Weeds (TV series)

Last updated
Weeds
Weeds logo.png
Genre Black comedy [1] [2]
Comedy-drama [1] [3]
Satire [1]
Created by Jenji Kohan
Starring
Opening theme"Little Boxes"
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes102 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Jenji Kohan
  • Roberto Benabib (seasons 3–8)
  • Craig Zisk (seasons 3–5)
  • Matthew Salsberg (seasons 6–8)
  • Mark A. Burley (seasons 7–8)
  • Scott Ellis (season 8)
  • Lisa I. Vinnecour (season 8)
Production locationsRed Studios (seasons 1–6) and Universal Studios (seasons 7–8) in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Running time26-31 minutes
Production companiesTilted Productions
Lionsgate Television
Showtime Networks
Distributor Lionsgate Television
Release
Original network Showtime
Original releaseAugust 8, 2005 (2005-08-08) 
September 16, 2012 (2012-09-16)
External links
Website

Weeds is an American dark comedy- drama [1] [2] [3] television series created by Jenji Kohan that aired on Showtime from August 8, 2005 to September 16, 2012. Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), a widowed mother of two boysSilas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould)begins selling marijuana to support her family. Other main characters include Nancy's lax brother-in-law Andy Botwin (Justin Kirk), who moves in to help raise her children; naive acquaintance Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon); narcissistic neighbor Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins), who lives with her husband Dean (Andy Milder) and their daughter Isabelle (Allie Grant); as well as Nancy's wholesalers Heylia James (Tonye Patano) and Conrad Shepard (Romany Malco). Over the course of the series, the Botwin family become increasingly entangled in illegal activity.

Contents

The first three seasons are set primarily in the fictional town of Agrestic, located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. During seasons 4 and 5, the Botwins reside in the also fictional San Diego suburb of Ren Mar. In season 6, the family relocates to Seattle, Washington and Dearborn, Michigan. In season 7, the family resides in New York City, living in Manhattan for the duration of the season, but relocates to Connecticut in the season 7 finale and throughout season 8.

When the show debuted on the Showtime cable network, it earned the channel's highest ratings. [4] [5] In 2012, TV Guide Network bought the airing rights and provided an edited version of the show free of charge. [6] The show has received numerous awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Satellite Awards, one Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild Award, and a Young Artist Award.

In November 2019, it was revealed that a sequel series was in development at Starz, titled Weeds 4.20. The series features Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins reprising their roles with the story set 10 years after the conclusion of the original series. Victoria Morrow, who was a producer on the writing team for Weeds, is set to return as writer and executive producer on the spin-off series, while original series creator and showrunner Jenji Kohan is not yet confirmed to be involved, along with any other returning cast. [7]

Production

Stevenson Ranch, California, a filming location for Weeds. Stevenson Ranch Fountain 2.JPG
Stevenson Ranch, California, a filming location for Weeds.

Produced by Tilted Productions, in association with Lionsgate Television, [8] the show is inspired by crime series, such as The Shield and The Sopranos , in the sense of an antihero serving as the protagonist while retaining an individual moral code, which usually goes against the norms of society. The title, according to Kohan, refers "to a lot of things", including marijuana and widow's weeds; however, it mainly alludes to "hardy plants struggling to survive." The basic premise, as illustrated by the lyrics of the opening song from seasons 1-3 and 8, satirizes off-color characters struggling with faux suburban reality, in which everything is "all style, no substance". [1] [9] According to Kohan, she first pitched the series to HBO, which dismissed it. Robert Greenblatt invested in the show before it was commissioned by Showtime. [10]

Showrunner and head writer Jenji Kohan, whose credits include Tracey Takes On... , Mad About You, and Sex and the City , is the executive producer of the series, alongside Roberto Benabib, of Little City fame. [11] [12] Kohan also explains how she and Benabib "tag team[ed]" in running the writers room. The writer Matthew Salsberg and director Craig Zisk also joined as executive producers in later seasons. [13] [14] [15] Following Zisk's departure from the series after five seasons, Mark Burley, director Scott Ellis, and Lisa Vinnecour were added as executive producers. By season 8, writers Victoria Morrow and Stephen Falk became the other executive producers.

