Weeds: Season One
Directed by: Jenji Kohan
The DVD presentation of this wonderful and complex Showtime series does it a disservice by placing its cast inside a dime bag on the cover and exhaling smoke across its menu screens. But Weeds—about upper-class California housewife Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), who turns to dealing in the burbs when her husband dies suddenly—is no slacker. It’s a shrewd commentary on economics and class in America: Nancy gets her pot from an inner-city family including Heylia (Tonye Patano) and potential love interest Conrad (Romany Malco), then doles it out among McMansions. A series like this, while populated by a perfect supporting cast, including Elizabeth Perkins and Parker’s Angels in America co-star Justin Kirk, lives and dies on the audience’s empathy for Nancy, and Parker, a polarizing, talented actor, is perfect. The series never lets Nancy off the hook for her monumentally bad career choice, and gives her plenty of other shit to deal with too: her grief, her youngest son’s increasingly bizarre behaviour, her teenaged son’s sex and drug experiments, the strain of keeping her job a secret in a town where there are none (the final, shocking shot of the season confirms the last one is still her biggest problem). Irrev- erent and poignant, Weeds takes primitive pot humour and spins it into art.
—Tara Thorne

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