Some Words About 'Weeds' 

Some Words About 'Weeds' 
Posted by CN Staff on August 06, 2005 at 22:01:17 PT
By Joanne Weintraub, Journal Sentinel TV Critic
Source: Journal Sentinel
USA -- The way Jenji Kohan tells it, she created "Weeds" because she was tired of working in black-and-white TV. This may seem like a peculiar thing for a woman in her mid-30s to say. But Kohan, whose writing and producing credits include "Gilmore Girls," "Will & Grace" and "Mad About You," isn't talking about the Eisenhower era."I was looking for a subject where I could explore (life's) gray areas," something she'd been unable to do in network comedies, Kohan told TV critics earlier this year at a Los Angeles gathering to promote her half-hour comedy for premium cable's Showtime channel.
"And the other thing was this notion in psychology called 'postconventional morality,' where if you're not operating within the confines of society's morals, you have to develop your own moral code. I was searching for a kind of vehicle for that."There had been a lot of magazine articles about the drug dealer next door, and pot just seemed like a good entrée into the whole thing. And after that the pilot just sort of flowed out."What flowed was the tale of Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker, "The West Wing"), a mother of two whose upper-middle-class life in fictitious Agrestic, Calif., is shaken by a domestic earthquake: the sudden death of her husband, the family's sole wage earner.When the ground stops trembling, Nancy decides that, to keep gas in the Range Rover and soccer uniforms on her kids' backs, she'll have to go into business for herself.Lacking job skills but a pragmatic sort of person, she decides to deal in a commodity in short supply and great demand in her suburban community: marijuana.One of her best customers is Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon, "Saturday Night Live"), an easygoing, cheerfully cynical city councilman who's also Nancy's accountant. Another is Dean Hodes (Andy Milder), whose wife, Celia (Elizabeth Perkins, "Must Love Dogs"), is the president of the P.T.A. and, in the eyes of many, Agrestic's perfect mom.Needless to say, this perfection goes about as deep as the lacquer on Celia's nails."There's always a reason why somebody becomes so closed off and so insular," Perkins said of her character. "I happen to think she's just holding it all together because underneath it there's a lot of chaos and a lot of cracks in the plaster."Parker was intrigued by Nancy's do-it-yourself moral code. In an early episode, for example, the character reluctantly sells pot to Doug's teenage son - but only on the condition that he not resell it to younger kids."I just liked the world that (Kohan) created," Parker said. "I thought it was unapologetically dark and the morality of it was skewed from the beginning, so you can't necessarily make judgments on the characters."A lot of times on TV, (a character) is the same person at the top of the show as they are at the end. It doesn't leave you asking anything. You sort of feel like you know it already."Kohan is well aware that some people will have only one question about the show: How dare she make a drug dealer a sympathetic character, a widowed mom who's nicer to Celia's children than Celia is?But that's just the point, in the writer's mind: It's worth asking whether Nancy's business enterprise is really so heinous."I like pot as a subject because it seems to be kind of the mild end of this whole drug debate," Kohan said, adding that the dispute over the medical use of marijuana added a contemporary political charge.She went on: "Personally, it's not my drug. I don't really enjoy it. But I did a lot of research, and as a political issue, I'm perfectly comfortable saying I believe that it should probably be legalized, regulated and taxed."Given her subject matter, Kohan - who has written for two HBO series, "Sex and the City" and "Tracey Takes On . . . " - said she didn't even try pitching "Weeds" to any of the broadcast networks.Her experience last year creating and producing a conventional sitcom - CBS' now-you-see-it, now-you-don't "The Stones" - was not a happy one.In Kohan's view, "the networks really operate within this culture of fear. They have advertisers to answer to. They need a hit." "They are very dependent on the past. You know, 'This worked, so it should work again.'"Showtime just said, 'Go,' and it was the greatest thing they could have said to me."Kohan was looking for a change of style as well as subject. Like most cable comedies, "Weeds" has no laugh track, and she doesn't miss it."It's a struggle to have to come up with a certain number of jokes per page," she says of some of the comedies in