Exterior scenes for the first two seasons were shot almost exclusively in Stevenson Ranch, a suburban area of Santa Clarita Valley, California. The large fountain and Agrestic sign in the opening credits of the first three seasons was shot at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Holmes Place. [16] The name "Stevenson Ranch" was digitally replaced with "Agrestic" (and with "Majestic" and "Regrestic" in later episodes). The overhead satellite view in the beginning of the credits in the first three seasons is of Calabasas Hills, a gated community in Calabasas, California. The shot of the It's A Grind coffee shop in the introduction (seasons 1–3) is of an It's A Grind in Castaic, California. [17] The show was originally filmed at Red Studios, previously known as Ren-Mar studios. [18] The show moved to Universal Studios in Los Angeles for season 7, where it is noted on the studio tour. A version of this Wikipedia page served as the introduction for the season 5 episode titled "Where the Sidewalk Ends".

Synopsis

Series opening

Nancy Botwin is a single mother who lives in Agrestic—a fictional suburb of Los Angeles—with her two children, 15-year-old Silas and 10-year-old Shane, when the series begins. The pilot opens a few months after the untimely death of Nancy's husband Judah, who had a heart attack while jogging with their younger son. [19] Nancy begins selling marijuana to maintain the upper middle-class lifestyle originally provided by her late husband's salary. References to conspicuous consumption are evident from the show's beginning episodes. The opening credits are set to Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes" song, which speaks of suburbanites from the same mold, all living the consumerist American dream. [20] Visual and auditory references to designer labels, luxury homes, SUV's, plastic surgery, and expensive sugary drinks point to the consumption habits of the Agrestic characters. Nancy's desire to maintain her comfortable suburban lifestyle is the impetus for her decision to enter the illegal drug business and is another example of extreme consumerism in suburbia. [21] [22] The series follows Nancy's life as she gets drawn into the criminal system, develops a client base, starts a front to hide her selling, creates her own strain of weed called MILF, and relocates her family to stay out of jail and protect her children. Featured in the ensemble cast are her lazy, wisecracking brother-in-law Andy Botwin; foolish acquaintance Doug Wilson; and narcissistic neighbor and PTA mother Celia Hodes.

Cast and characters

The cast of Weeds during Season 2, Left to Right: Romany Malco, Tonye Patano, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins, and Justin Kirk. This image was also used for the Season 2 DVD box set. Weedstv.jpg
The cast of Weeds during Season 2, Left to Right: Romany Malco, Tonye Patano, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins, and Justin Kirk. This image was also used for the Season 2 DVD box set.
ActorRoleSeasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mary-Louise Parker Nancy Botwin Main
Justin Kirk Andy Botwin Main
Hunter Parrish Silas Botwin Main
Alexander Gould Shane Botwin Main
Kevin Nealon Doug Wilson Main
Elizabeth Perkins Celia Hodes Main
Romany Malco Conrad Shepard Main Guest
Tonye Patano Heylia James Main Guest
Indigo Veneeta James Main
Renée Victor Lupita Main Guest Guest
Shoshannah Stern Megan Graves Main Guest
Martin Donovan Peter Scottson Guest Main
Allie Grant Isabelle Hodes Recurring Main
Andy Milder Dean Hodes Recurring Main Guest
Fatso-Fasano Marvin Guest Main Guest Guest
Page Kennedy Louis "U-turn" Wardell Guest Main
Matthew Modine Sullivan Groff Main
Enrique Castillo Cesar de la Cruz Main
Hemky MaderaIgnacio Morero, Jr. Main
Demián Bichir Esteban Reyes Main Guest
Guillermo Díaz Guillermo García Gómez Guest Main Guest Guest
Mateus Ward
Ethan and Gavin Kent
Stevie Ray Botwin Main
Kate del Castillo Pilar Zuazo Main
Jennifer Jason Leigh Jill Price-Grey Guest Main
Rachel Pace Shayla Grey Guest Main
Amanda Pace Taylor Grey Guest Main

The principal character is Nancy Price Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), a housewife from Southern California who becomes a marijuana dealer after her husband Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) dies. Although her drug-dealing career achieves mixed success, she eventually rises to the highest levels of an international drug-smuggling cartel. Nancy remarries three times during the series. First, she has an under-the-radar wedding with Peter Scottson (Martin Donovan), a DEA agent, who is later killed. In season five, she marries Esteban Reyes (Demián Bichir), the fictional mayor of Tijuana and leader of a cartel, who is murdered by the seventh season. While in prison, Nancy also establishes a long-term relationship with Zoya (Olga Sosnovska), a woman convicted of murdering her own boyfriend. In the series finale, which leaps forward seven years, viewers come to know that Nancy marries Rabbi David Bloom (David Julian Hirsh), who later dies in a car accident.

