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RUNNING TIME: 266 minutes
- Gag Reel
- Cast and Crew answer fan questions
Season 1 pitch: A plucky, widowed cougar sells weed to her subdivision in this light hearted romp through the the life of a drug dealing single mom in the suburbs.
Season 6 pitch: What rock bottom looks like. Over and over and over and over…
Created by Jenji Kohan.
Acted by Mary-Louise Parker, Justin Kirk, Alexander Gould, Hunter Parrish, Kevin Nealon and Demián Bichir.
Spoilers for the first five seasons of Weeds. Derp.
After the untimely death of her husband, Nancy Botwin started selling pot around her gated community of Agrestic, California. In order to take care of her children, Silas and Shane, she feels like it’s the only way to keep them in the lifestyle they’re accustomed to. Eventually she grows to get off on it, so she starts growing the pot herself and builds a team to help her keep on top of her game. After marrying a D.E.A. Agent for protection (and getting him killed), and getting into bed with guys much more dangerous than she is (and getting them killed), she burns down her house and takes the kids to Ren Mar, on the San Diego\Tijuana border. In less than no time, she’s running a maternity store for the Mexican Mafia that has an underground tunnel leading across the border where the mafia can smuggle weed, heroin and brown human lives. Nancy starts sleeping with the drug kingpin, Esteban Reyes (who also happens to be the Mayor of Tijuana), only, when things get a little too serious for Nancy, she becomes an informant to the D.E.A. When Esteban finds out he grabs her and takes her somewhere to be killed, except moments before the deed is done, Nancy pulls out some ultrasound photo’s of a baby… a baby growing in her uterus due to Mr. Reyes’ seed taking purchase. Since he wants a child (preferably a masculine child), he marries Nancy instead of killing her, she has the baby and they all live happily after. Until her youngest son, Shane, kills Esteban’s evil and powerful boss with a croquet mallet.
I have to talk about the ending of this season in order to really get into the meat of this show, so if you haven’t seen the full season then I recommend you not spoil your supper. Or the show.
I don’t like Nancy Botwin. I think she’s selfish, has some really weird sex issues (harmful ones), uses people and then discards them when they’re no longer of use to her and is a really crappy parent. Oh, and she dresses like a cheap Las Vegas street walker. Denim mini skirts and cowboy boots? Really? After slogging through Season 4, I realized the only reason I was still watching the show was because I really liked Justin Kirk as Uncle Andy and I figured Nancy’s luck could only hold out for a little while longer until she caught a bullet in the face. And before you start saying “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN”, do you think that they would be any worse off than they are now with Andy looking after them? Probably. But still. Fuck Nancy.
Weeds used to be about a widowed soccer mom who starts dealing weed in the suburbs to provide for her family. Now it’s about how that was a really bad idea that has far reaching consequences for every single person who has ever known her or even been in the same room with her for longer than five minutes. If they made this show into a fantasy, it would be about an ex-princess who has a magical vagina that controls the lives of men, but the power slowly changes until all it does is make everything Princess Nancy touches turn to shit. The show also used to be a comedy, but ever since the finale of Season 2, it has seemed to revel in making life as horrible for our characters as possible. If it wasn’t for Andy and the fascinating arc of Shane, I would have stopped watching this show at the end of season 4. Even more so than The Venture Bros. or even Arrested Development, this show is exclusively about failure and the constant ability of those with no way to look past their own noses to fail in ways that no one has ever failed before.
The first three seasons of the show are a different beast than the following three. It almost feels like the creative team realized that Nancy wasn’t very likable anymore, so they made Andy constantly call her out on her shit and anytime she starts feeling sorry for herself someone steps in to let her know that she brought it all down upon herself. There has been a myriad of moments during the run of the show where Nancy could have given it all up because she had plenty of money to stop, but it’s not about stopping anymore. It’s about how danger, power and bad, bad men get her wet and the rush of all those things together make her feel more alive than being a soccer mom ever did. For the third and fourth season, I felt like they had slowly made her so awful that still expected the audience to like her without noticing, but now that the show has fully embraced Nancy as anti-hero instead of hero, they can really start playing with our expectations of where a show like this is supposed to go. I don’t think they’ve fully embraced that yet, but baby steps have been made to subvert this show and create something akin to an origin story of a super-villain. Although, it’s not entirely certain that the super-villain is Nancy.
