Writing sample for The A.V. Club editorial application. 1 of 3.
Be it by blunt, bong or brownie, sometimes we middle-class Americans need to park our asses on the atrocious, Juno-esque plaid sofa, Cletus, that we snagged off a neighbor’s sidewalk on trash day, in our unfinished basement with exposed pipes and puffs of shrimp-colored insulation, fortified with Taco Bell, and get baked to some thrifted VHS tapes.
But what to watch, given the expansive cassette-realm of Disney animations and our own mid-90s home videos? Hark! — a carefully curated selection of antiquated analogs that make more sense under the influence of mind-altering “mari-joo-ana”:
The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross (1983-1994): Much like yourself after a few drags on a joint, our Shirley-Temple-headed Robert and his oversized paint-palette-n-easel set are as mellow as an Ebony Sea (season 2, episode 3).
As your thoughts string out lazier/loopier, Ross’s soothing voice evinces profound Kenobiisms; even his color choice gleans sociopolitical significance. This scenery’s “titanium white” center is a metaphor for our nation’s Anglo-centric white-supremacist history — godDAMN with this political product placement, Bob!
Struck by a surge of domesticity brought on by animalistically aggressive hunger, you put chocolate chip cookies from a yellow Nestle Toll House roll in the oven … but forget to preheat. You eat the dough raw from the baking sheet, chalking the “episode” up to a Happy Accident (S11, E13).
Next, you roll a reel of …
Nardwuar the Human Serviette (1987 to present): Whilst you munch a lukewarm, congealed Quesarito, Nardwuar asks guest Fred Armisen, “Who are you?” You ponder this existential question — identity is merely a construct … DUDE — as Nardwuar bestows his interviewee with his hallmark gifts and disorientingly specific knowledge of Fred’s personal/professional past.
You’re brinking on a quarter-life crisis with this “Who am I?” shit when a Judgment-Day-worthy answer plunk!s into your brain (which feels like a helium-filled balloon). Immediately, you forgo/forget it in favor of ?s such as, Does Nardwuar’s tam o’ shanter always match his pants?
Still a li’l shaken by Nardwuar’s direct inquiry into your personhood, you post up with a makeshift bong and play …
The Room (2003), written/directed & produced by/starring Tommy Wiseau:
Bland-to-bizarre acting, erratic yet quotable lines, Johnny’s unidentifiable accent that even a Gandalf plunge into thy chasm of Wikipedia doesn’t adequately elucidate upon. You take another hit.
Creeping paranoia corrupts your cranium, conceivably induced by either your drug intake or Wiseau’s complete ignorance of filmmaking finesse. Suddenly, the “Trivia” section of The Room’s IMDB page adopts a sinister shade (similar to the backdrop of Bob Ross’s aforementioned naturescape).
Conspiracy theories involving Tommy Wiseau’s eponymous line of boxer briefs formulate inside the network of misfiring neuro-impulses that has replaced your once-cog-churning mind.
You experience unbearable physical/psychological discomfort, like holding in your piss-filled bladder during a road trip when the sadistic driver won’t pull over, even though “we’re passing a rest stop, Dad!” Have I smoked too much weed? you wonder. Which room is “The Room”?
Tile grout pinhole-cameras into focus as you regain your faculties on the bathroom floor next to the porcelain basin. You might’ve ralphed. Your digital clock reads 9:12 p.m. It’s been two hours since you pressed PLAY on your VHS machine.
Verdict: No ounce-amount(s) of pot can make this movie not nonsensical.