And then we watched another. And another. And possibly another.
I couldn't even figure out why it was so appealing, but I kept wanting more! (Okay, admittedly, I spent most of the pilot staring at Mary-Louise Parker's breasts. Hush.)
The premise of the show is this: Judah Botwin (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the most-killed man on television) dies, leaving his family to fend for themselves in the patch of suburbia known as Agrestic. His widow, Nancy, inexplicably becomes a pot dealer (one niggling flaw is that her reasons for getting into this line of business are never really sufficiently explained to my liking, but that's what our good buddy Suspension of Disbelief is for) in order to make the dough to raise her two sons, Silas and Shane. Silas is a rebellious teenager, and Shane is dealing with his father's death by becoming even weirder than he was before. Soon, her brother-in-law Andy hops into town and joins the family. As if the Botwins weren't enough, you've got Nancy's "friend" Celia Hodes, bitch queen extraordinaire; her husband, Dean, poor schmuck extraordinare; and her daughter, Isabelle, chunky child extraordinaire. Then you've got Heylia James, Nancy's dealer, and her nephew Conrad, who takes a special liking to Nancy. ALSO (whew), there's Doug Wilson, city councilman and pothead. Well, really, "and pothead" can generally be added to descriptions of most characters in the show.
The show is so packed that for the entire first season, I was actually convinced it was an hourlong drama. It blew my mind to discover that it was actually a half-hour comedy. Like Entourage, it's incredibly serial.
So what is Weeds really about? Well, I think it's a family drama. Nancy's pot-dealing ways merely provide a source of plotlines; the real heart of the show is Nancy's being the hottest mom since Lorelai Gilmore. Silas and Shane are a handful, since Silas is kind of a dick, and Shane is...basically, Shane is made of awesome. Like, he is seriously the oddest sixth-grader you ever did see, in a very endearing way. Then, competing for the title of Most Dysfunctional Family on This Show, the Hodes comprise a loveless marriage and a mother-daughter relationship covered in acrid, spiteful hate. While the family stuff is the heart, the business stuff is the meat, and it's also entertaining, and, most importantly, it includes a terribly amusing Indian guy named Sanjay. I don't know what it is, but there has been a notable rise in the number of non-stereotypical Indian characters in the last few years, and I like it!
What's interesting about the entertainment value of this show is that very few of the characters are particularly likable. Shane and Isabelle, the elementary-school children, are probably the only truly likable characters, in addition to Conrad. Nancy is good, but she can be kind of shady at times, and her mothering skills vary wildly. I kind of hate Andy, who is generally a free-loading waste of space but provides much amusement and nudity through his constant sexcapades. Celia is a layered bitch, but still a bitch. These aren't great people, but they're entertaining people, and that's what matters.
Agrestic is kind of a surreal little place, where the wackiest things can happen, and it just seems...normal. It's not in-your-face wacky or anything; it's just that a lot of the show makes you go "What the hell??" at the same time you're cracking up. It's surprisingly grounded, despite the quirkiness.
I've got to give a shout-out to the music, since the show has really good musical taste, having featured Sufjan Stevens, Regina Spektor, and Of Montreal, to name a few. It's also got really weird musical taste; I'm not sure what fifties bunker they found some of these songs in. Like Entourage, they punctuate the ending of each episode with a random closing-credits song, and, seriously, these songs are so weird. And then there're the opening credits, which use the song "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds, who is more annoying than Joanna Newsom (and I actually got used to her voice). But, but, in the second season, Weeds has the best idea in the history of theme songs: each episode uses a cover by a different artist. It's so fun! Elvis Costello! Death Cab! Jenny Lewis! Regina Spektor! I'm looking forward to the Silversun Pickups version in the third season.
Weeds also really knows how to do a good cliffhanger. The first-season finale had a great ending, and the second-season finale topped the hell out of it with an "Oh my fuck!" cliffhanger that fans have been waiting to have resolved for over nine months, and I get to have resolved tonight. I really don't know where the show intends to go in the third season, but I know it will be lots of crazy fun.
Watch Weeds! It's more addictive than actual weed, and half as unhealthy.