Weeds: Season One

It’s a concept made for cable TV — suburban mom turns to selling ganja in order to maintain her swishy lifestyle. It’s got a cast of appropriate A-list actors (Mary-Louise Parker) and credible but underemployed familiar faces (fabulous Elizabeth Perkins, ex-SNLer Kevin Nealon and Angels In America’s Justin Kirk). And it spins its seemingly taboo subject into a revelation that we’re all just the same inside (see Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, etc.). Weeds does all of those almost as if it’s ticking off a checklist, and therein lies the problem with this mild chuckle of a sitcom — even playing along at home, it doesn’t inspire prolonged bursts of the giggles. Parker’s Nancy Botwin faces obnoxious neighbour/friends (Parker), deals to and with her sketchy accountant (Nealon), and sighs mightily at the irresponsible antics of her deceased husband’s deadbeat brother (Kirk), who lands on her couch. But in terms of taboos, Weeds seems to think its very concept is enough to be considered "controversial” — for someone who’s just getting into this "game,” Botwin becomes a player quite quickly, making weekly (or seemingly daily) trips to the "wise black woman” who serves as Greek chorus, comic relief and Botwin’s own Dr. Melfi. When she loses $14,000 worth of weed in a scam (wholesale prices — one trip to the dealer’s worth), even though we only see her dealing in dime bags and quarter ounces, one has to wonder what the writers have been smoking. When it comes back in season two, I’d like to see a little more of Botwin’s business challenges, the same way I would a doctor or a forensic scientist. If you’re going to make a show about dealing in the suburbs, I would like at least some dealing along with all the blather about the suburbs, which dominates the really boring extras. The recipes look good though. (Maple)