I wasn’t aware of RivitTv until I read about Kevin Smith’s pilot Hollyweed, which he made three years ago but couldn’t attract funding for. Then last year it was uploaded to RivitTv’s website which is supposedly dedicated to showing work by established film and tv makers with the audience then deciding whether a full series should be made and how much should be charged per episode, from $1.99 to $5.99. In theory it’s a great idea but so far Hollyweed is the only show on the service and it’s yet to be given a series.
Whether it should be or not really comes down to how much you like Kevin Smith. I used to be very fond of him in the 90’s, ever since I randomly bought tickets for a film at the London Film Festival which sounded like it might be fun. Soon after leaving the cinema I was raving to friends about how great Clerks was, but I had no idea how much of a hit it would soon become, and that it’d be considered a cult classic to this day. I’m also extremely fond of Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma, while Zack and Miri Make A Porno has it’s moments and is a very likeable film, though since then I’ve kind of lost interest in Smith a little. But this pilot is similar to his early work, and covers his two favourite topics, weed and porn.
In the show Donnell Rawlings stars as Nips and Smith plays Pete, two guys who grow and sell weed. It begins with the duo rambling away which leads to the first big laugh of the episode when Pete exclaims “There are no dragons in Schlinder’s List”. And okay, Schlinder’s List is an easy target to make jokes about, but it’s a strong joke and a decent way to start things off too. After this it jumps to Pete and Nips working in the shop and talking in an amiable enough way about different types of marijuana, until they head outside and bump in to longtime Smith regular Jason Mewes who stretches his acting muscles by playing a homeless guy who seems a bit crazy and claims that Rolo is his superhero name. It’s all an excuse to let the three guys shoot the shit, as they used to say but hopefully no longer do so, but the dialogue is decent and the scene has a good few funny moments.
Once back in the shop we’re introduced to Brent (The O.C.’s Adam Brody), a twatty Hollywood type who they almost trick in to buying the worst kind of weed that they have, Anal Destruction, but instead he orders a strain called Hollyweed. Brody wants it delivered to his home and despite Pete’s complaints he ends up going there and meeting Brookline Mass (Frankie Shaw) a porn star, because hey, this is a Kevin Smith show after all, though Pete doesn’t initially realise he’s at a porn shoot despite all of the obvious clues right in front of his face. All of the above lets Smith do lots of porn related jokes, some of which are weak and but at this point the majority are surprisingly funny.
Meanwhile Nips is writing terrible songs for an advert for the shop, there’s lots of use of the N word which I’m always uncomfortable about when it comes from the pen of a white male like Smith, but unlike Ricky Gervais’s love for the word it’s use is not offensive, so that’s something at least. Back at the porn shoot Brent’s being an arsehole to Pete after he claims Brookline shouldn’t have to work on her birthday, and the latter two head off to the kitchen to get stoned. Cue more porn discussion, mostly based around double penetration this time around, and it starts to get a bit irritating. There’s the odd good joke like when Pete’s shown a pictures of potential dvd covers and he says “Oh that one’s pretty, you know the other one was a bit too much…lips” but a fair bit of it is bland, a comparison between the movie “How To Train Your Dragon” and Brookline training her arsehole being the kind of thing you’d only find funny if you were more stoned than Smith was when writing it.
After a bit more bonding between Brookline and Pete he decides he wants to rescue her from the porn world and manages to convince her to leave with him. After a brief trip to a restaurant they return to the shop and Pete tries to persuade Nips to give her a job as a delivery driver, and as soon as Nips learns her previous experience was anally related he hires her, because men are horrible. Then Smith suggests women are horrible too as the next morning they go to the shop and find that Brookline’s ripped them off and stolen all of their weed and money. She does at least leave him a note where she explains that she hated her life and she’s going back home, back to school, and that he essentially saved her. Then there’s one last joke about Anal Destruction and that’s that.
Whether you enjoy Hollyweed or not may partially depend on your experiences with weed as a lot of it is stoned people having stupid conversations, but thankfully most of it is pretty funny, and far funnier than the kind of chat real life stoners have (or so I’ve heard, because marijuana’s illegal in the UK and I’m admitting nothing that will see me imprisoned, the police are famous for reading comedy blogs after all). There’s also a great joke about Smith’s sudden weight loss, actually due to Smith having a heart attack and needing to lose weight, yet they incorporate that unfortunate incident in a really funny way. But on the downside some of the porn related jokes are a bit tiresome, and it’s a shame there’s quite so many. Still, with Brookline no longer part of the picture that hopefully shouldn’t be a reoccurring situation and a full series could be fun, I’ve no idea if it will happen or not but if it does I’d definitely check out at least a few more episodes.