Five Reasons I Love Weeds and Five Reasons You Probably Won’t

A week ago, I had never heard of this show.  I know I’d seen the DVDs at Target or something; after all it’s kind of hard to miss Mary-Louise Parker on a spider web.  But other than that it was just this show that my Netflix kept telling me I’d like.  Since I’d just finished watching four and a half seasons of Psych in about two and a half weeks, it was time for a new show.  So I thought, “What the heck, Netflix knows me better than most people do (wow, it’s depressing when you actually type that out), I’ll give it a shot.”

And was immediately, instantly in love.  Here’s why.

5.  It’s about the suburbs.

I am a suburban kid.  And dang proud of it, actually.  I used to have this kind of Christian guilt about having money, but I’m over it now.  In fact, a professor recently had me over for an assignment out in Waco’s suburbs, and I must admit that it felt like going home.  I mean from the second I saw those perfectly manicured lawns and $50,000 cars, I felt stress leave my body.  But I digress.

So Weeds is the story of Nancy Botwin, a suburban housewife who actually isn’t trapped in a loveless marriage, having an affair, secretly addicted to something, or raising mini-Hitlers.  Until her husband randomly dies, leaving her to hold her family together.  So she does what anyone in that situation would do – she sells pot to the white folk.    This show is incredibly critical of all things middle America.  It talks about the loveless marriages, the affairs, the self-medication, the cover ups, and the Christian hypocrisy.  And I love it.  I mean, these are my people it’s mocking, and maybe I should be offended.  Except that it’s SO true.  Now, I’d like to think that the show exaggerates a whole lot, but I’d be lying to myself.  I do think it’s a little extreme – I mean we never see genuine Christians or truly committed spouses – but that’s TV.

4.  The soundtrack.

Weeds definitely has a love of Folk.  The intro – which is basically everything I hate about the genre (one singer with a pretty crappy voice playing a crappy guitar being “quirky” aka just having nonsensical lyrics that don’t rhyme), is very folksy, and a lot of the songs from the episodes are too.  But they tend to be pretty legit.  Seasons 2 and 3 of the show have the theme song performed by different artists every episode, which is highly entertaining.  I also love how the last song of each episode is always always always both TOTALLY random, AND a perfect fit for the cliff-hanger ending.  It pretty much never fails to make me smile.

3.  The writing.

Now, lots of shows have a good premise.  Lots of shows are original.  Lots of shows have solid dialogue, or good characters, or interesting story lines.  Unfortunately, few shows actually manage to put all those things together.  Weeds is one of them.

Some of the characters are witty.  Nancy always has a quick comeback to what others say.  Heylia has a great sense of irony.  Some of the characters are moronic.  Doug comes to mind.  Dean too sometimes.  Some of the characters are just funny because they’re so ridiculous.  Celia – more on her later – and Sanjay, for example.  All of the characters are consistent and well-crafted.

The plot is great.  I love how each season somehow manages to ramp up the action without devolving into sensationalism or horribly-contrived plots (GREY’S I’M LOOKING AT YOU.  YOU TOO DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES).  Over the course of the first three seasons, Nancy has gone from a drug dealer, to a major dealer, to a grower, to participating in heroin trafficking and drive-by shootings and hiring Mexican gangsters to beat up bikers.  Seriously.

2.  Nancy Botwin.

Who doesn’t love a good survivor?  Monsieur Thenardier of Les Mis?  Sark from Alias?  Julie Cooper from The O.C.??  And while Celia is more like Julie, it’s Nancy who is the ultimate survivor.  Basically the whole show is her reacting to more and more crap that life is throwing at her.  But she’s a great character.  She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s adaptable, and she’s SMOKIN’ (ba dum cha!)  True, sometimes she sleeps with random and/or inappropriate men, but what TV protagonist doesn’t? (OLIVIA DUNHAM THAT’S WHO)

1.  Celia Hodes.

As previously mentioned, she’s the Julie Cooper of this show.  AKA a stone cold bitch.  But I love her.  Maybe because she’s a stone cold bitch.  But she has a soft(er) side, that especially come out when she has cancer.  And over the course of the show you really see why she is the way she is – her mom is AWFUL, her husband cheated on her, she’s always left out of the loop, and every man she ever finds screws her over.

She’s also hilarious.  Most of the time it’s not on purpose.  Most of the time it’s because she’s seriously delusional, or she’s drunk, or she’s really hyper and eager to help with the crime.  Plus she was freaking WILMA FLINTSTONE.  WHAT?

And now for Five Reasons You Probably Won’t Like Weeds

5.  It makes fun of the suburbs.

Let’s face it.  Some people can’t handle being made fun of.  And that’s OK.

4.  There’s drugs everywhere.

I mean, it IS called Weeds.  But if you can’t handle drug use, STAY AWAY.

3.  There’s sex.

It’s a Showtime show.  Which says it all really.  There’s sex.  Not as much as True Blood, for example, but it’s every bit as graphic.  So beware of that.

2.  There’s language.

Ummm yeah.  It’s kind of everywhere.  I don’t think there’s a single character who hasn’t said the F word.  Which includes 5th graders.  And I can’t think of a single swear word that hasn’t been used at least once.  Let me think… nope.

1.  This kind of goes back to the sex thing, but the part that was hardest for me to deal with was the younger characters.  When the show starts, there’s a 5th grader and an 11th grader.  The fifth grader gets made fun of for being a virgin, and all of his peers talk about hand-jobs.  These kids are barely in puberty.  If at all!  And the high schoolers?  Don’t get me started.  Sex, oral sex, abortion, and intentional pregnancy.  It’s the flipping life of the american teenager over here.  Luckily the show shifts focus away from the younger characters over time, which is good.  Because those plot lines were obnoxious.

So that’s my run-down on Weeds.  It’s not a show for everyone, and I certainly won’t judge anyone who doesn’t want to fill their lives with the above things.  But if you don’t have a problem with it, I think it’s a highly rewarding show that is smart, funny, and endlessly entertaining.

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