her past."The sitcom form is very specific. It limits you to have to 'button' every scene, (to have) your actor in a certain place (on the stage)."Of course, Kohan realizes that her desperate housewife - a soccer mom who gets her kicks in ways not addressed in the family Christmas letter - will be compared to the famous ones on the No. 1 broadcast network, ABC. "We shot (the pilot) before 'Desperate Housewives' aired," she said in response to a question."It definitely dovetails with a lot of themes from 'Desperate Housewives,' but I think it's a different situation. They were two different animals that were just kind of co-existing at the same time."After tonight's 10 o'clock premiere, Showtime will air each episode of "Weeds" twice each night on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 and 9:30 p.m.Note: Societal quandary sprouts on Showtime.When to Watch What: "Weeds"When: 10 p.m. Aug. 7, repeated 9 and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 8, Aug. 10 and Aug. 12Where: Showtime Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)Author: Joanne Weintraub, Journal Sentinel TV CriticPublished: August 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 Milwaukee Journal SentinelContact: jsedit onwis.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Showtime's Weeds Anxiety Brakes for Drug Deals a New Series, The Suburbs Light Up
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Comment #13 posted by ekim on August 07, 2005 at 20:09:37 PT
Aug 15 05 The New Reefer Railroad 
Aug 13 05 Journey For Justice 08:00 AM Garry Jones Washington, DC USA 
 Speaker Garry Jones is only one of many speakers at this year's Journey For Justice event in our nation's capitol. Garry and the others will be discussing how America's war on drugs has imprisoned so many of its citizens and how we can get the laws changed. No doubt topics will include mandatory minimum sentencing, the growth of the prison building industry and loss of voting rights of those convicted of drug related crimes. Family Members and Friends of People Incarcerated, an organization based in Montgomery, Alabama is calling for individuals and organizations to travel to Washington, DC and let their vocies be heard. Visit for more information as the event day gets closer. Aug 13 05 Rolling Thunder Democracy Tour 07:00 AM Matt McCally Seattle Washington USA 
 As a resident of the Seattle community, Speaker Matt McCally understands the needs of his community in regards to America's failed war on drugs. To get the message out, Matt will be representing LEAP at this year's Rolling Thunder Democracy Tour. Matt will be discussing specific drug prohibition issues with visitors as well as spreading the word about LEAP's mission to end the failed war on drugs. Location: Magnusen Park, Seattle, WA Aug 15 05 National Black Police Association Education & Training Conference 12:00 AM Alison Myrden Toronto ON Canada 
 LEAP founder Peter Christ, Speaker Alison Myrden and volunteer Matt Mernaugh will be staffing an educational display booth at the conference to explain to attendees why the war on drugs must end and why drugs should be legalized. The conference will be held at the Delta Toronto East Hotel, in Toronto, Canada. Aug 15 05 Canadian Bar Association 2005 Canadian Legal Conference & Expo 01:00 PM Jim Gray Vancouver British Columbia Canada 
 California Senate candidate and LEAP Speaker Judge Jim Gray is a welcomed guest to the Canadian Bar Association's 2005 Canadian Legal Conference & Expo. Judge Gray, known and respected nationally for his forward thinking views on drug prohibition related issues, will be covering a host of issues at this year's conference. Topics of discussion are sure to include the relationship of drug prohibition to crime, the breakup of families due to the racially biased drug laws, the relationship between Canada and the United States in regards to the drug laws and many other very important items. Location: Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre. Aug 15 05 The New Reefer Railroad 11:00 AM Jim Gray Vancouver British Columbia Canada 
 While attending the Canadian Bar Association's 2005 Canadian Legal Conference & Expo, Speaker Judge Jim Gray will present "The New Reefer Railroad". This talk will cover recent decisions in the United States that have addressed the pros and cons of 3-strikes rules vs. the state-sanctioned consumption of medical marijuana. Also to be discussed is the international community's involvement in domestic drug policy and whether or not medical marijuana activists be offered protection under the Geneva Convention. This program should be of much greater interest because of the recent Mark Embry arrest by Canadian authorities for the US DEA.
