Weeds

Weeds

[weed]

Weeds is an American television series, currently comprising four seasons that began airing in August, 2005. The plot revolves around a widowed housewife from an affluent California suburb who becomes an upper middle class marijuana dealer to make ends meet.

The show began with a 10-episode first season in August 2005, and was the highest rated series for Showtime that year. A 12-episode second season followed in August 2006, and a third season consisting of 15 episodes premiered on August 13, 2007. The season 3 premiere episode attracted 824,000 Showtime subscribers to the show. It was announced on November 5, 2007 that Showtime had picked up the show for a fourth season consisting of 13 episodes which began on June 16, 2008.

The season 4 premiere attracted 1.3 million viewers to Showtime, the channel's highest-ever viewership. Season 4 averaged 962,000 viewers.

The exteriors for the show are shot almost exclusively in Stevenson Ranch, a suburban area of Santa Clarita Valley, California. The shot of the large fountain and Agrestic sign seen in the introduction of Seasons 1-3 was shot at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Holmes Place. The name 'Stevenson Ranch', was digitally replaced with 'Agrestic' and with 'Majestic' in later episodes.

The overhead, satellite picture displayed at the beginning of the show's introduction (Seasons 1-3) is of "Calabasas Hills", a gated community in Calabasas, California.

Bob Greenblatt, President of Entertainment of Showtime Networks Inc, announced on July 18, 2008 that two more seasons of thirteen episodes will be produced.

Plot synopsis

Season 1

The series takes place in the affluent Los Angeles, California suburb of agrestic. It is home to Nancy Botwin, whose husband Judah suddenly died of a heart attack while jogging with his son Shane, prior to the start of the first season. Nancy's children Silas and Shane both attend Agrestic's public school system.

Nancy begins dealing marijuana to her affluent neighbors and friends to support her upper middle class lifestyle. She buys from Heylia James, a major distributor in Los Angeles' West Adams district whom she met through Heylia's nephew, Conrad. When her customers talk their way into a medical marijuana store with a variety of high-quality pot, Nancy's sales start to dry up, so she utilizes her baking skills and concocts pot-laced brownies and baked goods to sell off the low-quality product. Later, at the suggestion of her accountant, city councilman Doug Wilson, and with the aid of her attorney, her friend Celia Hodes' husband Dean, she opens a bakery as a front for her drug sales, buying the baked goods at Costco and putting them on her bakery's shelves as her own product. Silas begins dating Megan, an attractive deaf girl at his school. Shane, a witness to his father's death, is a more troubled child who has been known to act out. As a result, Shane has been given the nickname "Strange Botwin" at his school. In one instance, Shane bites the foot of another child in a martial arts tournament.

Nancy has befriended the manic, image-obsessed, manipulative and controlling Celia Hodes, president of the Agrestic PTA, who has a number of domestic problems. She does not get along with her cheating husband Dean; nor does she get along with her sexually active 15-year-old daughter, Quinn (Silas' previous girlfriend), whom she sends off to boarding school in Mexico in the pilot. Her younger daughter, 11-year-old Isabelle, is overweight, and also decides late in the season that she is a lesbian (apparently to avoid dieting and the related scolding about her weight), and Celia berates her about both issues. Toward the end of the season, Celia is diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer, and before her surgery, she picks up Conrad and has sex with him. Conrad is long-time friends with Andy Botwin, the younger brother of Nancy's late husband and the black sheep of the family. Andy says he has moved into the Botwin household to help Nancy out, but actually seems to be there to free-load, and to disrupt Nancy's life. When he is notified to report immediately for his previously-agreed-upon military service (where he will be trained and then sent to Iraq), or be sentenced to a military prison, he announces that he is studying to become a rabbi as a dodge to avoid his military obligation.

