Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Weeds, Season 1 (2005)

When Judah Botwin dropped dead at the age of 40, his wife Nancy had some pretty major problems.  Judah was the breadwinner, and his death left her with two sons to raise - and to help deal with the unexpected death of their father - and no income of her own, nor the qualifications to readily acquire one.

Demonstrating the kind of not at all impulsive or short-sighted decision-making skills that will drive much of the action in this show over its multi-year run, Nancy's solution was to become a marijuana dealer.  Initially it's a small scale thing, selling to her acquaintances in the planned community of Agrestic, but that's not really enough income for Nancy to maintain the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed.  Naive and over-confident, she is soon looking to branch out and expand her operations, without really understanding the risks of the business in which she has become involved.

Weeds is a fine black comedy/drama with a strong cast, taking as its running theme Nancy's tendency to make bigger and bigger gambles to try and compensate for the last gamble going awry.  Mary-Louise Parker is great in the lead role, managing to bring across each of Nancy's many facets: caring mother, grieving widow, pot trade ingenue or aggressive businesswoman.  She's ably supported by the rest of the cast, each of whom turn in strong performances, albeit in roles that do not require quite so much versatility.

Those roles include Nancy's sons (the youngest of whom is not dealing well with his father's death), her man-child brother-in-law, her street savvy supplier, and her bossy sort-of-best-friend.  Plus several others, including a number of men who would like to be more to Nancy than just acquaintances.  I'm probably not spoiling anything by saying that Nancy's decision-making skills in her romantic life aren't much better than the ones she displays elsewhere, am I?

If you like your humour on the dark side, give Weeds a try.

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