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Comment #12 posted by kaptinemo on August 07, 2005 at 14:19:48 PT:
OT: More about Marc Emery
Emery ready for biggest battle yet;
PRINCE OF POT: Calls his fight against extradition 'ultimate moment of my career' by Lena Sin
The Province
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Comment #11 posted by MikeEEEEE on August 07, 2005 at 13:17:01 PT
In the name of the children
The govt. seems to stop at nothing in the name of the children. These are exercises of power by the right. That is, how can you not concede to our rule when it concerns our poor little innocent kids? I like children, but it’s as if raising the child card has become regular politics – threaten the children, parents have anxiety, the hero politician steps in with a law (usually with enforcement) to save the day.I hope it’s not too late to save the paid cable services from big corporate govt.Some of us realize in the back rooms of the corporate govt., deal$ and direction$ are being made, and not for the sake of the children. One example, high rates of Autism are suspected to be directly related to industrial (corporate) pollution (the mercury). However, the polls are showing people are waking up. The latest, one poll that shows most people believe Bush is dishonest. Not to worry, Bush has 5 weeks vacations to recover, then spin something new, or use another WMD (weapon of mass distraction). 
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Comment #10 posted by goneposthole on August 07, 2005 at 12:38:26 PT
they're not there
they're gone they stay close to homeincrease the budget of the DEA, they might not ever leave the housethey need to get out more, anywaytv is dead from what it has becometelevise this:
tales and stories
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 07, 2005 at 12:29:22 PT
Showtime's 'Weeds' is Worth a Watch 
By Ravi Chopra
 August 7, 2005Showtime's new comedy series "Weeds" is an ironical look at suburban lifestyle in much the same way as ABC's "Desperate Housewives" tries to look at the lives of ordinary women. However, "Weeds" goes one step beyond anything that the Wisteria Lane wives ever thought of doing.The pay-cable network is hoping that the unlikely twist in "Weeds" will keep audiences from switching channels. Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) is a young widow who has just lost her husband to the ubiquitous heart attacks while jogging. And she struggles to make ends meet when she finds out that the dear departed had apparently not believed much in insurance.Her nice and steady life as a mother of two in a fictitious neighborhood in Agrestic, California suddenly looks very vulnerable. In order to keep the hearth burning as well as keep the gas flowing in the Range Rover, she decides to go into business herself. Once the decision is made, she faces the age-old dilemma of not knowing what to do. Equipped with little if any of current day job skills, Nancy pragmatically decides to supply the most sought-after commodity in the neighborhood, marijuana. 
The comical moments in the series are provided in plenty by Nancy's closest friend and rival Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins), who replaces her daughter's secret chocolate stash with a pack of laxatives in order to "clean her out." Nancy's accountant and city councilman Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon) knows what his client does for a living now since he is already her customer. His teenage gay son is Nancy's bete noire in the drug dealing business. Meanwhile, Celia discovers that her husband is on the go with his tennis instructor. This comes to light accidentally since Celia has hidden a video camera to catch her young daughter having sex with Silas (Hunter Parrish), Nancy's older son. The pathos in the series is bound to touch and amuse you at the same time, something that director and developer Jenji Kohan worked hard for.The casting itself is bound to create waves since Parker excels in Nancy's shoes, "I just liked the world that (Kohan) created," Parker said on her role "I thought it was unapologetically dark and the morality of it was skewed from the beginning, so you can't necessarily make judgments on the characters." Kohan is optimistic about the series, "I was looking for a subject where I could explore (life's) gray areas," she said. "There had been a lot of magazine articles about the drug dealer next door, and pot just seemed like a good entrée into the whole thing. And after that the pilot just sort of flowed out."The show airs on Sunday at 10:00 pm. 
  Copyright: 2005 Earthtimes.org
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 07, 2005 at 10:15:23 PT
EJ Just a Comment
I am not a history buff. I look at things in a way that isn't anything but how I feel. I never understood why people felt they could have slaves. I bet even Jesus was more black then white. I think we have a country that thinks the white race is superior even to this day. Skin color is just that skin color. Why did people want slaves? What's wrong with paying to have work done instead of having people in bondage and do work because they have to do the work because you own them? 