Nancy expands her distribution to Valley College, and is then harassed by a rival drug dealer, with whom she then has a brief and uncharacteristic sexual encounter. At Valley College, her entire stash of product is stolen by a campus security cop during a fake arrest, threatening the survival of her lifestyle and family. Unbeknown to her, Conrad and some of his friends go to Valley College and attack and severely beat the campus cop, who then (to Nancy's surprise) politely returns her marijuana to her, apologizing profusely and offering to assist her and her business in any way he can. She then has a mutual attraction with Peter Scottson, the single father of the kid bitten by Shane in a karate tournament. The season closes with Conrad convincing Nancy to expand by becoming a grower as well as a dealer. However, implementing this plan hits complications in the last minutes of the season when, because of her mounting frustration and stress, she gives in and decides to sleep with Peter. Immediately afterward, she walks into his bathroom and finds out that he's apparently an agent with the federal DEA.

Season 2

The second season, while still comedic, has a much darker tone, as Nancy becomes increasingly involved in the more dangerous aspects of the drug "underground". Ignoring Heylia's advice, Nancy and Conrad start their own small-scale growing operation and eventually rent a suburban grow-house. She welcomes other people into her business, including her brother-in-law Andy and Doug. During this season, Peter Scottson tells Nancy he knows she is a drug dealer, and the two are married as part of a deal to legally protect Nancy from Peter. While Nancy's drug activities increase, Celia runs for, and wins, Doug's spot on the town council: she launches a drug-free campaign across Agrestic complete with drug-free zone signs and surveillance cameras.

As the season progresses, Nancy's children become more aware of her illegal activities, though the two sons deal with the issue in quite different ways. Shane continues to have problems fitting in at school, and ultimately takes an interest in Andy's crazy ex-girlfriend, Kat. Silas, on the other hand, takes out his frustrations by committing acts of vandalism, most notably stealing Celia's drug-free zone signs and cameras.

Nancy and Conrad's drug business becomes a hit as Conrad's strain of plant, which Snoop Dogg dubs "milfweed" during a happenstance meeting at a recording studio, pleases their customers; but their high profile causes trouble. Initially, Nancy's marriage to a DEA agent keeps her on top while her Armenian rivals are busted, but her marriage to Peter deteriorates as he pressures her to quit dealing. For Nancy, the final straw is when Peter comes over for dinner and manhandles Silas. Nancy calls Conrad and tells him that she doesn't love Peter; Peter hears the conversation with wireless surveillance.

The season concludes with a complex series of betrayals, as Peter demands of Nancy and Conrad all of the cash from a quick sale of their crop. Secretly, Heylia hires Armenian mobsters to kill Peter in retaliation. Nancy's buyer, U-Turn, demands the entire crop of weed at gunpoint. Having just killed Peter, the Armenian mobsters arrive at the same time and expect the proceeds from the big sale to pay for their hit. Only then does Nancy discover that Silas has decided to force his way into the business by stealing the entire batch of weed and demanding to be part of the business. It is at this time he is approached by Celia and a police officer for the vandalism. This leaves Nancy at the grow house, in a Mexican standoff with both the gangsters and the mobsters pointing guns at her in a season-ending cliffhanger.

Season 3

The third season of Weeds begins with several subplots involving the fallout from the botched drug deal of the season two finale. The first half of the season sees Nancy under immense pressure as she works for U-Turn in order to pay off her debts. She also begins to work for Sullivan Groff, the crooked developer of rival community, Majestic, and soon after begins a relationship with him, much to Celia's chagrin. As U-Turn begins training Nancy to become his deputy, his partner Marvin becomes jealous, and suffocates U-Turn after he has a heart attack; Nancy takes advantage of the situation to clear all debts for everyone involved. Meanwhile, Andy unsuccessfully attempts to avoid military service, before being discharged and befriending a group of bikers; Silas begins selling pot and meets Tara, a born-again Christian who helps him; Shane and Isabelle become outcasts at a heavily-religious summer school, and Shane begins talking to his dead father as the stress on the family becomes too great. Celia has a brief relationship with Doug, and Conrad and Heylia start their own new growing operation, initially at the behest of U-Turn, before his demise.

