What if I was to tell you that there was a TV show about a hot suburban mom who deals with the financial stresses of widowhood by becoming the neighborhood pot dealer? Is that something you might be interested in?
Sorry... wrong pay cable channel.
Anyway, because I got to see this season's first five episodes of "Weeds" last month, and because Matt wound up writing the review for the paper, I completely blanked on the fact that it debuted on Monday night -- even though I actually linked to Matt's review here. I'd like to blame it on too much of Nancy Botwin's product, but sadly, this is how my brain functions even when straight-edged.
"Weeds" is a show I didn't have much use for last season. I still hadn't forgiven Mary-Louise Parker for inflicting Amy Gardner on "The West Wing" (even as written, she was probably an irritating character, but M-LP went the extra mile), I was wary of any project featuring Kevin Nealon in a significant role, and I felt it suffered from Single Camera-itis, in which the makers of laughtrack-free comedies are too busy being impressed by their own cleverness to notice that their show isn't, you know, funny. (There was also a trace of Alan Ball-itis, in which Hollywood types are so pleased to be ripping suburbia's lid off, Ron Burgundy-style, to notice that the audience realized years ago that suburbia was rife with dysfunction.)
But, like the (non-medicinal) weeds I can't seem to purge from my own suburban backyard, the show grew on me. (Thank you. Try the veal, and don't forget to tip your waitress.) I developed a real affection for Mary-Louise and her bizarre line readings, I discovered that Nealon was perfectly cast as a pathetic middle-aged pothead, I applauded the arrival of Prior Walter from "Angels in America" as Nancy's irresponsible brother-in-law and, most importantly, I started laughing. Not just at Elizabeth Perkins, who was genius from the start, but at everybody. And with the arrival of the deader-than-deadpan Martin Donovan, whom I've loved ever since I saw him in Hal Hartley's "Trust," the ensemble (also including Romany Malco, the secret weapon from "40-Year-Old Virgin") was complete.
Because all five have blended together in my head a bit, I don't have a lot of specific things to say about the premiere, except that I love the complete disdain that Nealon and Perkins have for each other, and I love Uncle Andy having to deal with an Israeli ex-soldier who could no doubt snap him like a twig.
Back when the network season was winding down and I put my poll in the field about what summer shows you all wanted to see discussed here, "Weeds" got a couple of mentions, so if there's enough interest, I can take a second pass through episodes 2-5 and work them into the rotation. But if nobody cares, I'll just enjoy the DVDs as they arrive from Showtime. The power is in your hands. Use it wisely. Or something.