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Comment #7 posted by E_Johnson on August 07, 2005 at 09:57:40 PT
OT but apropos is about uncelebrated slaveholders in the South who chose to free their slaves long before it became a divisive national issue:I like this paragraph:Among the most dramatic pages are those where Levy ponders his subject's near-total disappearance from the American consciousness. Unlike Jefferson, Carter ''does not soothe us, excuse us or help us explain ourselves,'' Levy writes. ''But what is most incriminating is that he does not even interest us, because that forces us to consider whether there now exist similar men and women, whose plain solutions to our national problems we find similarly boring, and whom we gladly ignore in exchange for the livelier fantasy of our heroic ambivalence.''***************************Like, duh.Look no further, dude.
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on August 07, 2005 at 09:19:17 PT
kapinemo watch the beginning again
Notice in the beginning he's walking around with heavy shackles on his wrists.A black man walking around looking like a shackled slave.This man is communicating a lot more about the nature of his vocation than he can possibly comprehend.
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on August 07, 2005 at 09:11:01 PT
I wonder what the audience thinks now
When they read some DEA agent saying "marijuana is not a medicine" in the press, maybe they'll think back to the DEA agent saying "this is an unloaded gun" in the classroom.In a grotesque way, this is a sign of hope. The dim bulb at the end of the tunnel. ;-)
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 07, 2005 at 08:27:19 PT
More on Weeds
 'Weeds' is Top Pick for TV TonightAugust 07, 2005 
 By Chuck Barney,  Knight Ridder News Service"Weeds" — Talk about a desperate housewife. Mary-Louise Parker shines in this deliciously dark satire about a single soccer mom selling pot in the suburbs to make ends meet.Parker plays Nancy Botwin, who faces a troubling dilemma after her husband unexpectedly dies and leaves her with two sons and too little insurance money: Does she scale back her life and move out of the gated (and fictional) community of Agrestic, Calif.? Or does she come up with a risky plan to hold onto her leased Range Rover, her housekeeper and other cushy accouterments?She chooses the latter and soon finds herself supplying marijuana to various members of her upscale neighborhood, including a city council member, played by Kevin Nealon. Skewering suburbia's dirty little secrets is, of course, a moldy concept by now, but "Weeds" brings a sophisticated brand of subversiveness and a comedic tone that is less broad than that certain other dramedy on ABC.The writing is sharp and so is the cast, which includes Elizabeth Perkins, who plays Nancy's best — and most annoying — friend. Even though "Weeds" neither endorses marijuana use nor berates it, some viewers naturally won't approve. But if you're looking for a funny, first-rate show that sends all the sitcom conventions up in smoke, you've come to the right place. 10 tonight, Showtime.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on August 07, 2005 at 04:59:39 PT:
Okay, like the warning above the comment block, I'll abstain from using profanity...though what I'd have to say to that %$# ! for JUST drawing his (improperly checked and unsafetied) weapon in a non-life-threatening situation AROUND KIDS would blister pain at 20 paces. For the accidental discharge of a weapon in close quarters around children, had my old instructors been around, that idiot would have quickly been the recipient of a 'vertical butt stroke' with a M-16...and that's just to *start* with.Oh, yes, the DrugWarriors are so concerned about the welfare of children that they send such BUFFOONS to instruct them on of all things, SAFETY. Had his sidearm not discharged into the floor and struck the (usually, concrete cinderblock or brick) walls instead, the ricochet would have led to several deaths in that packed room.I've said this before, and it bears repeating: all too often, the DrugWar is just 'workfare' for the mariginally employable; that %$# ! should be flipping burgers, not fighting 'druuuuhgs' as a DEA agent (look at the back of his T-Shirt).
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on August 07, 2005 at 01:37:22 PT
Here's something silly in a tragic way
These are the people leading the front lines in the war against pot. Just a peek at what we're up against.Be sure to watch the whole thing! 
Our enemy interacts with the public
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Comment #1 posted by whig on August 06, 2005 at 23:41:37 PT
Change the Culture
See, this is what is happening, the culture is changing, and violence is counterproductive in the extreme.
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