Murphy’s Law – What are we doing, Weeds?

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

Sigh.

We need to talk, Weeds.

This just isn’t working anymore.

I know that’s hard for you to hear. It’s hard for me to say it, frankly. But, deep down, I think we both know it’s true.

When you came back into my life three weeks ago, it was quite lovely. I had definitely missed you. And these summer months can be so quiet and lonely. It felt good to have you back on my TV screen. Sure, we had some rocky moments last season, but overall things were good. I thought we really ended things on a strong note. I was excited to rekindle this flame and see where it would take us.

At first, I was happy just to see Mary-Louise Parker’s gorgeous face on my screen again. Oh how I had missed you, Nancy Botwin. And you came out of the gate strong – cute glasses in that opening parole hearing scene, a whole Cinemax After Dark feel to the prison cellmate scene and an air of mystery about what would happen next as Nancy was set free.

But three weeks in and I feel like we are headed nowhere. One-fourth of the season is already over and there isn’t a single character arc I care about. Silas is a sulky male model? Shane is some kind of creepy puppeteer man-child? Doug is working on Wall Street (and dressing like Willy Wonka for some inexplicable reason)? Andy is … well, doing absolutely nothing, actually. Why should I care about any of that?

And Nancy, sweet Nancy. You know I love you, but come on. The whole “batting your eyelashes and flashing a coy smile to get out of trouble” thing served you well in the first six seasons, but now it just seems forced and annoying. I have no sympathy left for you. At this point, I honestly think Stevie is better off with your sister. And I find myself rolling my eyes at the fact that no one in your halfway house is holding you accountable for anything. You continue to break rules left and right and yet you just keeps getting second and third and fourth and fifth chances. Maybe if you were paroled in LA and had Lindsay Lohan’s judges I’d buy it, but I’d like to think the New York City penal system is a bit tougher than that. (Tee hee – I said penal.)

The stories all seem forced and bland and I can’t shake the feeling that the actors are all just phoning it in at this point. Even the casting director seems to have given up. I enjoyed his work as Nick Sobotka as much as the next guy, but Pablo Schreiber isn’t enough of a “get” to overlook the fact that he’s not even trying to do an accent. (The whole lazily written line about him watching more TV than Zoya just isn’t cutting it for me, though I guess I should be thankful the writers even bothered to throw that in there.) And Martin Short, really? It’s bad enough that I had to spend a significant chunk of last season watching Richard Dreyfuss chew scenery, but you really expect me to get excited for a cameo by Martin “I defy you to name one funny thing I’ve ever done in my entire career and I was in Three Amigos, for cripes sake” Short?

What are we really doing here? What happened to the funny, quirky show I fell in love with? The one about the single mom who sold weed in her upscale planned community. The one that used to start every episode with that charming “Little Boxes” song. The one with fun, funny stories that had just the right hint of danger and excitement to them.

I realize that we all have to grow up sometime and I appreciate that you have evolved over time. Unlike most Showtime shows that just remain painfully static and end up getting dull and repetitive, you took a chance and went off in a totally new direction and I respect that.

For a while, it worked, too. I liked seeing Nancy set fire to everything around her and then walking away unscathed as she watched it all burn (first literally in the season three finale, then figuratively in subsequent seasons). It felt right that others would have to suffer consequences for her actions and that her family would begin to get tired of being caught in the cross hairs. It was a darker turn, but also a rather intriguing one. It gave you a new life, Weeds.

But now I don’t even know what the writers are going for anymore. It all seems so utterly rudderless. A few gratuitous Mary-Louise Parker nude scenes might inject a last spark or two into this tired old relationship, but I fear that the magic is gone.

I will always treasure those first moments we spent together in those little boxes on the hillside; the little boxes made of ticky tacky. But I’m afraid it’s time for us to go our separate ways. If you don’t mind though, I’d really like to take Mary-Louise Parker with me.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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