The Benefits of Gusbandry is a an award-winning web series that is a labor of love by Portland, Oregon, filmmaker Alicia Rose and a whole host of talented actors and crew members. The series follows the exploits of Jackie, played by Brooke Totman (formerly on MADtv), and her gay best friend (or gusband, if you will) River, played by Kurt Conroyd. The best buds dish on their lives, friendship, dating, and sex, often while consuming cannabis.
Check out the season one trailer:
If the concept isn’t exactly original, the approach feels bracingly new thanks to its foulmouthed delight in casual raunch and the stars’ lived-in charms. Whereas Will & Grace always seemed too gorgeous and sexless to convincingly complain about romantic foibles, there’s a poignancy about our star-crossed heroes’ hapless deliria.
The New York Times called the series one finale a “delirious 16-minute masterpiece”:
The Benefits of Gusbandry This series by Alicia J. Rose, which has just posted its first-season finale (the sixth episode), works the straight-gay friendship thing deliciously, thanks to sharp writing and spirited performances by Brooke Totman and Kurt Conroyd. She’s Jackie, a world-weary straight woman in Oregon who has just turned 40, isn’t happy about it and tends to escape her discontent with marijuana, newly legalized. He’s River, who is gay, unattached and in the same age bracket.
They meet in Episode 1 and soon bond, helping each other through various crises and explorations. This dynamic — straight character with a gay BFF — has been around a while, but this rendition (like the one in Hulu’s caustic“Difficult People”) is more catty and crass than anything on network television, which gives the series a sharp edge. River is something of a stereotype, but that stereotype is one of Ms. Rose’s targets, along with pompous artists, weed aficionados, self-denigrating 40-somethings and gusbandry itself. The season finale is a delirious 16-minute masterpiece of pretension-puncturing.
The Benefits of Gusbandry is crowdfunding to produce another three episodes and the cannabis community should help make the new episodes a reality as the series shows cannabis in a positive, realistic light. Cannabis use is just a part of the lives of the characters in Gusbandry, just as it is a natural part of millions upon millions of people and the series even filmed on location at the dispensary Panacea (and yes, my wife and I were honored to be featured extras in the episode). Supporting has its perks, so please check out the Seed & Spark crowdfunding page and spread the word.