Based on 15 reviews
Based on 21 reviews
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Weeds is an addictive (pun intended), extremely mature dramedy about drug dealing in the suburbs. The main character, Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker), makes parenting decisions that most people would disagree with -- especially deciding to sell marijuana to provide for her kids. Her friends and family members are likewise flawed people whose behavior is questionable at best and unbelievably irresponsible and cruel at worst (Nancy's best friend has a habit of belittling her daughter's weight, for example). Most conversations are peppered with extremely strong, often offensive language ("f--k," "s--t," "c--t," the "N" word, "f--got," "Oriental p---y," "retarded," etc.). Though there are nuanced portrayals of Jewish culture and a Deaf character, expect tons of damaging stereotypes about Black, Latino, Chinese, Native, Russian, and immigrant people. Full-frontal nudity is sporadic, partial nudity and uninhibited sex scenes are common, and the themes are unquestionably adult-oriented. That said, the show can be both funny and insightful, too, and adults might get a contact high just by watching.
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What's the Story?
After being widowed abruptly, WEEDS' 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 their ritzy, upper-middle-class gated community, 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 fat-shames her 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 Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon), is one of her best clients.
Is It Any Good?
This engaging dramedy 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 Weeds is 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, racist stereotypes, and statutory rape -- all mined for dark comedy -- are only a few of the show's red flags. Most of the characters curse a blue streak, teens drink and do drugs, and almost all of the show's Black and Latino characters are drug dealers and gangsters. One thing's for sure -- life in Weeds may be complicated, smoky, and sometimes even shocking, but it's certainly never boring.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how far they'd go to support each other in times of crisis. Are the depictions in Weeds realistic? 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 role models? Why, or why not?
What stereotypes did you notice while watching Weeds? Do the writers successfully subvert them, or does the show perpetuate damaging portrayals of people who are seldom shown in a different way on screen?
How has the United States'/the world's relationship with marijuana changed since the show debuted? How do you think it might be different if it got rebooted today?
- Premiere date: August 7, 2005
- Cast: Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Justin Kirk, Alexander Gould, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon
- Network: Showtime
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Award: Golden Globe
- Last updated: December 6, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Morally ambiguous show has crime, drugs, Latino stereotypes.
Dark drama has loads of drugs, violence, sex, cartel crime.
Six Feet Under
Exceptional drama series for mature viewers only.
For adults only, and for good reasons.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Irreverent comedy for older teens only.
For kids who love quirky characters
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