Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weeds - The Fourth Season is Quite "Kind"

Last night was the Season 4 premiere for one of my favorite television shows, Weeds. The program that follows the blustering mother/drug dealer Nancy Botwin, played effortlessly by Mary Louise Parker, and her interaction with her business partners and wacky family after the sudden death of her husband. The Fourth Season begins with the Botwin family running from the fires that engulfed their picturesque town of Agrestic/Majestic and to a change in scenery. They are now holing up with Nancy’s father in law, played by Albert Brooks this season in a seaside town in Baja, and she is looking to work with Guillermo, the man most likely behind the fires of Agrestic, and trafficking over the border. We also got a sneak peek of the arrest of Celia for being the alleged ring leader for the marijuana crops found in last season’s finale. And of course the love lost between Celia, Elizabeth Perkins and her ex-husband will not help the situations. Here is a great interview TV Guide did with Parker and Perkins in preparation for this season. As to not spoil anymore of the show for those who have yet to see it, Variety is offering a free screening of the episode in full on their website.

In preparation for yesterday’s premiere, I began watching the previous seasons again. I have really appreciated this program from the get go. Mainly because I really find Parker to be a stellar actress and I am glad that she has finally been given a role she can sink her teeth into and something that more a million people are watching. The Nancy Botwin character is a complete departure from many things Parker has done in the past, but more so, she is a change to the typical mother role we have so often seen on television. Usually when we see a female character that lives a life of conflict, i.e. being a drug dealer and a suburban housewife, she is usually found to be apologetic for her chosen path. In the beginning, when Nancy was dealing with the loss of her husband, the resentment from her children and being forced to face the reality of going out there and maintaining the lifestyle the family had grown accustomed to, she did battle with her chosen trade, the drug business. Her children first frowned upon it, then used it as a weapon and then seemed to rally behind it. Her close friends and even family members began participating in the business at all levels and it seemed to not only normalize the “trade”, but actually legitimize it. What I found so appealing about Nancy and the gusto that Parker brings to the role is there are no longer any apologies for herself, she is who she is and she has her reasons. She is calculated to protect herself and in turn, her family. This honesty has felt so real and true to a viewer like myself since Tony Soprano took to the screen, playing the gangster who loved his family.
So I would like to say Bravo to Showtime for not only continuing to create interesting parts for women, but making sure they do not fall in live with the archetype female character. And I can not wait to see what happens, wrong or right, in Nancy Botwin’s life during the Fourth Season.