Having overcome problems with Peter's ex-wife, Valerie, when Nancy is left with Peter's life insurance money, Nancy must turn to Guillermo to get protection when the bikers threaten her family as she refuses to sell their low-quality ditch weed. Guillermo's drastic action causes a huge fire in Agrestic; Nancy pours gasoline over her house and drops a match, ensuring that she and her family will be moving on.

Season 4

On November 5, 2007, it was confirmed that Showtime would air a fourth season of Weeds, to contain at least 13 episodes. The fourth season started airing on Monday, June 16, 2008 with the final episode airing on Monday, September 15, 2008. The first episode of this season, entitled "Mother Thinks the Birds are After Her", was the last time "Little Boxes" was used during the opening credits. Thereafter, each episode began with an animated title card in a scenario relating to the episode. Major changes to the cast were made, owing largely to the family's move. Mary-Kate Olsen and Matthew Modine no longer appeared in the show, and Romany Malco and Tonye Patano, who had key roles in the first three seasons, were no longer part of the main cast, and remain unseen. Albert Brooks was added as Andy's father, Lenny Botwin, who was seen in the first four episodes of the season. Guillermo Diaz and Jack Stehlin, who played minor recurring roles previously, play larger roles.

This season sees Nancy relocate her family to the fictional town of Ren Mar, located on the San Diego/Tijuana border, after having set fire to her house and burning it down at the end of the previous season. Here, she begins drug trafficking across the border for Guillermo, and must deal with Celia, who has been sent to spy on her in hopes of getting herself out of jail. Andy begins a coyote business with Doug, who has moved to town to evade questions about Agrestic's finances; Silas sets up his own weed business, with the blessing of his mother; and Shane slowly begins to go off the rails when he meets two girls at his new school. As the season progresses, Nancy's role changes as she is told to run a maternity store with Celia's help, used as a front to disguise a tunnel in the back room that runs to Mexico, in order to facilitate drug trafficking. As she slowly begins to realize that the tunnel is also being used for human trafficking and gun trafficking, she decides to inform the DEA, despite having begun a relationship with the corrupt Mayor of Tijuana, for whom Guillermo works. In the finale, Esteban, the mayor, discovers Nancy is the rat. Moments after being confronted, Nancy informs Esteban that she is pregnant with his child.

Season 2 and 3 Pre-air episode leaks

The first episode of the third season was scheduled to air on August 13, 2007. On July 22, 2007, the first and second episodes of season 3 were leaked on the Internet. On July 24, 2007, the third episode was leaked, and on July 27, 2007, the fourth episode was leaked. The fourth episode was not a complete version; among other things, some dubbed lines were not complete (notably a voicemail message Nancy receives from U-Turn is spoken by a distinctly different actor, and in place of the end credits a card is inserted reading "End Credits"). As of December 2007, all 15 episodes of the third season were available online. Due to the high quality of the leaked episodes, some have speculated that the episodes were leaked intentionally in order to garner interest in the show and to create an internet buzz. Weeds creator Jenji Kohan has shown a positive interest in the Weeds episodes leaking online, saying, "Revenue aside, I don't expect to get rich on Weeds, I'm excited it's out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience. In 2006 before season 2 aired on Showtime, the first few episodes were also leaked online.

Cast and crew

Main Cast:

Actor Role Episodes
Mary-Louise Parker Nancy Botwin 50
Elizabeth Perkins Celia Hodes 50
Tonye Patano Heylia James  32*
Romany Malco Conrad Shepard  36*
Justin Kirk Andy Botwin  47
Hunter Parrish Silas Botwin 50
Alexander Gould Shane Botwin 50
Allie Grant Isabelle Hodes  36
Andy Milder Dean Hodes  37**
Kevin Nealon Doug Wilson 50
Main cast as of season 1, episode 4.
Main cast as of season 3, episode 1. Previously guest stars.
*Main cast from season 1 to season 3 only.
**Main cast during season 3 only; recurring guest otherwise.

