Tag Archives: Kevin Nealon

Showtime’s Summer Dramedy Hour is back: Weeds and Episodes premiere, part 1

10 Jul

Weeds Season 8 Promo Poster

I always like to wait a bit before I judge. I’ve spent time mulling over both of Showtime’s summer Dramedies:  Weeds and Episodes.  While Episodes can be thought of as an understated comedy that satirically examines the television industry, from concept of a series to its premiere, Weeds can be seen as a black comedy that looks at everything in the most pessimistic possible light.  It isn’t completely clear why Showtime decided to give Weeds one final season to wrap everything up since the end of Season 7 was satisfying in a Botwinesque way:  Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) gets shot and will she survive?  Sometimes it is better to leave an open ending.  American audiences hate open endings though.  They want closure.  In reality, closure is rarely something anyone gets to experience and that is most likely why the American television audience craves knowing a clear outcome. This is usually to the detriment of the storytelling process.  I hope it won’t be true for the final season of Weeds.

Shane (Alexander Gould) dealing with the neighbors after Nancy’s shooting.

In the Season 8 premiere of Weeds, “Messy,” we pick up right where we left off at the end of last season:  with Nancy having just been shot.  In the head.  Ironically this happened in her seemingly safe suburban mansion, in Old Sandwich, CT.  The title, “Messy,” comes from one of my favorite scenes of the episode, when two exceedingly old neighbors climb on ladders to snoop over the fence and see what happened at the Baldwin compound.  If Jenji Kohan got one thing right in this episode, it was the obnoxious behavior of the elderly wealthy residents of Connecticut.  I’m sure there are some very nice elderly people in Connecticut but my personal experience was almost the same while I lived in the uh, nutmeg state – I would sometimes find my landlords standing at the window staring inside trying to eavesdrop. I was brought back to that creepy experience as I watched the busybody neighbors from Old Sandwich comment on the “messy” lives of the Baldwins.  Connecticut hates messy.  Ironic that it is safer to walk around East Harlem than parts of New Haven and Bridgeport, but who am I to judge?  A disgruntled Californian, I guess.

I had pretty much given up on Weeds by the end of last season.  In fact, the only reason I watched it was because I was living in East Harlem at the time, and I could relate to Nancy’s plight of the halfway house, as I was job hunting and staying at a former friends’ condo (yes former, a story which I am sure I can relate to another cable show’s episode considering my life is surely as messy as any fictional characters’), when Weeds aired last year.  And as that bullet rang out at the end of last season, I thought it was a fitting and somewhat sophisticated way to end the series.  I will admit I was highly skeptical when I discovered there was going to be a final season of the series.

But I digress.  We quickly join Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Nancy in the ambulance witnessing Nancy make sexual references to the paramedic in front of her son while shot in the head, bleeding and possibly near death.  And that is the last we hear from her in the episode since she is put into a medically induced coma.  This episode is about Nancy’s family and friend’s reactions to her – tragedy.  Shane (Alexander Gould) at once becomes a predator and a cop, trying to chase down the gunman and then investigate the crime since he is secretly enrolled in the NYPD police academy.  I won’t reveal the shooter’s identity specifically, only to say, it is a former step-child of Nancy’s.  Someone I didn’t even remember existed and a bit disappointing for the triggerman.

Doug (Kevin Nealon) is inappropriate as always, hiding under the table after Nancy is shot (I secretly don’t blame him) and then later feeling her up while she is in a medically induced coma.  Very bad form, even for Doug.

Nancy’s sister, Jill (Jennifer Jason Leigh), inappropriately has sex with Andy (Justin Kirk) in the hospital room next to the bed where Nancy slumbers in her coma. Andy later has a conversation with a Rabbi in the hospital cafeteria.  Very Andy-esque.  Finally, Jill’s evil twin demon daughters post a picture of Nancy online after she has been shot.

Nancy’s (Mary-Louise Parker) shooter returns to her hospital room.

Nancy’s shooter comes back to the hospital to either finish the job he started or muse on his feelings about attempted murder.  Either way, he is interrupted by Nancy’s roommate’s daughter who has been walking in on inappropriate activities throughout the episode.  Nancy must sense danger as she seems to go into cardiac distress as the episode ends.

Will Nancy die? I doubt it.  Only nice people die young.  Evil people live to ripe old ages.  As my father said about one of my mother’s aunts, she was so mean, even the cancer couldn’t stand being in her.  I kind of see Nancy in the same light, though I still enjoy watching her mess up everyone’s life.

And if you think things are screwed up for the Botwins, they are not that much better for Beverly and Sean in Episodes which I will be happy to discuss in my next installment…

Weeds Season 7 Finale: Is it curtains for Nancy and the gang?

