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Mike Barnard

Published January 6th, 2007 | by Mike Barnard

Weeds Review

Classification: 18 Director: Tucker Gates, Burr Steers Rating: 4.5/5

A weed-dealing single mother living in sunny American suburbs may not sound like the most obvious choice for the setting of a hilarious comedy series, yet Weeds is possibly as addictive as the green plant itself. The second season sees Nancy Botwin (Parker) continue to juggle an illegal business with raising two children, but she is facing a dilemma over her new boyfriend Peter who turns out to be a DEA agent that could put her and partner Conrad (Malco) out of business for good. With a skewed take on the dysfunctional family, menacing run-ins with the law and rival gangs, dubious morals and a great supporting cast, season two of Weeds is as fresh as ever and ensures it gets you high on laughs.

Mary-Louise Parker won a Golden Globe for best TV comedy actress for her portrayal of Nancy in series one, and continues on fine form throughout the second. She makes an ideal central point, strong enough to be believable as a drug dealer, yet also showing the strain of motherhood when looking after her family and the stresses that go with it. But Weeds is about more than just Nancy – Parker’s excellent sense of comic timing is matched by an ability to let the ensemble cast flesh out plot lines and weave a rich web of comedy.

Nancy’s half brother Andy (Kirk) provides the majority of the zany comedy and his lecture to Nancy’s 11-year-old son Shane (Gould) about masturbation is a classic example of his ability to command your attention in a scene that would not have been out of place on Saturday Night Live. Nancy’s other son, Silas (Parish) is a nod to teenage angst, while the drug wars are intensified by Peter’s somewhat sinister presence and assurances to Nancy he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her business. Although this often gives Weeds a more serious tone, there is always a funny aspect to the dilemmas and ensuing resolutions that ensure its not overly downbeat at any point. A sub plot to series two helps lighten the mood at its darkest times too as the uptight Celia (Perkins) decides to run for Doug’s (Nealon) position on the local council, despite her husband’s allegiance to her rival causing all kinds of feuds between the three. With so much going on, episodes fly by and before you know it you’re facing a dramatic cliff hanger finale and eager for another half-hour trip.

Writer Jenji Kohan loads up scenes with deadpan one liners and unexpected sight gags to keep things varied and guest stars such as Zooey Deschanel as Andy’s crazy ex-girlfriend and even rap star Snoop Dogg make for excellent additions. The latter even supplies a rap for Nancy’s prized Weed entitled “MILF Weed” which typical gangster style. In many ways Weeds is a cross between the quickfire half-hour sitcoms such as Friends and Frasier with the popular hour-long installment series such as Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, taking the best bits from both. The plots are multi-layered with enticing twists like the latter, but by keeping the format short and snappy like the former it zips along very ably. Weeds can’t be recommended enough as a thoroughly addictive habit that is so good for your mental health there is no reason not to it keep going back for more.

Seasons one and two of Weeds are available to buy individually or as a box set.

EXTRAS
Episode commentaries, trivia tracks, featurettes, gag reel.


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