“Are you good at weed?”
It might not make perfect grammatical sense, but it's a fun and interesting question raised by the creators of CollegeHumor's upcoming reality game show “Paranoia.” The online show pits two incredibly high contestants against a larger group of sober citizens, who are then tasked to find out which two of the bunch are, in fact, very stoned.
The show, which is set to launch fully on CollegeHumor's new streaming channel, Dropout, in May 2019, offered viewers a surprise sneak-peek with a 4/20 release of the first episode on its YouTube channel.
And so far, so good.
Like other reality game shows, “Paranoia” is a survival-based game that features eight contestants that are tasked with the dutiful task of deciphering which two participants are stoners.
While the survival aspect might be reminiscent of reality game shows like “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” or even, to a slightly grosser extent, “Fear Factor,” the idea most closely mirrors the popular party game “Mafia,” or “Werewolf.” If you're not familiar with “Mafia,” it's a contest that is intended to model a conflict between two groups: an informed minority, otherwise known as “the mafia,” and an unsuspecting, uninformed majority known as the innocents.
Think of “Paranoia” as a THC-infused version of Mafia. Here's how the show works:
- There are five groups of participants.
- Two “stoners,” who are able to vote to eliminate others.
- Three “citizens,” who are sober and can also eliminate others.
- One “narc” who is allowed to guess who is high.
- A “medic,” that has the power to protect anyone (even themselves).
- A “poser,” who fakes being high (we all know that person IRL) to throw off the other contestants.
In order for the stoners to win, they must eliminate the other participants round-by-round, before they're caught. Participants get time to plead their case, so if the stoners can keep it together and maintain a credible alibi, they get a chance to help knock the sober people out first.
The stoners are all chosen at random and forced to smoke out of a gravity bong — a somewhat primitive, albeit incredibly effective way of getting super-ripped. In other words, the contestants aren't just smoking a few J's, putting in some clear eyes, and calling it a day. They're getting blasted.
Everybody Must Get Stoned
The show's creator and host, comedian and CollegeHumor cast member Ally Beardsley, told Weedmaps News that the gravity bong will be the required method of toking throughout the course of the season — mostly because of how potent it is for even the most veteran of weed smokers.
“We love that aspect of it,” Beardsley said. “And just how it kind of like eviscerates really cocky stoners.”
Beardsley also said that as much as they wanted to choose who was going to get high at the beginning of the episode, they decided that the element of surprise was the way to go.
“There were some episodes in which we were like, 'I'd really love to see that person high,' ” Beardsley admitted. “But we completely randomized it. Which is how we also get people that say they didn't smoke at all to then hit a gravity bong,” they joked.
According to Beardsley, the selected “stoners” varied from episode to episode. Some of them are novice tokers, while others were seasoned vets — blurring the lines between sober and stoned.
“Every episode is different,” Beardsley said. “You can tell there are [also] some pretty lifelong stoners that got a chance to try it out.”
“We wanted to get [a] whole spectrum.”
What makes the show unique: Each episode contains a different, stoner-related theme. The first episode's theme was “Finals Week,” which was loosely based on a bumbling stoner's own plight through the dreaded final week of the semester. Beardsley says that their favorite theme of the first season was “Thanksgiving Dinner,” just because of how close it hit to home.
“The idea is you went home for Thanksgiving and got high, but didn't realize how much of a nightmare that actually is… which has definitely happened to me,” Beardsley joked.
Unfortunately for Beardsley, they weren't able to indulge in any toking with the “stoners.” Of course, they were too busy wearing the many hats necessarily to make the show run smoothly.
“I just had way too many responsibilities to partake,” the host said.
Regardless, Beardsley showed that they are, in fact, pretty good at weed. Or at the very least, concocting weed-related game shows. And they can thank today's weed-legal climate for doing so.
“Five years ago, this show would have never existed,” they said.
Feature image: Screenshot from CollegeHumor's Paranoia.