On this holiest of holidays, 420, we media folk like to take the time to celebrate cannabis culture and all that it has done for the advancement of...things to write about. Or, at the very least, it’s a great opportunity to point out all the dumb shit brands do in an effort to appear relevant, further commodifying what little that is good and pure.
On this date last year, Netflix shared a teaser for their then-upcoming stoner comedy, Disjointed, starring Kathy Bates as the owner of a medicinal weed dispensary. Everything about it is the antithesis of anything I would ever enjoy viewing—loads of white people enjoying and partaking in behavior that brown and black people are criminalized for, every joke inevitably landing on a “lol they’re high” note, fucking laugh tracks—but I found myself forced to skim through at least one of its premiere episodes last fall, after it debuted in late August, because one of these characters stole my goddamn name.
This...has never happened to me before. As a child, I used to joke that “Maria Sherman,” isn’t too far off from “John Smith,” but in really, actually is? Maria (and my middle name Cristina) come from my Puerto Rican mother, Sherman from my Austrian father—a purposeful combination that speaks to my biracial identity. Maria Sherman on Disjointed—played by Nicole Sullivan (who I like!)—is a regular customer at Bates’ dispensary, a wealthy, white, pot-smoking, middle-aged homemaker who not-so-secretly hates her life. (Wow, what an original, healthy narrative!) These are not things I identify with, which is not the point, but is still infuriating to me personally and unreasonably.
This past Valentine’s Day, in a romantic gift for moi, Disjointed was cancelled, likely because it is very, very bad. Not because they stole my name, which is apparently too common for me to have any real claim to. But for a few months there I received a bunch of confused DMs on Twitter from—strangely—francophone fans of the show expressing their love for the character (how?) and confusing me for the fictional Sherm. Most are gone now, but a quick search does reveal that my journalistic career means nothing:
The moral of the story here is BLAZE IT, if you wanna, but someone tell Netflix to GTFO here and leave my name alone. Byeeeeeeeeeee!