7 Oct

If you’re a Weeds fan, you have been through the highs (the first 2 seasons are my favorites) and the lows (the last season was so painful I could barely watch until the last 4 episodes – things picked up once they got to Michigan). I approached Season 7 with trepidation.  But I was pleasantly surprised, for the most part.  Yes, a few episodes veered off and I never felt they exploited that weird bike thing to its fullest potential but overall, Nancy Botwin felt like the old Nancy from the early Weeds.

SPOILER ALERT:

In the last episode of the season and possibly the series, things start to get wrapped up.  Silas tentatively reconciles with Nancy after he realizes she does actually love him and she was not only looking out for the business but him as well.  Jill and Nancy have an embarrassing fight on the subway that was more uncomfortable than the people who come on and either play bad music and ask for money or just ask for money.  Shane agrees to join the police force and enters training (he doesn’t tell Nancy).  Dimitry goes to prison for an offense unrelated to drugs and Nancy and Jill are able to recover the stolen weed.  Finally, everyone ends up on a Connecticut compound (that is a bad idea considering if you have ever lived in Connecticut you will die of boredom) and Nancy makes a toast to the new living experiment and promptly someone takes a shot at her.  Is it the end for Nancy?  Or does she have one last season left in her?  Honestly, at this point, I’m not sure I care any longer.  If Nancy gets killed, I’m fairly certain Silas, Doug and Andy can run the pot business with Jill stepping in to be an even crazier bitch than Nancy.  I’m also sure that Shane will take protection money and be the most corrupt cop the NYPD has ever had.  As far as I’m concerned, that is the ending I’m giving it.  If Jenji Kohan can do better, more power to her.  I for one, as people used to say in California, think this bowl is dusted (at least I think that is how one spells bowl in these circumstances – I was never actually a stoner so I’m not sure).

WEEDS is back and surprisingly good. Yes. Good.

28 Jul

Nancy Botwin is back

Ok.  It’s not as great as the first couple of seasons, and it’s not as bad as the last couple of seasons.  But, I would argue, Weeds Season 7 is actually good.  Or maybe enjoyable.  Good and enjoyable.  I’ve hesitated to write about it because I’ve been waiting to be let down and disappointed.  I haven’t been. Spoiler Alert from this point:   I was a bit worried with this week’s episode when Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) returns to California to try and get custody of her youngest son, Stevie, the spawn of a now dead Mexican drug lord.  And this week’s episode, “Fingers Only Meat Banquet,” was probably the weakest so far, mostly because I don’t really care about Nancy as a mother, I only care about her as a drug dealer.  Yes, I know.  That’s part of the reason she became a drug dealer was to take care of her family, but knowing Nancy’s character, I’d be willing to bet that even if she didn’t have a family to support, she would have become a drug dealer anyway.

I’ve always felt Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould) tended to be secondary characters in terms of Nancy’s motivations and the show became much weaker when she tried to keep the family as a unit.  Nancy is a narcissist.  When she starts to act too maternal or caring, it doesn’t work.  I wish Jenji Kohan and her staff would keep their eyes on the prize.  Because it’s when Nancy acts out of character for plot’s sake that their show falls apart. What I liked about the start of this season is that Nancy is selfish.  Yes, she’s always selfish but she’s really out for herself and she feels like the old Nancy.  She might not be in Agrestic, but plopping her down in Washington Heights (in Queens) at a halfway house is certainly more compelling to Ren Mar and the Winnebago from the last couple of seasons.

We see the aftermath of Nancy going to prison for three years.  Silas, Shane and Andy (Justin Kirk) – even Doug (Kevin Nealon) have managed to survive without her.  Nancy is still Nancy.  Complete with checking into her halfway house, making contact with an obvious outlaw, and retrieving a suitcase full of stolen explosives from a car trunk by the end of the first episode.  No, Nancy does not become a terrorist this season as far as I know.  She wants to go back to dealing.  And if you haven’t watched yet, start watching because at the end of the ‘fingers’ episode, some of the old cast will be reunited with Nancy and Silas (who is now her partner in drug-dealing crime).  It feels like the old Weeds might be back.  I just hope it stays that way.

Watch my Vlog Review on YouTube.

Weeds Season 7 Promo:

Weeds Episode Recap: “A Shoe for a Shoe”

30 Dec

Is Nancy Botwin up shit creek? I was hoping so. Because I’m desperate to see the old Nancy, of the Weeds that I used to love, shine. That really didn’t happen. I could spend a lot of time writing this recap, or simply give you an abbreviated recounting of the events. I’m choosing the latter as I believe there was a lot of extra crap in this episode which was attempting to pretend to be entertainment, but was really just some sort of time filler.

Nancy meets Cesar for an “exchange” but shoots him in the leg with a bow. It turns out that Shawn and Doug are being ‘held’ hostage at the same diner/restaurant where Andy, Silas and Stevie are having their food. Inevitably the two groups come together. Nancy shows up. Shawn threatens to shoot Ignacio and the entire Botwin/Newman clan makes their escape from Seattle. Honestly, all the bits and pieces really weren’t worth recounting and Weeds is off its game once again.

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