STUDIO: Lionsgate
MSRP: $39.98
RUNNING TIME: 283 Minutes
• Commentary on six episodes
• "Smokey Snippets" clip segments
• Mockumentary on marijuana
• Agrestic herbal recipes
• Bonuses from Showtime
• Music video

The Pitch

wearing a baggy coat to soccer practice."

The Humans

Parker (The West Wing), Elizabeth Perkins (Must Love Dogs), Kevin
Nealon (anything he hasn’t been in?), Romany Malco (The 40 Year-Old Virgin).

The Nutshell

Botwin (Parker) lost her husband not long ago to a heart attack. He was the
breadwinner in their family. Now
Nancy‘s stuck trying to raise her two
young boys while maintaining the lifestyle to which they have all become

the rub: She has become a pot dealer to make those ends meet.

It’s important for every writer to do a little free-writing before embarking on a new project.
Here, David Mamet prepares for his new script.

The Lowdown

a show takes a while to find its footing; sometimes the nature of the story
necessitates a slow burn. Weeds falls into the latter
category. If you watch the first couple of episodes, you could easily (and
rightly) dismiss the content as no more than that of American Beauty or The
or the ilk: stories of suburbia obsessed with the rot
beneath the candy coating. Single mom forced into unusual circumstances to
maintain standard of living. It’s not the most compelling of settings.

Where Weeds
succeeds, and earns its distinction, is in the gradually addition of
complexity, the continual weaving and unweaving of character politics. As with
prime time soap operas, the character progression is dealt with in a
"one-step-forward-two-steps-back" mode, in which a character seems to
make some sort of headway out of the realm of complication, but actually is
being pulled deeper in. Minor successes satisfy the audience craving for glimpses
of resolution, while the briar patches provide assurance that the show has the
ability to continue for many seasons.

Wrong way ’round.

not to say that the show is a soap opera, of course. Like its spiritual kin, Gilmore
, there are two factors that raise Weeds above such
contemporaries as Desperate Housewives: the acting and the thematic grounding.

Nancy starts out as the strongest facet of the show, endearing
and engaging even in the first couple of relatively weak episodes. Her so-close-to-cracking
exterior is humorous and heartfelt, and she plays an excellent fish out of
water who is desperately trying to evolve her some legs in a hurry. Her
co-stars start off as caricatures, but gradually deepen, until snotty mother
Celia (Perkins) becomes a touchstone for insincere change, and
Nancy‘s pot source, Conrad (Malco)
stands as a decent dissonance of sympathy and selfishness.

It’s the
theme of the show, though, that shoulders most of the burden of keeping
audience attention until the characters are built up enough. There’s a lot of
shrill commentary on how controversial Weeds is ("Pot!
Motherhood!") but it manages to tap into a political situation much deeper
than the war on drugs. There is a constant tug-of-war between the proto-Libertarian
ideals of the adults and the effort to exercise those same ideals on the parts
of the children. It’s a strange, common little tension. How can a parent
espouse complete freedom — as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s
life, liberty, or property — while at the same time maintaining an
authoritarian control over her children? Speaking theoretically, it’s a pretty
simple answer; but in the world of Weeds, complications arrive thanks
to the inconvenient emotions of the characters involved. (As an added bonus to
the politically-minded, the exercising of civil rights in the context of the
show also serves up a well-sized Fuck You to the war on drugs.)

Megan Gives Great Healthcare Benefits

There is
no didacticism coming from the thematic underpinning, fortunately. It’s a
recipe for drama, not a manifesto in dramatic form. It is, first and foremost,
a drama with a healthy number of laughs. There are a handful of wonderful
cameos, such as Allison Janney as a drug-savvy lawyer, and the inestimable Jane
Lynch as a health-conscious "baked goods" dealer. These lighthearted
distractions contribute a convincing variety to the mostly-depressing plots,
and allow for a respectable range from Parker and her cohorts.

Weeds is a show much more thoughtful
than many of its primetime peers. Though its run isn’t quite paved with gold,
it is studded with jewels of comedy and pathos. The second season is just
beginning on Showtime, so if you’re a subscriber, give it a look see. These ten
episodes stand as an absorbing entry into one of the better shows currently on

Don’t tell the government, but cougars bleed crude.

The Package

the ten episodes, spread across two discs, you get: commentaries on six of the
episodes by the cast and crew, which seem more tech-centric than they should
be; some fine herbal recipes from the fictional community of Agrestic; a
mockumentary on marijuana, clip compilations, a music video (the show features
quite a number of quality indie and rock acts, including The Mountain Goats and
Sufjan Steven) and some Showtime-brand content that’s part entertainment, part

It’s a
good collection, though most are pretty self-explanatory with few surprises or
real deep information. The disc producers definitely get points for including
some unusual features beyond the standard fare.

Tell me,
though: Why not give away this season for free? Once you’re hooked, they can
charge what they want.

7 out of 10