I picked up the dvd of the first season of the Showtime hit, Weeds, with the every intention of watching it – over two years ago. I think it was a day after Thanksgiving special at Target. I had a habit of snatching up dvd’s on sale back then and never even breaking the shrink wrap on them. Television and movies were never my escapes. I think the only time I used a tv show as a diversion it really wasn’t a diversion as much as a way to immerse myself in my own feelings being experiencing them through the characters. Distance and yet not so much at all.
Rob pulled Weeds off the shelf recently, and we have been watching it a couple of episodes at a time. Each one is about 30 minutes which makes it perfect for nights we don’t want to invest in a feature length film, but still need to unwind a bit before sleep*.
The main character is a widowed pot dealer. Hence the title “weeds” as in illicit smokes and mourning attire. My first thought was,
“Damn, why didn’t I think of that?”
I was a public school teacher working with at-risk teenagers at the time of Will’s death. Those that weren’t active pot-heads were simply waiting for the ankle bracelets to come off so they could get back to it.
I had several students who came to the afternoon classes so stoned they could barely see. One boy was a freaking genius and his bloodshot glazed vision and slow-motion two finger typing did not keep him from completing the computer modules in a startling progression and eventually returning to regular course work with the “normal” children. But there was another young man who could barely speak English when he was under the influence, and it was his native tongue**. I finally had to sit him down – one day when he actually showed up straight – and inform him that there was no way he could possibly salvage the year unless he stopped coming to class stoned.
To his credit, he didn’t bother to deny his usage, but he wondered why he was failing when DeeJ could be just as high and be getting A’s and B’s.
It was then I had to point out the cold truth.
“Some people can go through school so stoned you wonder how they stand upright because they are just really, really smart. You are not one of those people.”
He didn’t comment but went back to work. Bless his little heart, he tried to do school without the enhancements, but he eventually was expelled for bringing drugs to school and “sharing” them.
Between the inhalers and the gang members I knew, I could have established quite the side business. I wouldn’t have been the first teacher to work two jobs during the school day. I knew people who ran construction businesses and managed rental properties in between (sometimes during once we got phones and Internet in our rooms) classes. One guy, a drama teacher, was so constantly on the phone with his bookie that some of his students who’d had me the year before would show up in my room after school to ask for help with homework he’d assigned them at the beginning of class without any instruction at all beyond,
“Just read the directions.”
He’s a principal now.
The Widow Nancy, who eventually will achieve drug lord status, is surrounded by a cast of interesting characters including her loser brother-in-law, Andy and her two sons – one of whom will eventually go into the “family” business.
Her friends are various degrees of off-center or just fuck’d-up. I especially love Doug, her accountant, played by Kevin Nealon and her dealer, a black woman in the “city” who is hilarious in her assessments of Nancy’s suburban white girl deficiencies as she struggles to adjust to her new reality. But the show’s themes are adult, so expect nudity, sex – a whole lot of drug use – and really bad language.
The show doesn’t really go into how Nancy ended up dealing or how long exactly she’s been widowed. It does deal with her grief, and her kids’, but in a way that is actually quite real for a show with such an outlandish basis. She grieves in between. When she has time or when the moments hit – though sometimes you can see moments come up and her consciously pushing them away or aside for a while.
The comedy is dark. It can be uncomfortable and more so when you find yourself laughing at it.
There are only ten episodes in the first season. I wasn’t sure we would continue onto the next one, but Rob went ahead and ordered seasons two and three from Amazon the other day.***
It’s mindless, politically incorrect and probably soul-warping. Forewarned is forearmed.
*Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Why aren’t they having sex? Seriously people, you live in the gutter. And who says we aren’t as well? Hmm.
** I taught plenty of non-English speaking stoners too, he just wasn’t one of them.
*** Considering how sporadically we’ve watched season one – took us nearly a month – it was actually cheaper to buy the discs outright than rent them from the local supplier of cheap audio/visual entertainment.