Created by Jenji Kohan
Theme song Little Boxes
77% Rotten Tomatoes
Final episode date 16 September 2012
Program creator Jenji Kohan
|Genre Black comedy
Written by Jenji Kohan (22 episodes) Roberto Benabib (14 episodes) Matthew Salsberg (12 episodes) Victoria Morrow (10 episodes) Rolin Jones (9 episodes) Stephen Falk (9 episodes) Brendan Kelly (8 episodes) David Holstein (8 episodes) Carly Mensch (6 episodes) and others
Directed by Craig Zisk (20 episodes) Scott Ellis (18 episodes) Michael Trim (11 episodes) and others
Starring Mary-Louise Parker Elizabeth Perkins Justin Kirk Tonye Patano Romany Malco Indigo Hunter Parrish Alexander Gould Andy Milder Allie Grant Kevin Nealon
Opening theme "Little Boxes" (episodes 1–38, 90–101 and briefly in 57)
Cast Mary‑Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Justin Kirk, Alexander Gould, Kevin Nealon
Weeds is an American dark comedy drama television series created by Jenji Kohan for Showtime. Its central character is Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), based on a real life person that goes by the name "Dr Dina", a widowed mother of two boys who begins selling marijuana to support her family, after her husband dies of a heart attack. Over the course of the series, she and her family increasingly become entangled in illegal activity.
- Series opening
- Cast and characters
- Opening music
- DVD and Blu ray releases
- Critical reception
- Awards and nominations
The first three seasons are set primarily in the fictional town of Agrestic, California. During seasons four and five, the Botwins reside in the fictional town of Ren Mar in San Diego. In the sixth season, the family relocates to Seattle, Washington and Dearborn, Michigan. In between seasons six and seven, Nancy serves a prison sentence in Connecticut while her sons and brother-in-law live in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the beginning of season seven, Nancy moves into a halfway house in New York City where she reunites with her family. They live in Manhattan for the duration of the season, but relocate to Connecticut in the season seven finale and throughout season eight.
The show debuted on the Showtime cable network on August 7, 2005, earning the channel's highest ratings. The series ended with the eighth and final season on September 16, 2012. In 2012, TV Guide Network bought the airing rights, providing an edited version of the show free of charge. The show has received numerous awards, including two Satellite Awards, one Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, a Young Artist Award, and two Emmy Awards.
The show is inspired by crime series such as The Shield and The Sopranos, in the sense of an antihero serving as the protagonist while retaining an individual moral code, which usually goes against the norms of society. The title, according to Kohan, refers "to a lot of things", including marijuana and widow's weeds; however, it mainly alludes to "hardy plants struggling to survive." The basic premise, as illustrated by the lyrics of the opening song from the first three seasons as well its eighth, satirizes off-color characters struggling with faux suburban reality, in which everything is "all style, no substance". According to Kohan, she first pitched the series to HBO, which dismissed it. Robert Greenblatt invested in the show and Showtime later commissioned it.
Weeds was produced by Tilted Productions in association with Lionsgate Television. Showrunner and head writer Jenji Kohan, whose credits include Tracey Takes On..., Mad About You, and Sex and the City, is the executive producer of the series, alongside Roberto Benabib, of Little City fame. When asked who "...runs the writer's room?", Kohan responded by explaining how she and Benabib "tag team".
The writer Matthew Salsberg and director Craig Zisk joined as executive producers in later seasons. Following Zisk's departure from the series after five seasons, Mark Burley, director Scott Ellis, and Lisa Vinnecour were added as executive producers. By season eight, writers Victoria Morrow and Stephen Falk also became executive producers.
Exterior scenes for the first two seasons were shot almost exclusively in Stevenson Ranch, a suburban area of Santa Clarita Valley, California. The large fountain and Agrestic sign in the opening credits of the first three seasons was shot at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Holmes Place. The name "Stevenson Ranch" was digitally replaced with "Agrestic" (and with "Majestic" and "Regrestic" in later episodes). The overhead satellite view in the beginning of the credits in the first three seasons is of Calabasas Hills, a gated community in Calabasas, California. The shot of the It's A Grind coffee shop in the introduction (seasons 1–3) is of an It's A Grind in Castaic, California. The show was originally filmed at Red Studios, previously known as Ren-Mar studios. The show moved to Universal Studios in Los Angeles for season 7, where it is noted on the studio tour. A version of this Wikipedia page served as the introduction for the season 5 episode titled "Where the Sidewalk Ends".
