Saturday, January 20, 2007


So I recently downloaded and watched the entire first season of Weeds.

First of all, don't do what I did. Buy it on DVD. There are problems with distorted audio on the download version, only in a couple episodes, but it's still pretty appalling. Apple's famous for its quality control in other areas, not so much so here.

Second, I love and hate this show. I love the performances and the satire on suburbia. I love when they portray Nancy as very together, and basically the smartest person around -- like in the first episode -- and I hate it when they make her a stereotypical clueless irresponsible hippie numbskull, out of her depth and incapable of handling things like money and to-do lists. I have very mixed feelings about the way minorities are handled in the show, it's generally this weird mix of compassion and appalling stereotypes. In fact to some extent that describes the entire show.

The weirdest part is the Jewish stuff. Both Mary Louise-Parker and Elizabeth Perkins play suburban women who aren't Jewish themselves, but whose husbands are. That parallel is so direct, and that situation so specific, that really I think it was just a mistake, the kind of mistake that comes from writers not really being sure what issues they want to write about, so they end up writing about the same issue twice from different perspectives without even meaning to.

It's a great show, though, I've watched the whole season and I'll probably do it again. I'll buy it on DVD for my brother and his wife, too, which is funny, because he isn't Jewish and she is. Actually the coincidence there makes me suspicious. Maybe that's a more essential element of the show than I realize. Certainly, the way the black characters are written, they don't really remind me of actual black people. They remind me of Jewish people who are exaggeratedly outspoken and violent, even to the point of being cartoonish.

I'm not sure why that is, exactly, and again, that's one of the things about the show that makes me very uncomfortable, but there are moments of absolute hilarity there too. The scene where the deaf girl spraypaints the arrogant teenage boy's crotch is worth the price of the entire season. The cast is excellent, too, and the satire on suburbia is absolutely dead-on, and a lot funnier than satire usually is.

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