July 7, 2008

Deliciously Subversive and Sickeningly Addictive



I usually avoid adding tv shows to my netflix queue because I know I'll get sucked into watching them and not be able to do anything else. Well, I broke down and rented Weeds. It all started the night of the 2008 Tonys. Mary-Louise Parker was a presenter for the Best Featured Actor in a Play category and I said I should check out Weeds because I've heard good things about it. That was the end of me.......I've been addicted to the show after seeing the first season in one sitting! I had to go out and buy seasons 2 and 3 after that and blazed through it in 5 days!
Weeds is a show about Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) who is suddenly widowed and had to find a way to support her 2 sons and maintain her suburban lifestyle. What does she do? She becomes a pot dealer........and finds out that she's good at it too. Kinda like the soccer mom version of Michael Corleone or Tony Soprano.......without the whacking. Strange premise for a show isn't it? But Weeds is actually a satire for suburbia.........underneath the well manicured lawns and picket fences, there's a dark underbelly of secrets, affairs and drugs. Created by Jenji Kohan, I must say the writing of this show is very sharp and witty. You think you know what's going to happen next then they completely turn it the other direction. It keeps viewers constantly surprised. I love that! I do think too that as you go from seasons 1 to 3, the episodes get more subversive and exciting.
The show is perfectly casted. Kudos to the creators for that! Mary-Louise Parker plays Nancy with an honest vulnerability and disarming charm. I've always loved her since Fried Green Tomatoes and having seen her in Proof. She's amazing to watch on the small screen because in one moment her face can show a myriad of emotions and bring the heartbreak in comedy. Elizabeth Perkins (of He Said, She Said fame) plays her blunt neighbor Celia Hodes. She's always in everybody's business and just says what she thinks. She's the neighbor you'll love to hate but at the same time she's also hilarious in her bluntness. Justin Kirk (Bobby in Love, Valour and Compassion) plays Andy Botwin, Nancy's pathetic sleazeball of a brother-in-law. Justin plays his role so convincingly that I cringe whenever he's up to his antics. Kevin Nealon plays the pot head accountant, Doug. Her sons Silas and Shane are played by Hunter Parrish (who will be joining Spring Awakening this August as Melchior) and Alexander Gould (the voice of Nemo....yes in that Pixar cartoon). She also has her pot supplier Helia James played wonderfully by Tonye Patano and the ever faithful Conrad (Romany Malco). Gee, even the maid, Lupita (Renee Victor) has excellent one liners!

I should also mention that the music supervisor for the show should also be commended. Weeds has an opening theme song called "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds. It perfectly describes suburbia.......identical houses, picket fences, SUVs and manicured lawns.....good choice! As you get to season 2, they get different people/bands to cover the song such as Elvis Costello, Joan Baez, Laurie Berkner etc. I found it amusing and sort of a game to try to guess the artist. Also, they choose the PERFECT song for critical moments of the show. It just gives a more emotional tug to the scene.
Currently, Season 4 started on June 16. I am doomed! I don't know if I can wait that long for the dvd to come out. I've even contemplated on ordering Showtime from my cable company............help me I'm addicted!
Check out the video below Mary-Louise Parker talks about Nancy Botwin and Weeds:

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