Key Recurring Cast:

Actor Role Season Appearances
Indigo Vaneeta 1, 2, 3
Quinn Hodes 1, 4
Sanjay 1, 2, 3, 4
Lupita 1, 2, 3, 4
Pam 1, 2, 3, 4
Peter Scottson 1, 2
Megan 1, 2
Sullivan Groff 3
U-turn 2, 3
Fatso-Fasano Marvin 2, 3, 4
Gretchen 2
Mr. Albin 1, 2, 3
Tara Lindman 3
Captain Roy Till 2, 3, 4
Guillermo García Gómez 3, 4
Jada Henderson 1, 2, 3
Maggie 1, 2, 3
Yael Hoffman 2
Joseph 2
Kat 2, 3
Agent George "Fundis" Fundislavsky 2, 3
Tim Scottson 1, 2, 3
Valerie Scottson 3
Lenny Botwin 4
Alejandro 1, 2
Denise 3
Judah Botwin 1
himself 3
Arlene Cutter 3
Chess 3
Esteban Reyes 4
Lisa 4
Cesar 4
Rad Ferris 4

Crew:

Characters

Major Characters

Nancy Botwin portrayed by Mary-Louise Parker (S1-4)

Nancy Botwin was an all-American PTA soccer mom until her husband Judah suddenly dropped dead. To maintain the suburban lifestyle to which she was accustomed, Nancy entered the dangerous world of drug dealing.

Celia Hodes portrayed by Elizabeth Perkins (S1-4)

Celia is a suburban mother and "friend" of Nancy. She constantly criticizes her overweight daughter Isabelle, and is stuck in an unhappy marriage for the first season and a half. Celia also has another daughter named Quinn, who, until the end of Season 4, had only appeared in the pilot episode. After that she's been mentioned as having been sent to boarding school after Quinn found out her mother was spying on her and knew she had slept with Silas. Quinn is almost never mentioned anymore. In the Season 4 finale her mother visits her in Mexico, only to get drugged, captured and held for ransom by her.

Andy Botwin portrayed by Justin Kirk (S1-4)

Andy Botwin is Nancy's fun-loving brother in law. After Judah's death, Nancy reluctantly allows Andy to live at the house, and soon realizes his presence is needed for her business and for the kids.

Silas Botwin portrayed by Hunter Parrish (S1-4)

Silas, Nancy's oldest son, was traumatized by Judah's death, and took it out on everyone. He had numerous bad break-ups with his girlfriends and constantly harassed Nancy about her job. Eventually he realizes he too wants to be a drug dealer.

Shane Botwin portrayed by Alexander Gould (S1-4)

Shane is Nancy's younger son and was with Judah at the time of his death. Shane takes out his grief in bizarre emotional ways, such as talking to his father even though he isn't alive. Shane is also very smart.

Doug Wilson portrayed by Kevin Nealon (S1-4)

Doug is the fun loving accountant and friend of Nancy. Doug also becomes business partners with Nancy and dedicates his life to his city council seat, until he tries to destroy the city of Majestic when Sullivan Groff takes over. Doug has an unseen wife Dana who he loves very much but won't have sex with him. He had an affair with Celia briefly but loves Dana too much to keep seeing Celia. Doug also has a gay teenaged son Josh (Justin Chatwin) who appeared only in the pilot episode. He was mentioned several times by Doug in Season 4 who reveals that he knows Josh is gay.

Conrad Shepard portrayed by Romany Malco (S1-3)

Conrad, Nancy's business associate, had very strong feelings for Nancy for a long time. After they became a real couple, Nancy had to leave him as the town burned down.

Heylia James portrayed by Tonye Patano (S1-3)

Heylia is Conrad's aunt and the former supplier for Nancy. When Nancy goes against Heylia's instructions and continues to see Conrad, she forms a grudge against her. Heylia and Nancy partly become partners until the town burned down.

