What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this addictive (pun intended) dramedy about drug dealing in the suburbs is definitely not for kids. The main character, Nancy, makes parenting decisions that most people would disagree with -- especially deciding to sell marijuana to provide for her two sons. Her friends and family members are likewise flawed, complicated people whose behavior is questionable at best and unbelievably irresponsible and cruel at worst (Nancy's best friend has a habit of belittling her overweight daughter, for example). Most conversations are peppered with strong language; partial nudity and uninhibited sex scenes are common, and the themes are unquestionably adult-oriented. That said, it can be both funny and insightful, too, and grown-ups might get a contact high just by watching.
What's the story?
After being widowed abruptly, Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) is left with few options for supporting her two sons, teenage Silas (Hunter Parrish) and younger brother Shane (Alexander Gould). She needs serious cash flow to maintain their lifestyle in the ritzy, upper-middle-class gated community of Agrestic, so she starts selling pot. Nancy's friends and family members aren't exactly candidates for the Role Model of the Year Award, either. Her friend Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) routinely taunts her overweight tween daughter, Isabelle (Allie Grant), going so far as to secretly swap the girl's chocolate stash with chocolate-flavored laxatives. Nancy's brother-in-law, Andy (Justin Kirk), is gleefully manipulative and selfish, whether he's exchanging X-rated instant messages with his nephew's girlfriend (while pretending to be said nephew) or lying to get into rabbinical school so he can avoid being drafted. And Nancy's accountant, city council member Wilson Doug (Kevin Nealon), is one of her best clients.
Is it any good?
WEEDS isn't the first TV show to expose the dark side of life in the suburbs, and it almost certainly won't be the last. But it's probably safe to say that it's the only series that goes behind the facade in such a large cloud of marijuana smoke. Of course, just about everyone has some good mixed in with the bad. The trauma of her husband's death has left Nancy very much at sea, and all she can do is get through one day at a time. She cares deeply about her sons and honestly wants what's best for them, even if her very questionable parenting choices don't always make that clear. And Andy really likes being part of a family -- he just has trouble understanding that he's supposed to be one of the grown-ups. Even Celia has a softer side, though she doesn't show it often.
Thanks to complex, interesting characters like these and some very sharp writing, Weeds can be both laugh-out-loud funny and poignantly dramatic. But it's definitely meant for adults. The rampant drug use -- not to mention the frequent scenes of people buying, selling, baking, and growing the stuff in the first place -- is only one of many red flags. Most of the characters swear like sailors (though they're not as bad as the folks on Deadwood), the often-explicit sex scenes include partial nudity (including a teen girl in at least one case), teenage characters drink and do drugs, all of the show's African-American characters are involved in the drug business (and most of the Latino ones are domestic servants), and supporting characters have resorted to blackmail, arson, and beatings. One thing's for sure -- life in Agrestic may be complicated, smoky, and sometimes even shocking, but it's certainly never boring.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how far they'd go to support each other in times of crisis. Was becoming a drug dealer Nancy's only option to provide for her kids?
Part of the reason Nancy originally got involved in the drug business was to maintain her family's affluent, gated-community lifestyle -- is that a reflection of society's values? What points is the show making about the McMansion lifestyle?
Do the people on the show seem like a realistic reflection of upper-middle-class suburban life? Are any of the characters good role models? Why or why not?