‘Weeds’ Premiere Shares Plot Points With ‘True Blood’
By Alex Cranz
The similarity between the seventh season premiere of Weeds and the fourth season premiere of True Blood aren’t so plentiful as to be thoroughly alarming, but they’re so similar that you’re bound to raise an eyebrow.
Time jump? Check. Weeds skips ahead three years. If your show is stagnating and you need to get the creative juices flowing a time jump is nearly always the cure. Last season was a meandering affair, and while I quite liked bits of it (especially the last episode) it was hard to truly and deeply love it. Already this first episode has given the show more focus than it’s had in a number of years. Nancy’s been changed by three years in a maximum security prison, Silas and Shane have spent three years away from their mother and they’re all attractive and maybe, hopefully, less crazy, and Doug and Andy are finally running a successful business. Then Nancy gets out of jail and its time for all five characters to react to that and move forward.
What other similarities were there between Weeds and True Blood? Well, Nancy’s gone a bit gay.
When the clip of her locking lips with her cellmate was released last week it caused a little bit of a furor, but watching the scene in context only highlights Mary Louise Parker’s fantastic performance and Nancy’s willingness to do whatever it takes to survive. Does she love the woman she’s lived with for three years? Or is the relationship one of necessity, like her last two husbands. It’s never made explicitly clear, though I’m inclined to think the latter…what with this being Nancy and all. She once had a baby just to keep from being executed. Woman will do anything you know?
This entire episode was just a showcase for how fantastic Parker is as an actress. After a few seasons of super unlikable and selfish Nancy whom we could read like an open book it was nice to take a step back. We are no longer in Nancy’s head with her and are no longer privy to her motivations and concerns. We get glimmers here and there, she’s calmed by the news of her dead husband, and she desperately misses her youngest son (whom her sister has all but co-opted), but when she’s sitting at that little table in the halfway house while her new supervisor looks on we don’t know what she’s feeling or whether her emotions are real. Used to we were in on her lies, but not anymore.
This idea of being kicked back to observer starts at the top of the episode as we sit in on Nancy’s probation hearing. Instead of watching the whole scene we just watch Nancy. Watch her horror and confusion as the board bickers and snipes at one another and then lets her go after spending only three years in prison for manslaughter. It’s a great scene and remarkably theatrical for television. I half expected a curtain to fall as she got up to leave.
Weeds, when it premiered seven years ago, was billed as a quirky comedy. It’s been Showtime’s flagship “quirky comedy starring a self-destructive woman” for years. And unlike all of Showtime’s other shows of that ilk (The Big C, United States of Tara, Nurse Jackie) Weeds is actually a comedy. You can laugh at the show and not feel like a soulless jerk! When Nancy opens that car trunk and finds a suitcase full of weaponry it’s a little funny, when she rolls it out of the parking garage before rethinking things and just carrying it I was tickled more than I’ve been by all three aforementioned shows combined.
That dark humor mixed with just a little drama is something Weeds excels at. it’s been easy to forget it at times, but it almost felt like creator Jenji Kohan wanted to remind us why her show had served as a cultural touchstone at one point, and those that followed had not. Weeds is back and it’s smarter and funnier then it’s been in a while, and unlike allll the other Showtime comedies it is actually a comedy.