(without lowering your sperm count)
Shows like Weeds are the reason God created Netflix. All too often a television series will settle into a monster of the week (X-Files) or crime of the week (CSI:Miami) storyline that begins and ends in a convenient yet unfulfilling one-hour package. Weeds takes a refreshing break from that stuffy mold while following the never-ending and often hilarious trials of a pot-dealing single mother.
As a recently widowed mother of two, the ends just won’t meet for Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) and dealing offers the only respite. And dealing in suburban America offers its own set of difficulties, as relentless gossip and PTA intrigue can wreak havoc on a growing drug empire. Nancy must wrestle with the pain of her husband’s tragic death, the difficulties of raising two growing boys, and the unending pressure to survive the law and her drug dealing competition. It’s fun, hilarious, dark, and tragic. It’s also great television.
Weeds is its truly amazing cast of characters. Talents like Mary Louise Parker (Boys on the Side), Elizabeth Perkins (He Said, She Said), and Romany Malco (The 40 Year Old Virgin) lay on the drama, energy, and sarcasm so well it’s got to be unhealthy. And the final proof of Weeds’ comedic chops is how even Kevin Nealon (SNL) manages to shine as a supremely mellow PTA President/pothead.
Mary Louise Parker alone could carry this show as the multi-layered, eponymous pot dealing mom. Vulnerable and frightened or tough and capable, Mary dances through her roles with grace, aplomb, and a sarcastic jibe waiting to dart from her lips. And every bit of Mary Louise Parker’s considerable acting ability is necessary because her character, Nancy Botwin, is on one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
In one memorable scene, Nancy confronts a competing dealer who has pushed some product onto a ten year old. Clearly enraged, Nancy seems just as surprised as the dealer when she physically threatens him to stop dealing to children. I won’t spoil how this altercation ends, but the surprise and intensity of the scene remains just as believable and captivating as the humorous banter between Nancy and her queen-bitch neighbor played by Elizabeth Perkins.
Be warned however that Weeds is not fun for the whole family. Teenaged sex, adultery, not to mention drug dealing and drug use are constantly on screen and in your face. And at times the series can drop into the realm of tragedy with a bluntness that isn’t appropriate for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend watching Weeds in front of your impressionable children or religious mother-in-law with the Jesus tattoo on her back.
As much as I want to go on with my glowing and fantastically written review, I’m afraid I’ll spoil the plotlines and ruin the mellow you’ll get from this sure-fire hit. With any luck, you’ve already taken my advice and ordered the first season’s DVD, but second season is off-limits because it’s not out yet and I have first dibs.