Weeds: a cure for television induced nausea

29.12.05

As a regular television audience member, I have searched the vast expanse of the wasteland that is network cable to find little of interest and too many infommercials. Ever so often in the eight hours of original programming that is repeated for the rest of the twenty four-hours of that day, I find a gem that will not just hold my interest but makes me believe that someone with half a brain put it together. Usually the break in television menotany is broken by shows like Family Guy, Daily Planet, Battle Star Gallatica and occasionally a network special like OLN's Long Way Around with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman, but these moments are fleeting because television seasons produce at the most around 16 episodes and then repeat for the rest of the year until our eyes bleed.

At this point if you are still reading you probably have viewing habits that go beyond a couple hours a week and lets face it there is nothing wrong with that. Television fills the gaps between all the useful stuff that goes on in your life that you have to wait for like eating, going to the bathroom and sleeping. Regardless of yor viewing habits, you'd think that the networks would do a better job of programming for those that spend most of their time watching tv or at least to try to get repeat audience members. Watching a movie on network tv is like drinking de-alcoholized beer, by the time a feature film gets to network cable it is watered down and edited to be so non-offensive, that even the hyper reactionary right wing parental groups won't write the networks to complain. That is why original programming that breaks the video vomit usually served up in a 22 or 44 minute format is special.


In this case someone with a brain and a pocketful of cash put a show together that really deserves my hour of attention before sleeping at night. Weeds creator Jenji Kohan (former writer of Sex and the City and Gilmore Girls) writes the ugly side or perhaps the everyday untold story of suburban pot habits. Cutting like family guy or south park, Weeds lacks the dry sarcasm that usually pervades drama and instead cuts right to the chase with confrontations between characters that are not just realistic but caustic, viscious, mean and down right nasty. Perhaps this is what kept me riveted throughout the uncensored hour of glee I had last night while watching Nancy Botwin played by Mary-Louise Parker berate Doug Wilson played by Kevin Nielon for smoking weed she had sold him in the parking lot of the local children's soccer games. What was so fresh about the show was the way it tackles marijuana use in the suburbs and how seemingly normal it is. Showcase has been one of those networks that has consistently played devils advocate to the mainstream ideals of primetime television creating intriguing and innovative programming for a diverse adult set. Weeds is just one example of what the channel has to offer. Airing at 10pm PST on Showcase, Weeds is worth an hour of your non-vegetative tv time and will enlighten you on your neighborhoods dysfunctions and how they could play out behind closed doors.

Photo found in the review by Rachel Giese for CBC.ca


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