Are We High Yet?
The show follows best friends Jordan (played by Scout Durwood) and Paige (played by Jessica Rothe), two Millennials who start a “mostly legal prescription delivery service” in Los Angeles. Though it’s inferred they’re best friends, it’s never actually stated: What we do see, however, is that they’re roommates, which presumably confirms their long-lasting friendship. But just because you’re roommates with someone doesn’t mean you’re their best friend. This sort of conundrum permeates the entire pilot, with things never explicitly stated but hinted at, but the hints are never strong enough to make anything definitive. Yes, it’s not necessary for everything to be delivered on a silver platter, but for the sake of investment, there needs to be contextualization. Paige was going to go into event planning and gave up her lifestyle blog, while Jordan put every single cent of hers into Mary + Jane—the name of their company. This bit of characterization helps establish the hustle of the characters—and then it drops from there.
The writing is realistic. And that's about it.
There is one scene in the beginning where Paige divides up the product, and a scene later in the episode where the duo do their first (?) delivery, but, aside from these two instances, everything else is a series of bitching and moaning about getting on the “Green 15,” a list of L.A.’s best weed delivery services. Too often do Jordan and Paige proclaim they’re “gonna get on that damn list,” but there is never any tangible progress on their dream to get on the list—other than merely fantasizing it. Actions speak louder than words, and without the action, the words are meaningless. Thankfully, their conviction is inspiring, and their incessant exclamations do cause you to root for them.
For the sake of investment, there needs to be contextualization.
The writing, unfortunately, is neither witty nor compelling. What it is, though, is realistic. Producers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, who have worked together on Josie and the Pussycats (the film, not the fictional rock band), have managed to craft dialogue that actually sounds real. (I know, shocker!) The banter between Jordan and Paige is fantastic, with all the girl power you’d expected from two Millennial women. Sadly, that’s all the writing is: realistic. It’s not particularly good: Scout Durwood and Jessica Rothe work with what they have, but the script isn’t strong. It’s not particularly interesting: Though realistic, nothing that is being said by any of the characters is noteworthy or riveting. And it’s not particularly funny: For being a show about stoners—and a comedy at that—it wasn’t that funny. The funniest thing about the entire episode was Daniel Day-Lewis, Jordan’s dog. Yes, a dog. And did I mention that it talks? Because it does.
Additionally, every situation is too convenient. Episode one follows Jordan and Paige as they set up their business, Mary + Jane, and do their first delivery as a company. Paige is recovering from a traumatic breakup with a burgeoning graffiti artist named Softs3rve—no lie, that’s what we know his as right now—and Jordan is sleeping around with their potential clients and not charging them for the weed or her services. (Party foul!) Once the duo receive their first actual delivery, the setups are too obvious and insipid, and the payoff is not worth the trite buildup. It’s a shame, too, because the world building is fascinating: Los Angeles is always a great place to base a television series, and Mary + Jane has all of the right ingredients for an engaging series.
Mary + Jane is just okay. A good handful of the important ingredients are there: a compelling premise, good rapport between the cast, a riveting world, realistic writing. It’s just everything else that fails: the weak script, the unfunny jokes (if you want to call them that), the too-convenient-to-give-a-damn setups. And although the episode is only 30 minutes long, that’s a long 30 minutes I’ll never get back. And I wasn’t even high. We’ll see how long Mary + Jane‘s joints burn for before they are just roaches needing to be ashed out.