The fear-mongering of the late '80s/early '90s was like something out of the Draconian era. For the most part, no one really knew what anyone was talking about when it came to pot, but that didn't stop them from shoving their PSAs down your throat and scaring the living sh*t out of every grade-school kid from coast to coast.
Regardless of the fact that Superman and the entire cast of Saved by the Bell were on TV warning kids about the dangers of drugs, pot is now decriminalized to the point where states can happily push THC-laced chocolate and hemp sunglasses without a second thought. Seriously, all it does is like help you sleep and improve muscle and neurological function in former athletes.
We did a deep Internet dive to dig up some of most ridiculous ads out there. Moral of the story? When you've got Pee-wee Herman warning you about the dangers of
public masturbation crack, you'd damn well better listen.
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15. Saved by the Bell
Not only did you have the entire cast of SBTB preaching to America's youth about the horrors of marijuana, but this particular PSA followed the famous episode where Jessie Spano cracks out from abusing—yup—caffeine pills. The best part is seeing the chairman of NBC, Brandon Tartikoff, "chilling" with the "gang" as if they all didn't spend each wrap party blowing lines off Screech's shockingly thin dongle.
14. "This is your brain on drugs."
Okay, we get the basic premise of this commercial: drugs will fry your brains. What this man fails to mention is that drugs will also make your innards taste delicious with bacon and toast. Personally, we think this ad advocates eating a healthy breakfast over anything else...preferably after smoking a big fat jay.
13. "Don't do crack." — Pee-wee Herman
This commercial is an absolute masterpiece because it's not Paul Reubens holding a vial of crack-cocaine...it's Paul Reubens in character as Pee-wee Herman. So, just to be clear, Pee-wee Herman is on screen telling you that crack isn't "glamorous or cool or kids' stuff." Also, there's no mention of the legality around fondling yourself in public. Shoot.
12. "Here's a little beauty from me you-dy"
The concept of this ad is that a magician is trying his hardest to sell amphetamines and airplane glue to a bunch of first graders using slight-of-hand tricks. The kids seem to be pretty well-versed in the adverse effects of barbiturates and manage to escape the clutches of these tricks. We all know a trick is something a wh*re does for money.
11. "I learned It by watching you!"
Why is the Dunkin' Donuts guys giving his son such a hard time for stealing his weed? He can obviously afford it—there are, like 874,000 Dunkin' Donuts in Queens alone. Either way, this family clearly doesn't know the calming benefits of chilling out. Take a hint from your dad, kid, he knows what he's doing.
10. "That is a prescription for danger!"
At this point, you can't look at anything G.I. Joe-related without watching the revamped PSAs. Pork-chop sandwiches!
9. "Drug dealers are dorks."
Surfer slang. Pizza. The color green. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are clearly advocates for heavy marijuana use. Pro-tip: calling a drug dealer a "turkey" will result in a hearty ass-kicking.
8. "This is heroin."
Calling back to the original 1987, this commercial has the expertly-casted Rachael Leigh Cook going absolutely ape-sh*t with a frying pan. Does anyone else find it ironic that it looks like Rachael spent the morning shooting dope before filming? This commercial shed some light on the dangers of frying pans and pretty girls.
7. "They kicked me out of the van and drove off."
This is one of the greatest ads we've found so far. Not only does this character sound like he was voiced by a 90-year-old man, but he's completely heedless of the fact that Superman sought him out from the rest of the earth's population to reassure the kid about a decision he already made. Then they fly off in the most homoerotic way ever—it's perfect.
6. Thanks for the advice, RoboCop.
Let the records show that drugs really, really bug RoboCop.
5. Don't tell us what to do, Burt Reynolds.
I'm sorry, but we're expected to believe that neither Burt Reynolds nor Judd Nelson have ever done drugs in their lives? There's two things we can say for sure about Burt Reynolds: he gives Sterling Archer a throbbing erection and he's definitely stuffed booger sugar into those little black holes above his perfect mustache.
4. "Hey, here comes Jessica and the Ghostbusters!"
W...wait, why are the Ghostbusters hanging out with a gorilla in a fedora and a camera? Where's Bill Murray? What the actual hell is going on? Did someone slip something into the water? Because we don't advocate that kind of drug use.
3. "Want to smoke a joint before trying this on?"
The truly messed-up thing is that it took us a really, really long time to figure out the point of this commercial. Because, to us, it just seems like these people are just really good friends and love to party.
2. "Drugs make me cool." — Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons has actually gone on record many times to say that he's vehemently against drugs and alcohol. If doing drugs will lead to looking like Gene Simmons, we're 100 percent in favor of abolishing marijuana.
1. Captain Lou Albano
"If you do drugs, you go to hell before you die." Captain Lou, you and your pseudo-Mario appearance have successfully steered us all away from drugs. You're the scariest-looking man in the entire world.
Jeremy Glass is the Vice editor for Supercompressor and probably drinks as much caffeine in a two-hour period as Jessie Spano has ever had in her life.