Television

What the Weeds?

My reluctantly optimistic opinion about the eighth season of WEEDS.

We are only two episodes in  Showtime’s unveiling of the newest season of Weeds, and I’m already talking shit. The show ended 9 months ago with Nancy being shot in the head by a mysterious figure lurking in the bushes. My problem with Weeds is that, what began as a brilliant and understated comedy trailed off in so many different directions, I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t remember where they had been. Nor did I care. Jenji Kohan was aware of this critique when she and the designers of the opening credits spelled out the journey.

Even with this new opening sequence, I am confused. What is the mermaid mailbox? And exactly how many characters, turns, and side streets are left out? My point is, the show lost it’s eccentricities and brilliance somewhere along the path. I feel like they have been trying way too hard to keep it going.

But, as I stated, I am reluctantly optimistic. I see some of the writing and the characters shining in the new season, particularly Kevin Nealon as Doug and the hilarious Justin Kirk as Andy. I enjoy where they are placed in their lives: Doug as a wall street exec with limitless possibilities, and Andy in the middle of a heated relationship with Nancy’s sister Jill, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Both of these men are worthwhile this season, and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans will unfurl.

We find out in the season premiere that Nancy has indeed been shot, but is very much alive. I’m sorry but she was not very likable to begin with. Maybe that’s why they gave her a bullet in the brain, as a way to dramatically change her personality. In writing terms, this was an easy way out. Instead of Nancy having some divine revelation or epiphany to change, she suffers from brain damage. Which makes her nice.

WEEDS on SHOWTIME

Tada, now she’s likable and less evil to her loved ones! I’m not buying it. I am all for character growth, but it seemed cheap to simply say, “It’s amazing what a 22 caliber slug can do.” What about the suffering, the trauma, why is she still hot? Why can’t she deal with an actual problem, like say, if her face was ruined? Then Nancy wouldn’t be handed everything in life because of her looks. I don’t want sunshine or cheery rainbows and butterflies, I want real. This season took her from a bitchy and reckless milf to a mildly retarded one.

I also feel the little boy, Stevie, is awkward. No one ever believes that is Nancy’s kid, right? The casting would be the problem for this. The kid looks nothing like her and their connection makes it that much more obvious. He grew up fast, too, since the show always skips over huge chunks of time. Beginning with Nancy in prison, “2 years later”, and then the finally just skipped to their compound and told us “9 months later”. Finally, during the second episode, we got a “77 days later” with a running tally of the hospital bill. They love skipping things. It is so easy to skip things. Oh look, Nancy is okay again, she’s a little slow but still hot, no one worry! I wanted to see some struggle because everything is always too easy. Your audience hasn’t suffered brain damage. We are well aware of these cop-outs being used. Maybe 4 seasons ago, I thought the son was a huge factor. I thought Stevie would be important. He has become an awkward Mexican wallflower with poor acting skills.

It was very sweet of Showtime to keep Weeds running for this long. After all, Jenji Kohan needs to eat. But I cannot help comparing the other brilliant series on Showtime and HBO (Game of Thrones, Girls, House of Lies, The Big C) all of which destroy Weeds in creativity. HBO cancels shows much faster than Showtime does, and I wonder if there will be a season 9. If not, I hope the show can keep some dignity and humor in its final season.

I will continue to watch and enjoy some of the witty moments, but in general, they have become far and few between. If they skip over huge chunks of time again, I may tune out. I want to see the gritty realization of what Nancy’s life has become, not a flowery watered down version of it.

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