Throughout most of the show, Nancy shares her house with her brother-in-law Andy Botwin (Justin Kirk). When Andy arrives in Agrestic, he is little more than a fun-loving slacker (albeit a handsome and charming one), and Nancy views him as a burden. Nonetheless, he emerges as the primary father figure in the household; her children adore him and there is the suggestion that Nancy and her sons view Andy as their last link to Judah. Andy falls in love with Nancy during the fourth season but eventually realizes his feelings are unreciprocated. Nancy tries to balance their relationship to keep him "in the family." When he is not helping Nancy run her household, Andy engages in various educational and business ventures, from studying to be a rabbi in Hebrew school, to marijuana dealer, to entrepreneurial bicycle salesman. He also has a passion for cooking, becoming a professional chef by the sixth season.

Nancy begins the series with two sons, who after Judah's death are raised haphazardly. In the fifth season, she has a son, Stevie Ray Botwin (portrayed by uncredited babies and later by Ethan and Gavin Kent), with Esteban Reyes. Her first son, Silas (Hunter Parrish), who has been sexually active since the show's debut, later follows in his mother's footsteps: he becomes a marijuana dealer, grower, and dispensary operator.

Nancy's youngest son, Shane (Alexander Gould), is highly intelligent yet poorly socialized and vulgar; he is deeply affected by his father's death and yearns for more attention from his mother. In the first three seasons, Shane was also frequently bullied in school. After his peers harassed him in the bathroom for his sexual inexperience, his uncle pursues his request in taking him for a handjob at the local massage parlor. He is portrayed as having psychological issues. For instance, just before leaving Agrestic, Shane has conversations with his dead father. Upon moving to Ren Mar, he loses his virginity and becomes a temporary alcoholic. Shane also engages in violence: When he overhears his mother's conversation with Estaban's scornful boss and political consultant Pilar, who threatens his and Silas' life, Shane murders Pilar by abruptly striking her over the head with a croquet mallet before her body collapses into the pool. By the seventh season, he joins the police academy before receiving his criminal justice degree — working for the New York City Police Department in season eight.

Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins) is Nancy's "frenemy". Obsessed with her personal image, she manipulates those around her who do not fit neatly into that image. She is unhappily married to Dean (Andy Milder) whom she regards as a "loser asshole"; they subsequently divorce. Other characters also dislike her. Celia's older daughter, Quinn (Haley Hudson), kidnaps her as revenge for shipping her to a reform school in Mexico. She is also demanding over her younger daughter Isabelle's (Allie Grant) "weight problem," and disapproves of her being a lesbian. At the end of the first season, Celia is diagnosed with breast cancer and cured with chemotherapy. When interrogated by the police over Nancy's grow house in Celia's home burning down the city, Dean, Doug, and other characters falsely allege that Celia coordinated it, which leads to her arrest. Following her release from prison, she becomes addicted to cocaine, so Isabelle arranges a rehab home intervention. Celia later becomes envious of Nancy; therefore, she dresses up like her. After the fifth season, the actress left to pursue other projects.

Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon) begins the series as an accountant and city councilman for the town of Agrestic. Doug is friends with many characters in the series including Andy, Dean, and Sanjay Patel (Maulik Pancholy); all four aid Nancy's career as a marijuana dealer. Doug makes mistakes and loses his position; his wife Dana leaves him. He becomes a drifter who follows the Botwins during seasons four through eight. He and the Botwins move to New York City, where he becomes the chief accountant for a Ponzi scheme posing as a hedge fund.

The show has a changing cast of supporting characters. Heylia James (Tonye Patano) and her family — Conrad and Vaneeta, portrayed by Romany Malco and Indigo, respectively — play key roles during the first three seasons. They are wholesalers who supply marijuana to Nancy. Conrad later develops his own strain of marijuana, called MILF weed, which Nancy sells.

Season three features Sullivan Groff (Matthew Modine), an unethical, womanizing real estate developer with big plans for Agrestic. When Nancy moves to Ren Mar, the characters in Esteban's drug cartelprimarily Cesar (Enrique Castillo), Ignacio (Hemky Madera), and Guillermo (Guillermo Díaz), the latter first appearing in the third seasontake a leading role. Other key characters include Nancy's housekeeper Lupita (Renée Victor); rival drug dealers; countless law enforcement officials; the romantic interests of Andy, Silas, and Shane; and the residents of Agrestic and Ren Mar.

