Describing itself as a road trip across various American states to investigate the pros and cons of legalising marijuana, ITV’s Gone to Pot feels like it could have had the makings of quite a serious documentary. In the hands of the BBC or Channel 4, a rather more austere portrayal of weed might have reached our screens, but ITV went down a different rabbit hole.
Replacing the grey rented SUV with a psychedelic tour bus, dark and rainy back streets with the vibrant, sun-soaked San Francisco, and Louis Theroux with a host of amicable, semi-famous retirees (maybe he doesn’t concern himself with any drugs that aren’t Class A), and ITV have offered up something quite unexpected.
On the tour we have actors Linda Robson, Pam St Clement, Christopher Biggins, Bobby George (owner of the most comforting voice in sports) and retired footballer, Gladiators host, and ‘Awooga’ pioneer, John ‘Fash’ Fashanu.
Most seemingly want to investigate the potential medicinal powers that weed supposedly has and are all fairly open to trying some, except dear Fash who is so staunchly anti-drugs that you begin to wonder why he agreed to take part in the first place.
Throughout the episode he sits back and tuts as his fellow travellers partake in the wacky backy, fearing how he might react if ever tempted: “I’m worried if I take it, might I become extremely aggressive and start using martial arts”.
The format is pretty standard. Tour guide Chris, a definite proponent of the ganja, takes them to various places where weed plays a role: a dispensary, a nunnery, a painting class (where a bong is brought round to encourage creativity), and the kitchen of a lady known as Nonna Marijuana. It’s all sunshine and roses until Bobby and Christopher over-indulge on some edibles and begin to take a turn for the worse. Spoiler alert: there’s spew in a bag.
Gone to Pot is perfectly palatable, and accompanied by an excellent soundtrack, but the real amazement comes from the fact that this show exists in the first place. It would have been fascinating to see the brainstorming session: ‘Let’s get a group of celebrities stoned!’ ‘Ok, but how can we get away with it on primetime?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, we’ll say it’s a documentary about legalising weed, people will love that’.
Gone to Pot doesn’t really seem to know what it is, torn between trying to be a serious documentary and a bit of a mess about, but that really isn’t such a bad thing. Hard-hitting this is not.
What it is, is a rather refreshing and genteel venture into the world of drugs, where our trip guides happen to be retired British celebrities. Awooga!
Image: StayRegular @ Pixabay