Three cheers for the least idiotic show about marijuana to ever make it to the big time! Before I applaud 2007’s Showtime hit, Weeds, let me offer the most grandiose and sincere disclaimer: I do not in any way, or at any time have I, condoned, encouraged, or agreed with the use of marijuana for recreational purposes by anyone (least of all, myself), ever.
So, to continue with my praise and critique of the series: Hurrah! It is about time someone presented the growing social issue of the rampant use of pot in America, without including the stereotypical laughing stoners and Dude, Where’s My Car?-esque humor.
Jenji Kohan’s drama-comedy, Weeds, is about a suddenly widowed Californian housewife, Nancy Botwin, and the ripple effects in her recovering family and affluent suburban community when she begins to sell weed to keep up the lush lifestyle they are accustomed to. Three seasons have aired already, with a fourth due this summer, if all continues to get back to normal in the T.V. world. I hear those writers are getting feisty again, though.
Nancy Botwin is played by Mary-Louise Parker, whom I have always felt to be most endearing in her role in Fried Green Tomatoes, is the most compelling reason to watch. She delivers an excellent performance in every episode, offering the viewer an immersing look at the complexities of a woman worried by her children’s behavior in response to their father’s death, her own dealing with the tragedy of losing her spouse in the prime of life, the terrifying consequences of getting caught in the world of drugs, and making sure she does not lose herself in the tragic sway of life. She fights to not lose it, and the audience succumbs to her irresistible universality, and fights with her. She is vulnerable, but remains that woman with grit, with determination, with firm resolve, that we all know in our own lives and admire, no matter what level she descends to, because it is that passionately blazing resolve to survive, which is such a pivotal part of the essence of man that when we see it within her we recognize it like the back of our own hand, and desperately want to relate to.
The show is built around the character of Nancy, for good reason. If it were not for her strength of character, and the Nietzschean passion for life she exudes, Weeds would still be interesting, but only as one of those pictures of a world outside of ours that so many secular T.V shows are for Christians. We watch them to spy on the Other, to see what the world’s man is doing. But this show is more than a snapshot of another lifestyle; it is a passionate push to keep fighting in our own lives, to do what it takes, to settle not for resignation when life is painful, but to let one remain completely engaged in life, even if it tears us apart.