On FX’s new comedy “Wilfred,” Ryan (Elijah Wood) ends just about every episode with a bong hit.
He’s not alone.
The lead characters on Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” and NBC’s “Harry’s Law” also like a good toke.
Although such premium cable shows as Showtime’s “Weeds” and HBO’s “c” feature characters who routinely light up, the casual depiction of pot lovers on basic cable and commercial TV alarms some.
“This is really unfortunate because, after all, it’s illegal, and by encouraging it, they are really encouraging young people who watch the show to view this as normal,” said Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the Parents Television Council, a nonprofit watchdog group.
“What’s even more damaging is that you really don’t see any real-world consequences for drug usage and the shows play it off as some laughing matter,” Henson said.
None of the shows is aimed at children, but Henson said that once a taboo is broken on television, there is a trickle-down effect on programs that do target kids.
Network representatives declined comment.
Not everyone thinks viewers should be alarmed if their favorite character reaches for a joint, however.
“I think there is a change in the cultural consciousness. People that aren’t weed users see that regular people do this, and a lot more than they think, and it’s good to see that the entertainment community has caught up with that,” said Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, one of the many advocacy groups involved in passing Massachusetts’ Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative in 2008.
According to state law, these TV characters aren’t doing anything more criminal than forgetting to feed a parking meter: Getting caught with less than an ounce of grass results in a civil citation with a $100 fine.
“Harry’s Law” and “Workaholics” both have been renewed for second seasons. The future of “Wilfred” is hazy (RENEWED).
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