It sparks little surprise that MTV’s newest weed-infused comedy series is by executive producer Snoop Dogg. “Mary + Jane” revolves around the concepts embodied by both the rapper and the front of MTV alike, “Mary + Jane” running on a “mainstreamed” focus and relying on millennials to identify with the life that the series’ protagonists live on a daily basis. The only problem with this concept is that, as a viewer, the line tends to become blurred between genuine and satirical humor. It’s almost impossible to tell the difference between serious points of parody and humorously placed ideas. Though one character’s t-shirt reading “Some band you’ve never heard of” accurately satirizes the hipster movement, an LA restaurant that only serves dry toast à la carte for $15 feels overbearing and doesn’t blend well into the grand scheme of the show. It is pretty funny, though.
The premise of the show is simple. Roommates and best friends Paige (Jessica Rothe, “Next Time on Lonny”) and Jordan (Scout Durwood, “The List”) are on a mission to top the marijuana industry of East L.A., aiming at reaching drug-dealer stardom as one of the top 15 dealers of the region. To do so, they cater to clients via their weed business, conveniently titled “Mary + Jane,” which is slowly drawing more attention from celebrity icons and competition alike. At the very least, the series shows promise in setting long-term goals and an active running plot to keep the show interesting over mindless gigs. However, it’s unfortunate that high-reaching goals are the only things that seem to matter in the series besides Paige and Jordan themselves. Although romantic interests are few and far between — for Paige at least, as Jordan is constantly ravaged by lust — the romantics that ensue are far from intimate in the series. Besides the leading ladies, nobody else seems to matter, given their small and fleeting roles in the pilot. In any other case, this would seem refreshing and agreeable to the series’s intent of skimming the norms of society. But in “Mary + Jane,” it stands out more as a flaw in character development than a cry against the mainstream. If the writers wish to introduce substantial supporting characters other than Paige and Jordan, they should really consider doing so now, before the series lives too much up to its name.
Despite the many flaws that plague this drug-induced sitcom (one has to wonder how that table read went…), there are redeemable qualities to be found in “Mary + Jane.” The greatest example appears as a long-running joke — that Jordan’s “Legally Blonde”-esque chihuahua is intimately interested in Paige. The puppy’s insatiable lust is humorously expressed throughout the show by stints that involve not-so-edible underwear and sexual subtitles that stand out brazenly to viewers. Another talking point comes from a covert ops celebrity delivery involving high-tech security and the probable forced slavery of performers to spoiled children. After taking too much of her own product, Jordan delivers the not-so-prescription weed to the couple, who are unidentified in her drug-induced haze, and perceived as a skeleton and a raw chicken. However, despite these strange and silly antics, the lack of close interpersonal relationships in the series paints a picture of detachment, and not in a way that’s in best interests of the show. Perhaps it’s because the series runs on a time limit of twenty-odd minutes as a sitcom, but if Jordan and Paige don’t begin making friends soon, then “Mary + Jane” might not make it past the whole casual, scroll-through watch phase.