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TV Series Review

Some say the American family is going to pot. Nancy Baldwin might agree—taking the phrase more literally than most.

Back in 2005, Nancy was a standard-issue suburban wife with her bread-winning spouse, two kids and a nice California house in tow. But when her hubby inconsiderately dies, his parting gift is a sky-high mortgage on top of a mountain of other bills.

Given similar circumstances, some women might've radically revamped their lives by downsizing the house, selling a car and finding new—legal—ways to make ends meet. Nancy, in her desperation to cling to her posh lifestyle, opts to start a marijuana business—and not even a medicinal practice, mind you, but a covert operation, selling weed to her wealthy neighbors.

The results are predictable, even biblical: Nancy, in trying to "save" her current life, utterly loses it. In nearly a decade's worth of seasons, the California mom's gone from dealer to grower to drug-runner to fugitive, fleeing from both her crime-lord husband (a new one) and the long arm of the law, finally landing in Connecticut. And she's taking her long-suffering family (which includes oddball brother-in-law Andy) along for the ride.

"You can talk about the many ways I have failed you," she tells her sons as she throws all her most important possessions in her getaway minivan, "or we can play license plate bingo. I'll let you decide."

Weeds is a darkly funny comedy. Yet behind the laughs lurks an unfolding tragedy—the image of a family so ripped and torn that one can barely untangle its vestiges. Older son Silas struggles to find a semblance of normalcy in the midst of his mother's chaotic world: "I'm not going until everyone's buckled," Silas says, behind the wheel of the minivan. "Someone has to be a role model here." Yet he's also impregnated a girl to keep her from going to college and has gradually grown to accept and help with the new family business. Shane, Nancy's younger son, killed a woman with a croquet mallet at the end of Season 5, and now (in what may be a paradoxical act of rebellion) is training to be a police officer. Yeah, that should make Thanksgiving dinner interesting a few years down the road.

This reefer-infused satire on suburbia has turned into Leave It to Beaver meets Pulp Fiction—an incredibly foul, sexually charged, sometimes bloodily violent and often spiritually offensive comedy (it regularly skewers Christianity) in which the protagonists are now merely hoping to survive. In fact, Nancy begins Season 8 in a hospital bed, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Nancy's always wishing things were better. That she was better. "We're not going to be like that anymore," she tells Silas in a recent episode (though she still, of course, plans to sell drugs). Rather, they're going to be like "the people in the weight loss ads," newly thin and pretty and smiling.

But viewers suspect that however much she longs for a normal life, it is not to be. Nancy's life would seem to have gone too crooked to ever be made straight again—not, at least, without confession, restitution and significant jail time. She's all out of joint, as it were, and no chiropractor on earth can straighten her out.

"Normal" is not the stuff of which Showtime series are made anyway. So Nancy's future is up in smoke.

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Episode Reviews

Weeds: 7-8-2012
Weeds: 8-23-2010
Weeds: 8-16-2010



Readability Age Range



Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin; Hunter Parrish as Silas Botwin; Alexander Gould as Shane Botwin; Justin Kirk as Andy Botwin






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On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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