Wild Doings in Gated America

Wild Doings in Gated America
Posted by CN Staff on August 14, 2006 at 07:20:11 PT
By Robert Lloyd, Times Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles -- Season 2 of "Weeds" picks up right where viewers left it  pot- dealing mom Nancy has just discovered her new flame's a DEA agent.When last we saw Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker)  the pot-dealing, suburban-widow heroine of Showtime's attractive, black-ish sitcom "Weeds"  she had just discovered that her new boyfriend was a DEA agent. And when next we see her, as we shall tonight when Season 2 of this series gets underway, she is exactly where we left her.
This is one of those series that at once wants to picture ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances yet also to reveal people who follow extraordinary pursuits as essentially ordinary  two slightly but significantly different things. This process of simultaneous glamorization and de-glamorization is the basis not only of "The Sopranos," "Big Love" and "Six Feet Under" but also of reality shows like "The Osbournes" and those that attempt to transmute the "real lives" of bounty hunters, drag racers, roller-derby queens and so on, into something rich and strange and yet familiar, in dramatically conventional terms."Weeds" also shares the brief of all premium cable series  to court controversy, to push buttons, to stretch envelopes and, especially, to show naked people having sex. But every show has a self-selecting audience, and this is one that, by definition, has no problem with such things, or with a family comedy about drugs. "Weeds" can be as outrageous as it likes, and yet it can outrage no one, except perhaps those who wouldn't watch it in the first place.I am not one of those people, and I like "Weeds" quite a bit, even granting that it often does not make sense. It's never clear why Nancy finds it necessary to stay in gated, upscale, barren Agrestic, a place where she doesn't fit or have any real friends (apart from the reliably self-involved Celia, played by Emmy nominee Elizabeth Perkins) and where her oddball younger son is continually bullied  or why she strives to maintain a lifestyle to which she does not seem at all attached. It seems like cheating: She is too good for her milieu, and therefore heroic by default, just as her late husband, as glimpsed on old videotape, is head and shoulders above any other male in the series  except for outsiders Conrad (the wonderful Romany Malco), who comes from the ghetto, and Peter (Martin Donovan), the DEA agent. Neither is it clear why she is so spectacularly unprepared to get a job or so confused about what's good for her kids that she risks losing them. (The risks this season get bigger, as Nancy graduates from selling pot to growing it, and even riskier, because she has gone into business with people she herself calls "idiots." Snipped:Complete Article: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:  Robert Lloyd, Times Staff WriterPublished: August 14, 2006Copyright: 2006 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Showtime's Weeds Music on MySpace.com Sprouting 'Weeds' - Chicago Tribune Could Make Showtime Must-Pay-for TV
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