radio legend Ira Glass. 

I love anthology series, such as Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s “American Horror Story,” because they get to tell more stories than a traditional television show. “High Maintenance” does this particularly well, weaving in the individual stories of The Guy’s clients with the story of The Guy himself. While the show is super fun, it also isn’t afraid to play with plot lines that are more emotional — which makes it a great watch when stoned or sober.