When Shane murdered Pilar in the final moments of Season 5, it was the standout moment of the entire season. Pilar was very much an evil human being who was in the middle of telling Nancy that she was going to kill her children and make it look like a car accident. So, fair play to Shane who saves the family in one excellently times bludgeoning, but the problem is that he feels nothing afterwards. He’s not happy that he saved the family or numb that he took a human life. He feels nothing. It’s as if he swatted a fly or took out the trash. Shane has always been an extremely strange kid, whether he was biting kids in Season 1 or masturbating to pictures of his mom in Season 4. Since he got shot last season and refused to take any painkillers because he liked knowing that he could stop the pain but would rather experience it, it seemed like he might be a sociopath and murdering Pilar solidified that for us as well as for him. There are scenes throughout the season with Nancy and Shane talking that come very close to being carbon copies of scenes from Dexter when Dex is learning how to pretend to be normal from Harry.
The entirety of Season 6 is the Botwin family (including Esteban’s new born son and Doug, eventually) on the run from the police and Esteban’s henchmen. It’s the road movie season of Weeds. It’s like Thelma and Louise except you’re hoping the cops catch up to them and shoot them in the painfuls. It’s exactly like Thelma and Louise. Every couple of episodes they find a place to lay low for awhile until Nancy does something to ruin it and they’re forced to move on. When they get jobs at a hotel in Seattle, Andy gets his dream job as a chef while Nancy has to be a maid because she has no discernible talents other than luck and sex. After realizing she’s incapable of honest work anymore, she starts making and selling hash, which, naturally, she’s bad at so after two episodes they’re on the run again. Repeat this three more times and you have Season 6 of Weeds.
Season 6 is better than Season 5, but only by a little and that mostly has to do with the fact that Justin Kirk as Andy is hilarious, Shane’s arc is incredible and Celia Hodes is nowhere in sight. It hit a point last season where every time she came onscreen it put me in a bad mood. I’m not knocking Elizabeth Perkins’ performance, which was always very consistent, but I can only handle so much of a harpy until I tune out. With her out of the picture the show became less insufferable and more sufferable. The show is getting better again, but still doesn’t come close to the heartfelt hilarity and intensity of the first three seasons. It’s just not fun anymore.
In typical Weeds fashion, the season has one hell of a cliffhanger that will definitely make me tune in for the seventh (and supposedly final) season. The finale has Nancy getting arrested at the airport right as Esteban catches up to her and is about to take her somewhere secluded and kill her (where have I seen that before?) just as Silas, Shane and Andy are on a flight to Copenhagen to start a new life. Right as the cops show up, she confesses to the murder of Pilar to cover for Shane, thus giving her her first redeeming moment of the entire season and probably last season as well. As her sons fly off to another country, she finally decides to be a good mom. Whether it’s too little too late will hopefully be the focus of next season.
Weeds is definitely a guilty pleasure, but if you’ve made it this far then there’s no reason to stop now (other than self respect and better things to do). I continue watching simply because I have to see the final fate of these characters. Not because they’re incredibly well written (although Andy and Shane have their moments), or because I’m that invested in them as people (because the writers aren’t), but because it’s like a train wreck that keeps wrecking itself over and over again just to see if anyone is watching. It’s addictive television, but it gives you the same feeling afterwards as a real addiction does: a bit of shame combined with a bit of self recrimination surrounded by the knowledge that as soon as there’s more of it you’ll consume it like the sad little junkie the state of Oregon keeps telling me I am. I mean you are. DON’T LOOK AT ME!
Is it just me or is it really annoying when they spread the special features out over all the discs of a season? It’s like, “Oh, great, I have now finished the third and final disc of Weeds and would now like to watch the spoiler filled gag reel. It’s on Disc One? But I don’t even know where that disc is anymore!?!? Now I have to find a clock tower on which I shall shoot people’s moms.” Do you see the trouble that causes the world, Lionsgate Home Entertainment?? Just because you spread the special features over three discs doesn’t mean it makes it look like more featurettes and commentaries and interviews with Justin Kirk and Kevin Nealon. It looks like a comb over, is what it looks like.
The gag reel is short and filled with Justin Kirk breaking character a lot. It’s a bit of a letdown. I listened to some of the premiere commentary but after ten minutes of no interesting secrets being shared, I turned it off and played Crysis 2. There’s also a featurette with Justin Kirk and Kevin Nealon asking each other questions that made me laugh a few times but didn’t really have any point to existing. Finally, there’s a Q & A with the creators where they ask questions written in by audience members but I don’t think a single interesting question was asked. Enjoy!
Out of a Possible 5 Stars