Friday, January 26, 2007

season one, disc one

Weeds is about Nancy, a suburban mom who sells pot. Her husband died suddenly not long before the series begins. She has two sons, one fourteen and the other around ten.

We aren't told what Nancy did before her husband died. I assume she didn't have a job outside the home, or else she'd still be doing it. We also don't know how she hooked up with her suppliers, although a later episode gives us a hint.

About her suppliers. They're a black family: Matron Heylia, her nephew Conrad, and a daughter Vaneeta. From the first episode, these characters bugged me because they're very much stock types, especially the mother. She's all sass and "mm-hmm" and threats to beat people's asses if they don't act right. This series is full of stock character types, but in most cases some individuality is added to them. Not for this family, though. The poor daughter barely gets a line in the six episodes that I saw. She's pregnant, but we don't know anything about the father, when she's due, whether it's a boy or a girl, etc. Conrad gets some development because he has a crush on Nancy, but that's it. It doesn't help that the only black people on the show are ones connected with drugs.

On those other stock types. One of the gags here is that the suburbs, and the people living in them, aren't as squeaky clean as they appear. Is this a revelation to anybody?! This theme has been beaten do death since the 50s, at least. We all know that we're all screwed up, no matter where we live or how we dress. Why some film-makers are still fascinated by this obvious fact is beyond me.

Still, the story of a pretty, fashionable mom dealing dope is rather novel. It's the teen sex, infedelity, snarky housefraus, and secretive homosexuality that are played out. I wish the story had started at an earlier point. It would have been interesting to see how she decided on this course, how she started working with her suppliers, how she built her customer base, etc.

The only character who's really interesting is Shane, Nancy's younger son. He appears to be the most hurt by his father's sudden death. The older son, Silas, doesn't show any signs of grief. But Shane is gets screwier every episode. One moment he's hunting a mountain lion with a BB gun, then he's writing gangsta rap (when he tells his principal not to worry because he's not really going to "cap any muthaf**kas", it provided one of the show's few real laughs), then he's recreating terrorist beheading videos. The kid who plays him is great in the role, too. His giant, unblinking eyes and matter-of-fact delivery of crazy lines is disturbing.

I'm not planning to rent the rest of this show, but I did watch the six half-hour episodes on the first disc. So I'd say it's so-so. Most of the show if done competently enough, but nothing is extraordinary, and it didn't have anything that really grabbed me.