Pot boiler

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 June, 1998, 12:00am

You don't have to be a dope head to know that the reported effects of marijuana smoking include an enormous increase in appetite, as well as a dreamy sense of well-being.

For this reason, many patients undergoing the chemotherapy treatment, which makes you feel so sick you don't want to eat anything, and as a result rapidly lose weight, have attested to the remarkable powers of a good spliff, or a well-made cookie.

Unlike heroin, marijuana cannot be prescribed by doctors, except briefly in California. So chemo patients who have enough on their plates already are forced to go out and score the wicked weed from some grubby little dealer, just to get through.

Or they can ask a friend to do the deal for them. This is what happens in tonight's episode of Murphy Brown, (Pearl, 6.50pm) in which Jim, of all people, risks a drugs rap to bring Murphy a joint.

When this episode aired in the United States, the conservative establishment went berserk.

Murphy Brown had already wilfully condoned single motherhood, now it was drugs! Needless to say the subsequent ratings boost made all the flak worthwhile.

The scheduling decision that has resulted in Fantastic Friday (World, 9.30pm) appears at first glance to be something that came up after a long evening passing around fragrant home-rolled smokes.

'I know! Let's put Mr Bean with a weird Japanese game show!' 'Yeah, and hey, haven't we got the rights to that amazing Teletubbies thing? Why don't we tag that on too?' 'Excellent idea!' However, it is the brainchild of a serious, sober executive at ATV called Jeffrey Chan, who decided to do something different in order to provoke a reaction. This he has done, although the reaction has mainly been 'is ATV crazy?' rather than 'gosh, what an extraordinary marketing idea.' Mr Bean, of course, is the most successful British comedy show ever made, in which Rowan Atkinson portrays a moron who manages to make the most mundane and simple task look ridiculous.

Ganbare, the Japanese game show, is the dark horse of the three, a kind of smutty, slapstick version of the infamous Endurance game show, in which contestants fall into swimming pools, or lose items of clothing. It will be screened in its original Japanese with an English commentary, recorded by two astonished presenters, Nury Vittachi and Miss Asia, Canadian Janey Lee.

And Teletubbies is the show British satirical magazine Private Eye claimed is watched by bug-eyed ravers crawling in after a night bouncing away the effects of a tab of Ecstasy. The bright colours, minimalist plot, and gibberish dialogue resemble nothing so much as a hallucinogenic trip, apparently.

It was designed to hypnotise one-to-four-year-olds so their parents could get on with the housework, and has had some success in this area.