Wednesday, July 2


I have to admit, the first time I saw Weeds (Showtime), I wasn't very impressed. Even though I've learned not to judge an entire series by the pilot episode, after just a so-so opener, I walked away... but my deep, undying love of Mary-Louise Parker brought me back. And thanks to Weeds TV Online (site here) I've been able to catch up on entire seasons of the show. Aside from presenting a startlingly real slice of life... well, actually, several slices of different walks of life, Weeds is both thought provoking and entertaining. How many shows can you say that about?

But rather than wax philosophical about suburban drug peddling, or giving you a run-down of the story arcs (you can check them out here, on Wikipedia), I thought I would just list ten random, awesome things about one of my new favorite TV shows, Weeds.

1. Mary-Louise Parker - You probably saw this one coming, but I love me some MLP! Something about her crooked smile, the way she completely jumps into whatever roll she's playing, makes me love her beyond any reasonable and explainable level ... and Weeds is some of her finest work. She brings just the right amount of charm, sass and vulnerability to make the role both memorable and enjoyable. She starts off, in Season 1, as a small-time suburban dealer, and ends up swapping street stories ("He taught me how to drive-by.") with gangsters. Which brings me to item #2:

2. The Realism - From the smallest, most subtle aspects of drug and drug dealing culture, to the slang, Weeds nails it down with amazing accuracy, while remaining accessible to those not in "the know." I won't go into detail here, but there were some frighteningly familiar moments in several episodes.

3. Kevin Nealon - In the past, I didn't feel strongly (one way or the other) about him. But he brings some serious A-Game to this show.

4. Dumbing It Up - Most drug (especially pot) movies present all those who enjoy drugs/herbs as stupid, and while using drugs isn't the smartest of moves, Weeds presents the full spectrum of people involved with the illicit drug trade.

5. Respect - The more "urban,' or, "ghetto" characters are just that: characters, and not caricatures. Too often, TV shows and movies rely on broadly-drawn ethnic characters, but Weeds delivers a variety of darkies.

6. Other Sh!t Happens - The show isn't just about drugs, dealing or life in a gated community. All of the characters have fully developed, fully realized story arcs taking them outside of the drug theme.

7. The Lingo - I remember, in college, a buddy of mine stumbled across some government web site compiling all the known street terms for various drugs. (I haven't been able to find it since.) All drugs go by different monikers, varying by community, geographic location and a number of other factors, and Weeds serves up several rich, diverse lexicon.

8. Showtime = Soft-Core Porn - Because it is on a premium, pay cable station, Weeds can present its stories with graphic nudity, salty language and even have one character become a "shrimping" penetrative porn star. (Oh, look it up.)

9. The Theme Song - First of all, hats off to Weeds for even having a theme song. So many shows today just throw up the logo to start the show in an effort to squeeze more ad time in. Weeds makes use of "Little Boxes," a song I first heard in Junior High when I went to visit UCLA. It was presented as part of a history lecture. (That was the week I decided I wanted to go to UCLA, so the memory is a vivid one.) But the reason the theme song really makes my list is that after the first season, the song is performed by a different artist every time. Each new episode brings a new, totally different take on the song, from the original, folksy version, to hard rock, rap and everything in between... the song lets you know you're in for an entertaining show. (Guest cover artists include Linkin Park, Engelbert Humperdinck, Randy Newman and Death Cab For Cutie, just to name a few.)

10. Risk Taking - As more and more of the TV landscape is littered with remakes, "Americanized" versions and knock-offs, it is truly refreshing to see a show taking real artistic and emotional risks... and it's even better to see those risks pay off the way they do.

Well, there you have 'em. I hope you get the chance to view this amazing, unique television experience.

For some great, safe-for-work photos from Weeds, click here.

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