In the sixth season, Nancy is on the run, and the new characters only have minor roles and appear for only a few episodes. An exception to this is Warren Schiff (Richard Dreyfuss), who she first met when teaching her math in high school; he becomes infatuated with Nancy. When the Botwins and Doug settle in New York City, new supporting characters are introduced. The family later settles in Nancy's estranged sister Jill's (Jennifer Jason Leigh) house in Connecticut, becoming a regular guest character by the eighth season.

Other recurring characters include Albert Brooks as Nancy's father-in-law Lenny, Carrie Fisher as Celia's lawyer, Dave Thomas as a doctor, Martin Short as a lawyer for Nancy's custody battle, Alanis Morissette as a doctor at an abortion clinic, Zooey Deschanel as Andy's estranged girlfriend, Lee Majors as a border guard, Mary-Kate Olsen as a student who worships Jesus and sells pot, as well as Aidan Quinn, among others.

Episodes

As of September 16, 2012, 102 original episodes have been broadcast. The first season began August 8, 2005, and consisted of 10 episodes. The second season premiered on August 14, 2006, airing 12 episodes. The third season debuted on August 13, 2007, airing 15 episodes. The fourth season began June 16, 2008, the fifth season on June 8, 2009, and the sixth in August 2010, each with 13 episodes. The seventh season began airing on June 27, 2011, and, as of November 10, 2011, Weeds was renewed for an eighth and final season of 13 episodes that premiered Sunday, July 1, 2012. [23] [24]

In 2006, before Season 2 airing, the first few episodes were leaked online. [25] Before the third season began, the first two episodes appeared online on July 22, 2007 (nearly a month before the August 13 premiere date). The third episode appeared online on July 24, 2007, with the fourth appearing just three days later. The fourth episode was, however, an incomplete version—among other things, some dubbed lines were not complete (notably part of a voice mail message by U-Turn is spoken by a distinctly different actor), and a card simply reading "End Credits" was inserted instead of the actual credits. On August 1, 2010, the first episodes of season 6 leaked online. Due to the high quality of the leaked episodes, downloaders of the torrents speculated that they were leaked intentionally to garner interest in the show and to create internet buzz. [25] Episode leaks of other Showtime programs such as Californication and Dexter were seen as giving weight to this theory. [25]

Jenji Kohan has stated that she does not mind episodes being distributed on the internet in this way, saying, "Revenue aside, I don't expect to get rich on Weeds. I'm excited it's out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience." [26] The show is rated TV-MA for drug content, profanity, nudity, brief violence, and other adult content.

Media

Opening music

"Little Boxes" is the opening song for the first three seasons. The first season uses the version recorded by its composer Malvina Reynolds. [20] In seasons 2 and 3, the song is performed by various artists. In season 4, the Malvina Reynolds version opens the first episode. Thereafter, the original titles and music are replaced by a short clip, different for each episode, that relates to the plot or some scene in the episode. The song is also subtly referenced in the eighth episode of the fourth season when a sleepy Nancy tells Shane that he's going to "...become a doctor or a lawyer or a business executive." In the opening credits of the eighth episode of season seven, a woman is heard humming the tune to "Little Boxes" as she arranges knickknacks on a shelf. In Season 8, the show returns to "Little Boxes" for the opening sequence.

Season 8
  1. Malvina Reynolds
  2. Ben Folds
  3. Steve Martin & Kevin Nealon
  4. The Bronx
  5. The Mountain Goats
  6. Bomb the Music Industry!
  7. The Womenfolk
  8. The Thermals
  9. Dierks Bentley
  10. Hunter Parrish
  11. Aimee Mann
  12. Malvina Reynolds (Cut Chemist Remix)

Soundtracks

The music supervisors for the show include Gary Calamar (along with music coordinator Alyson Vidoli) (27 episodes), Amine Ramer (4 episodes), and Bruce Gilbert (3 episodes). The original score is provided by composers Brandon Jay and Gwendolyn Sanford.

