POT PRINCESS BEHIND DISJOINTED
Dope whiz Dr. Dina acts as a consulted on Netflix's pot show, Disjointed. SUPPLIED
SARAH HANLON/ 24 HOURS
Thanks to her iconic and acclaimed Alternative Herbal Health Services shop in West Hollywood, she's called the unofficial pot doc to the stars (Snoop Dogg and 2 Chainz are clients).
And now the boldface cannabis consultant and dispensary owner Dina Browner a.k.a. "Dr. Dina" is making her mark on the small screen.
Network sitcom king Chuck Lorre (creator of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory) reached out to the self-proclaimed real-life Nancy Botwin (the pot-dealing soccer mom played by Mary-Louise Parker on Showtime's Weeds) when co-creating his latest show along with David Javerbaum for Netflix: Disjointed, a timely dramedy starring Kathy Bates as cannabis activist and dispensary owner Ruth Whitefeather Feldman who works with a bunch of misfits.
Bates' recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert had fans howling, as she regaled the host all about "Dr. Dina 420" and how the show consultant evolved into the actress's personal weed guru as well. The Oscar winner had the audience laughing as she recalled a funny story to Colbert about getting way too stoned with Bill Maher at Penny Marshall's birthday party. She also raved about the ease of "vape pens" and how much fun she has had "researching" the show. She is a method actress, after all! Not only does Dr. Dina, the daughter of a psychologist and real estate broker, bring street-smart savvy to the show's narrative, she also helped spearhead a brilliant marketing angle between the streaming culture and real-life weed.
To promote the release of the show, Netflix based Ruth's Alternative Caring on Dr. Dina's real-life cannabis dispensary.
Moreover, Dr. Dina curated and designed an entire line of weed to pair with some of Netflix's most popular shows. (See sidebar above.) Dr. Dina admits she likes to "mess with people a little" but gives Netflix full credit for allowing the show to be independently creative and push the boundaries. To whit: With animated shorts, fake YouTube streams and high-larious marijuana infomercials, Disjointed is taking the green rush in our headlines and communities and turning it into a series many of us can relate to - whether we inhale or don't.
However, some viewers complained they stopped watching after the slightly uneven, one-dimensional pilot.
Which is a shame because after watching the full season, I fell in love with the characters and can't wait for the next 10 episodes which have already been shot and will be released in January. It gets better, kids! The show also serves as a learning tool - giving a shoutout to online resources like Leafly, the World's Cannabis Resource (what the show calls "the Yelp of pot") - and features marijuana trivia and history in each episode.
Add a diverse ensemble, zeitgeisty writing and strong acting, Disjointed deserves another toke next time you sign into Netflix.
24 Hours chatted with Dr. Dina to get the scoop on the new series breaking all the rules:
Did you ever imagine a show like Disjointed would ever see the light of day?
This is a dream come true for me. I lived in the cannabis closet for so many years now and I was afraid to tell my own in-laws about what I did for a living when I first met them. To now finally have major Hollywood studio execs say they are building a cannabis club set on the Warner Brothers studio - the same lot where they filmed My Fair Lady, is [surreal]. My job is to make sure things are accurate. So I curated all these great product lines currently found in dispensaries in Los Angeles right now, have them bring me packaging, and make the place look as accurate as we're often in front of a live studio audience. As a consultant, I don't say, "you shouldn't do this! Or you shouldn't do that!" It is to say "this is correct" or "this is incorrect" so I corrected a bunch of terminologies they had put in their first script and a few facts that our community would know the answer to. Then, they realized - "Oh wow, you're very valuable, we need this."
The show really adds a new meaning to: Netflix and chill!
We could never have pulled this off had we not been working with a company like Netflix, which is so progressive and so forward-thinking and not afraid to step outside the box. And I really think that's what we need nowadays. We came up with a concept (to turn the show's dispensary into a real one and sell a specialty line of weed). It started off as a joke but they came to me and said: "We don't want any money from your sales, we can't pay you for this, but how about we come in and redo your store and we give you packaging and you find cannabis strains that would work really well with our different shows - like a sommelier would find wines that work well with your meal."
Were you worried about how the characters would be portrayed?
I was very sensitive - especially when it comes to stereotypes. But the more you get into the show, (the more you realize it's about something so much deeper). Look at Cheers - the show wasn't all about alcohol. Taxi wasn't just about driving taxi cars. (A good show is about) people and (relationships). The writers do love cannabis and respect it - not all of them use it - but some of them do. (Collectively), they really wanted positive messages about the community.
Advice to viewers who may have given up on the show?
I just really hope people give it time and make it to episode 10. Just like all new shows, it always takes a couple episodes just to get (the cast and writers) to find their rhythm, but by mid-season, everybody finds their rhythm and it becomes magical.
Follow Sarah Hanlon on Twitter @flatshanlon