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tv talk: smokin': weeds
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3 
continued from page 1

When so many of her customers happen to be her fellow neighbors (her most frequent buyer is local councilman Doug Wilson, played by Kevin Nealon, who also serves as Nancy's accountant), it isn't always easy keeping work separate from her personal life. Nancy struggles to balance the ups-and-downs of learning to run one's own illicit business with continuing to be a good, "normal" mom to her kids -- 15-year-old Silas [Hunter Parrish], who's proving unsettlingly good at getting the girls, and pre-teen Shane [Alexander Gould], who's constantly getting picked on by the kids at school because he is (no getting around it) totally weird. As if all that's not enough to juggle, her friend Celia Hodes [Elizabeth Perkins] absolutely loathes her own life and keeps popping over to Nancy's to rant about everything that's driving her batty about her husband, her kids (who, sadly, bear the brunt of Celia's general disappointment), and her miserable, pathetic state of existence. Celia has a pretty prickly personality, and Nancy's the one person who's remotely willing to deal with her. With the kids, her customers, and Celia all requiring her attention, Nancy barely has time to think about her own needs -- which might be just as well, as she's still feeling more than a little numb in the wake of losing her husband, and the happy life they shared.

The thing that makes Weeds such an absorbing, enjoyable watch is that it makes clever fun of the lives its characters have chosen to lead -- the pretense and the obsession with superficial material things… the pot, actually, is neither advocated nor condemned -- without demeaning the main characters themselves. You can hate the way that Celia calls her overweight young daughter Isabelle by the cruel nickname "Isabelly"; you can roll your eyes at the fact that Nancy wouldn't dream of letting go of her housekeeper despite the fact that she can't manage to keep up with Lupita's paychecks. (Nancy protests that Lupita's like family; Lupita, not surprisingly, doesn't feel the same way and is more than a little irked about the late payment. The scene is a nice example of the way in which Weeds mocks the sort of white suburban liberal naiveté that allows folks like Nancy to actually believe that just because her housekeeper has spent every day for the past decade picking up after the family in this big fancy house, the housekeeper feels like this place is home rather than just the place she works.) Nancy and the rest of her neighbors really do represent everything that gives suburbia such a bad name. Still, after you've spent a few episodes with these folks, there's no getting around it: you really like them, even when you don't support how they're behaving.

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