‘We spoke with the back of the coach: ‘Help!’ And it was Biggins.” There may never ever be a greater line said on television, so applaud be that Gone to Pot: American Journey (ITV) was ever believed up, and marvel that it happened. Although it promises to take a look at the legalisation of marijuana in the US through the eyes of Pam St Clement, Linda Robson, John Fashanu, Bobby George and Christopher Biggins, it becomes a comical work of art and is by far the funniest thing I have actually seen on TV this year. It climaxes with panto legend Biggins and darts legend George throwing up furiously thanks to their overindulgence in a nonagenarian cannabis chef’s weed-flavoured ice-cream, on the back of a psychedelic bus in the car park of among the most garish hotels in California. I’ll admit I was initially sceptical about the property, but this is an instantaneous classic. Gone to Pot for best-comedy Bafta. Heck, Gone to Pot for best-picture Oscar. It deserves them all. It’s a fever dream of a documentary series that shouldn’t really exist. It’s a little bit The Genuine Marigold Hotel– and I wonder if this came from one hazy night, in which a producer type believed: “Exactly what else sounds like Marigold? Maritime? Mari … juana?”– because it loads off older stars on their travels, and even pinches George from series one. However to provide it that necessary 2017 twist, it takes the facility of an incredibly popular YouTube video, Grandmas Cigarette Smoking Weed for the First Time, and includes it to the mix. The result is flamboyantly odd, or unusually flamboyant, and, assisted by nothing more powerful than a cup of tea, I was laughing from beginning to end.
Each of the five celebs is coming at it from a slightly various location. The voiceover claims that they are all there with medical ailments, and wish to see if medical marijuana will assist their collection of arthritic joints and state of mind swings. It is, we’re guaranteed, a bid to see if legalising cannabis in the UK is a great idea. I enjoy the concept that sending out Pat Butcher and Christopher Biggins to San Francisco to paint a cactus while cigarette smoking bongs will in some way influence domestic drug policy. After watching this, I’m persuaded that this lot would be more efficient in supervising reasonable legislation than the rabble presently in charge. But really, it’s all about watching 5 famous people getting stoned on camera.
Or not getting stoned, in the case of John Fashanu, who is intolerant of any drug-taking, ranks cannabis together with heroin and cocaine, and declares that he is “high on life”. He seems petrified of trying it, although is eager to earn his put on the multicoloured fun bus carrying them around California. It’s tough not to hear him state, “If I take it, might I end up being incredibly aggressive and start utilizing martial arts? You do not know, I’ve got 16 years. Four black belts,” without imagining Steve Coogan having actually written the lines, and you can’t fail to value his imperious delivery of: “To discuss it, I should know exactly what it resembles. So I developed adequate courage to attempt the ice-cream.”
He does so at chef Nonna Marijuana’s house, tasting a bit of the pudding. Nothing occurs. “Men are sometimes a little bit incautious,” notes St Clement, wryly, as an extremely smiley Biggins, who consumed a lot of ice-cream, starts to sing My Method, forgets that he’s singing My Way, then loses the ability to speak. 4 hours after supper, in a sentence I can not believe I am composing, Christopher Biggins and Bobby George are filmed whiteying on the bus.
It’s difficult to pinpoint which littles this documentary seemed most like an outtake from a long lost John Waters motion picture. It may have been the minute that George remembered he was missing out on 3 toes, then went behind the bar of his bar to bring one of them, preserved in vodka, to reveal to the video cameras. It may have been when Fashanu was being massaged with CBD oil by an order of weed-smoking nuns called the Siblings of the Valley. It may even have been St Clement’s painting of the cactus, at an enterprise called Puff, Pass and Paint, which descended into what she declared was “the most incredible fit of giggles, which was completely pleasurable”. Like Biggins with dessert, I gobbled the entire thing up.
Sadly, the preview clip for the next two episodes– the series is extended over an entire week, like a prestige Channel 4 drama directed by a Hollywood hotshot, as it needs to be– recommends our brave weed press reporters will be forced to confront the darker side of the cannabis market. I object in the strongest possible terms. There’s ample to enjoy in Robson evaluating hotel spaces (“It’s the Simon Bates Motel,” she says, of one dodgy inn) and St Clement having the time of her life. Let’s keep everybody’s spirits high.
This short article was amended on 14 November 2017 since an earlier variation referred of the photo caption described Joshua Fashanu.