If you find this funny, Mary Jane’s to blame
Weeds 11pm, Nine
IN the US, someone has coined a new word to describe programs such as Weeds : dramedy. This is not George W. Bush trying to describe a onehumped camel but one of those trendy advertising agency words used to describe what sensible people think of as black comedy.
It is also an area where Americans, often regarded as being devoid of a sense of irony, can do surprisingly well. Certainly that seems to be the case here, although one suspects the creators and writers of this show, about a widow who decides to grow marijuana after the death of her husband, may be doing a fair bit of what may charitably be termed market research.
There is a manic edginess to Weeds that suggests not everyone involved is completely in their right mind. It is also not an easy program for the uninitiated to come to grips with, if they suddenly turn up in the upmarket Californian suburb of Agrestic well into series two.
The complicated relationships started to make more sense at the end of this 30- minute episode, but there was no shame in a quick trip to the internet to find out exactly who was doing what to whom. At the centre of the mayhem is Mary- Louise Parker, whose wide- eyed stare made her appear permanently stoned even in The West Wing.
Parker is well cast as Nancy Botwin, the hapless widow who turns to horticulture to maintain the upperclass lifestyle to which she and her two sons have become accustomed.
She is the focal point of a bizarre web that includes a husband in the Drug Enforcement Agency, a brother- in- law who is trying to avoid military service by studying to be a rabbi and a perpetually stoned busi- ness adviser. Although they apparently first set up operations in a bakery, Botwin and her colleagues have relocated to a grow house. But it is not the only such facility in the area: there are four others owned by an Armenian cartel that has yet to embrace the American tradition of a free market.
This competitive challenge and Botwin’s convoluted relationships are at the centre of tonight’s episode. It opens with Botwin forcing her elder son’s deaf girlfriend to take multiple home pregnancy tests as she asks the superfluous question no parent can resist: How did it happen? The girl answers that it was probably three weeks ago when they did it doggiestyle. From there, everything goes downhill in a maniacal fashion.
Those of us who no longer partake of illicit herbal remedies can testify that you don’t have to be wasted to enjoy Weeds. But it probably helps.
High time: Parker as Nancy, right, with Elizabeth Perkins as her friend Celia