by Meredith O'Brien
What started out as a dark comedy dramatizing a desperate, widowed soccer mom’s attempts to provide for her children and keep them in their cushy, California home by selling pot to fellow suburbanites, has, over the course of five seasons, devolved so far into the dangerous world of drugs and human trafficking that dealing a bag of weed at a 10-year-old’s soccer game now seems like innocent child’s play.
I’m very much a late-comer to Showtime’s critically acclaimed show Weeds, starring the Golden Globe winning Mary-Louise Parker as the drug-dealing Nancy Botwin who, in a recent episode, gave birth to a Mexican drug lord’s baby. (The father also happens to be Tijuana’s mayor, the same dude who previously raped Nancy, threatened to kill her after she talked to the feds and proposed marriage to her soon before she gave birth to his son). With all the buzz I’d seen about the smart, sassy and sexy suburban mom pot dealer having a baby, I decided I should have my own, personal Weeds-a-thon.
Here’s what I discerned after spending several days soaking up four-and-a-half seasons of Weeds: When the series began, Nancy’s husband Judah had recently dropped dead of a heart attack while out jogging with their 10-year-old son Shane. (They also had a 15-year-old son Silas.) Nancy had been an at-home mom living in a beautiful home -- cherry cabinets, granite countertops in the kitchen, a pool in the backyard – and busying herself by serving as the chairwoman of the PTA’s Healthy Children Committee, ironically, trying to rid the schools of the scourge that is soft drinks. Instead of doing what most folks would do after unexpectedly losing one’s spouse in mid-life, like finding a regular job to make ends meet or consider selling the house for something more affordable, Nancy turned to a life of crime for a reason that was never fully explained to my satisfaction.
Early on, Nancy would protest that she wasn’t really a drug peddler, saying things like, “I’m not a dealer, I’m a mother who happens to distribute illegal products through a sham- bakery.” (A bakery was a short-lived front for her drug operation during the time when she was making marijuana-infused baked goods. She also had another front job in season four when she ran a maternity-wear shop which had a tunnel that went to Mexico in the back through which drugs and people were illegally trafficked.)