Home media

DVD Name# of EpRelease dates
Region 1Region 2Region 4
Season One10July 11, 2006September 3, 2007July 18, 2007
Season Two12July 24, 2007January 7, 2008May 28, 2008
Season Three15June 3, 2008May 26, 2008July 8, 2009
Season Four13June 2, 2009May 30, 2011March 17, 2010
Season Five13January 19, 2010August 29, 2011November 24, 2010
Season Six13February 22, 2011April 9, 2012December 16, 2011
Season Seven13February 21, 2012TBAAugust 8, 2013
Season Eight13February 12, 2013TBAMarch 20, 2014

The Region 1 Season One DVD is only available in 4:3 pan and scan format. The Region 2 and 4 releases are all in anamorphic widescreen. Season one was released on Blu-ray on May 29, 2007, and Season two was released on July 24, 2007. Both seasons include all episodes in 1080p widescreen with Dolby Digital EX sound and either DTS-HD (season one) or LPCM (season two), as well as extras exclusive to the Blu-ray release. Season three was released on Blu-ray on June 3, 2008. Seasons one to three on Blu-ray are multi-region discs; however, season four has been region-locked to region A only. This is due to a lack of broad international pick-up by non-US broadcasters at the time of release. This implies that Showtime does not wish to prejudice any future transmission rights negotiations by having the season available to own before it could be broadcast in the countries concerned.

In late 2009, Weeds seasons four and five have been aired in at least one region B country, namely The Netherlands. [31] Subsequently, a region 2 DVD of Season 4 has indeed been released. [32] [33] However, the region 2 DVD release was not accompanied by a region B Blu-ray. Showtime has not commented on whether they ever anticipate releasing a region B Blu-ray version, or if any further non-US transmission rights are agreed. The same region locking has been applied to Blu-ray for season five. [34] In November 2011, Seasons 2–5 were released on Region B Blu-ray in Australia with Season 6 Region B Blu-ray released December 16, 2011. [35] Blu-ray season seven is now available. [36]

An extra feature on the Season Two DVD (a marijuana-based cooking show parody) was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification since it was regarded as "likely [...] to promote and encourage the use of illegal drugs". [37] [38]

Books

On August 7, 2007, Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon and Schuster, published In the Weeds: The Official Guide to the Showtime Series by Kera Bolonik, which features interviews with the series creator/showrunner, its other writer-producers, and the entire cast. It also features detailed character and plot descriptions, recipes, trivia and behind-the-scenes information. [39]

Reception

In its first year, Weeds was Showtime's highest rated series. The season 4 premiere attracted 1.3 million viewers to Showtime, the channel's then-highest-ever viewership; the season as a whole averaged 962,000 viewers.

As the season 3 began in fall 2007, Slate named Nancy Botwin as one of the best characters on television. [40] TIME magazine's James Poniewozik ranked Weeds #9 among the Top 10 Returning Series of 2007. [41] The New York Times opined the show is "transforming for Showtime." [42] Metacritic scored season 2 78 out of 100, season 4 67 out of 100, and season 5 73 out of 100.

Critical reception

Metacritic ratings per season
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8
Rating70 [43] 78 [44] 82 [45] 67 [46] 67 [47] 56 [48] 68 [49] 57 [50]

The first season received mostly positive reviews from critics. Metacritic rated it 70 out of 100, based on the opinions of 29 critics. [43] The second season achieved a Metacritic rating of 78 out of 100, based on 16 critics, [44] and the third season reached a series-high score of 82 out of 100, based on 12 critics. [45] The critical reviews dipped after season 3, reaching a low Metacritic rating of 55 out of 100 (based on 4 critics) for season 6. [48]

Awards and nominations

AwardTitleCreditYear
Satellite Awards Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Mary-Louise Parker 2005
Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by a TV Actress in a Musical or ComedyMary-Louise Parker2006
Writers Guild of America Episodic Comedy Jenji Kohan, Creator/Executive Producer2006
Young Artist Awards Best Supporting Young Actor – Television Series Alexander Gould 2006
Satellite Awards Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical Justin Kirk 2008
Emmy Awards Outstanding Cinematography for a Half-Hour Series Michael Trim, Director of Photography2010 [51]

Nominations

Emmy Awards

Golden Globes

Screen Actors Guild

Satellite Awards

See also

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The second season of Weeds premiered on August 14, 2006, and consisted of 12 episodes.

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On November 5, 2007, Showtime ordered 13 new episodes for a fourth season of Weeds. It started on Monday, June 16, 2008 and concluded on Monday, September 15, 2008.

<i>Weeds</i> (season 5) Season of television series

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The sixth season of Weeds premiered on August 16, 2010, on the television cable network Showtime, and consisted of 13 episodes.

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The seventh season of Weeds premiered on June 27, 2011, on the television cable network Showtime, and consisted of 13 episodes. As the season picks up, Nancy has spent three years in prison and now lives in a strictly monitored halfway house in New York City, where the family meet after they have spent three years in Denmark.

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