Isabelle Hodes portrayed by Allie Grant (Guest S1-2, Regular S3-4)

Isabelle is Shane's good friend and daughter of Celia. Isabelle frustrates her mother with her lesbian tendencies and unwillingness to lose weight.

Dean Hodes portrayed by Andy Milder (Guest S1-2 and 4, Regular S3)

Dean is Isabelle's father and Celia's ex-husband. Dean loves Isabelle and tries to make the best possible life for her and himself after he splits up with Celia and the town burns down.

Impact

Critical response

Slate magazine named the character of Nancy Botwin as one of the best on television and one of the reasons they were looking forward to the return of the show in fall 2007.

Time magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 Returning Series of 2007, ranking it at #9.

The New York Times opined the show is "transforming for Showtime"

Awards and nominations

Awards won

Award Title Credit Year
Satellite Awards "Outstanding Actress in a Series- Comedy" Mary-Louise Parker 2005
Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by a TV Actress in a Musical or Comedy Mary-Louise Parker 2006

Awards nominated

Golden Globe Awards
Best TV Series-Comedy (2006, 2007)
Best Performance by a TV Supporting Actress Elizabeth Perkins (2006, 2007)
Best Performance by a TV Actress in a Musical or Comedy Mary-Louise Parker (2007, 2008)
Best Performance by a TV Supporting Actor Justin Kirk (2007) Screen Actors Guild
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Mary-Louise Parker (2006, 2007, 2008)
Ensemble In A Comedy Series (2007) Satellite Awards
Outstanding Actress in a Series-Comedy Elizabeth Perkins (2005)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series, or TV Movie Elizabeth Perkins(2006)
Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Mary-Louise Parker (2006)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie Justin Kirk (2007)
Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical (2007) Emmy Awards
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Elizabeth Perkins (2006, 2007)
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Craig Zisk, for the episode Good Shit Lollipop (2006)
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series (2006, 2007)
Outstanding Main Title Design (2006)
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode Good Shit Lollipop (2006)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Mary-Louise Parker (2007, 2008)
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode Mrs. Botwin's Neighborhood (2007)
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode Crush Girl Love Panic (2007)

Episodes

DVD releases

DVD Name # of Ep Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 10 July 11, 2006 September 3, 2007 July 18, 2007
Season Two 12 July 24, 2007 January 7, 2008 May 28, 2008
Season Three 15 June 3, 2008 May 26, 2008

The Region 1 Season One DVD is only available in 4:3 pan and scan format. The Region 2 and 4 releases are all in anamorphic widescreen.

Season One was released on Blu-ray on May 29, 2007, and Season Two was released on July 24, 2007. Both seasons include all episodes in 1080p widescreen with Dolby Digital EX sound and either DTS-HD (Season One) or LPCM (Season Two), as well as extras exclusive to the Blu-ray release. Season Three was released on Blu-ray on June 3, 2008.

The Season Two DVD was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification for an 'extra' - not an episode of the series - which was seen to promote drug usage. The official BBFC adjudication may be found here.

CD releases

Weeds: Music from the Original Series

Weeds: Music from the Original Series, Volume 2

Weeds: Music from the Original Series, Volume 3

Opening music

Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds is the opening song during the first three seasons of the show. The original is used during the entire first season. In season two and three, the song is performed by different artists.

Season 1:

  • 1×01–10: Malvina Reynolds

Season 2:

Season 3:

In season 4, the original titles and music are replaced by a short clip, different for each episode, which bears relevance to the plot or some scene later in the episode.

Books

On August 7, 2007, Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon and Schuster, published In the Weeds: The Official Guide to the Showtime Series by Kera Bolonik, which features interviews with the show's creator, its writers and crew, and the entire cast. It also features detailed character and plot descriptions, recipes, and lots of trivia and behind-the-scenes information.

References

External links

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