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other new + recent LAZE features:
o Not just for kids!: Saturday morning cartoons
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: Garden State
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: The Corporation
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copyright 1999-2005

tv talk: 
mokin': weeds
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3 

Like many a product of a suburban upbringing, I get hives at the mere thought that someday, somehow, I'll manage to get sucked back. Yes, yes, I know: not all suburbs are evil. But for this girl, at least, eighteen years in the 'burbs (as well as six years in Tucson, essentially a suburb without even a nearby urb to make up for its strip malls) was more than enough. This perhaps explains why I have such a weakness for television, books and movies in which suburban angst is a central theme. It's a little reminder to myself for whenever I start to whine about crazy city prices and tiny urban living spaces: no matter how tempting the idea of spare bedrooms and huge yards and multi-car garages, I will resist the siren call of suburbia.

So when I first started watching Desperate Housewives last fall, I was immediately sucked in: here was a show that promised a funny skewering of life in the monotonous suburbs, the kind of suburbs I basically grew up in and couldn't wait to escape. But by season's end, the clever, biting satire had given way to melodramatic soap opera, and frankly, I was left disappointed that the show had failed to live up to its initial promise. Then this summer, in the midst of the regular TV season hiatus, the boy and I started searching for something new to fill our viewing needs, and found a little Showtime series called Weeds. Set in a fabulously god-awful Southern California suburb with the wonderfully hideous name of Agrestic, Weeds turns out to offer exactly the sort of smart, edgy suburban satire I'd been looking for and failed to find in Desperate Housewives.

Agrestic is one of those bland sprawling suburbs that boasts gargantuan McMansions and perfectly manicured lawns and attractive moms driving their kids to soccer practice in shiny SUVs. Everyone looks the same and acts the same and drinks the same chain-cafe coffee (quite literally, in the show's amusing opening credits at least). It's the sort of town that's supposed to be nice, which is maybe the most depressing thing about it: you know that folks have paid a lot of moolah for the privilege of living such superficial, empty lives in such uniform, characterless surrounds.

Agrestic resident Nancy Botwin [Mary-Louise Parker] used to be just another one of those folks, a hot, young stay-at-home mother of two with a handsome, adoring husband and a great big house, complete with the obligatory Hispanic housekeeper. But when her husband dies, Nancy finds her comfortable life thrown for a major loop. Determined to keep the house and the expensive car and yes, even the maid, Nancy decides that the best way for her to provide for her family in the way in which they're all accustomed is to embark on a rather unlikely career: Nancy becomes a pot dealer. Thanks to regular trips to her supplier in the bad part of town -- said supplier is a big, brassy, older African-American woman named Heliya [Tonye Patano], who runs the business out of her kitchen with the help of her grown kids -- Nancy ensures that the fine upstanding folks of Agrestic (the grown-ups, anyway; Nancy doesn't sell to kids) have a steady source of weed in their very own backyard, as she conducts transactions on the sidelines of after-school soccer matches and at neighborhood poker games. 

keep on moseying kids!

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