SynopsisFor the seasonal plots, see Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7, and Season 8.
Nancy Botwin is a single mother who lives in Agrestic—a fictional suburb of Los Angeles with her two children, Silas and Shane, aged 15 and 10, when the series begins. The pilot opens a few weeks after the untimely death of Nancy's husband Judah, who died of a heart attack while jogging with their younger son. Nancy starts to sell marijuana to maintain her upper middle-class lifestyle originally provided by her late husband's salary. The series follows Nancy's life as she gets drawn into the criminal system, develops a client base, starts a front to hide her selling, creates her own strain of weed called MILF, and relocates her family to stay out of jail and protect her children. Featured in the ensemble cast are her lazy, wisecracking brother-in-law Andy Botwin; silly acquaintance Doug Wilson; and her narcissistic neighbor Celia Hodes, a manic PTA mother.
Cast and characters
The principal character is Nancy Price Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), a housewife from southern California who becomes a pot dealer after her husband Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) dies. Although her drug-dealing career achieves mixed success, she eventually rises to the highest levels of an international drug-smuggling cartel. Nancy remarries three times during the series. First, she has an under-the-radar wedding with Peter Scottson (Martin Donovan), a DEA agent, who was later killed. In season five, she marries Esteban Reyes (Demián Bichir), the fictional mayor of Tijuana and leader of a cartel, who is murdered by the seventh season. While in prison, Nancy also establishes a long-term relationship with Zoya, a woman convicted of murdering her own boyfriend. In the series finale, which leaps forward seven years, viewers come to know that Nancy married Rabbi David Bloom, who later died in a car accident.
Throughout most of the show, Nancy shares her house with her brother-in-law Andy Botwin (Justin Kirk). When Andy arrives in Agrestic, he is little more than a fun-loving slacker without any direction, and Nancy views him as a burden. Nonetheless, he emerges as the primary father figure in the household. He falls in love with Nancy during the fourth season, but eventually realizes she will not return his feelings. Nancy tries to balance their relationship to keep him "in the family." When he is not helping the family, Andy engages in various business ventures, from marijuana dealer to entrepreneurial bicycle salesman.
Nancy begins the series with two sons, who after Judah's death are raised haphazardly. In the fifth season, she has a son, Stevie Ray Botwin (portrayed by uncredited babies and later by Ethan and Gavin Kent), with Esteban Reyes. Her first son, Silas (Hunter Parrish), who has been sexually active since the show's debut, later follows in his mother's footsteps: he becomes a marijuana dealer, grower, and dispensary operator.
Nancy's youngest son, Shane (Alexander Gould), is highly intelligent yet poorly socialized and vulgar; he is deeply affected by his father's death. In the first three seasons, he was the target for bullies in school. He begs for more attention from his mother than he receives. His psychological issues often reach critical level. Just before leaving Agrestic, Shane has conversations with his dead father. Upon moving to Ren Mar, Shane loses his virginity and becomes a temporary alcoholic. While his mother is having a hostile conversation with Estaban's scornful boss and political consultant Pilar, she threatened both he and his brother's lives. To protect his family, Shane abruptly kills Pilar with a croquet mallet. By the seventh season, Shane joins the police academy before receiving his criminal justice degree — working for the New York City Police Department in season eight.
Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins) is Nancy's "frenemy". Obsessed with her personal image, she manipulates those around her. She is unhappily married to Dean (Andy Milder), whom she regards as a "loser asshole"; they later divorce. Other characters dislike her. Celia's older daughter, Quinn (Haley Hudson), kidnaps her as revenge for shipping her to a reform school in Mexico. She is also demanding over her younger daughter Isabelle's (Allie Grant) "weight problem," and is critical over her sexual orientation. At the end of the first season, Celia is diagnosed with breast cancer and is cured with chemotherapy. After the fifth season, the actress left to pursue other projects.
Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon) begins the series as an accountant and city councilman for the town of Agrestic. Doug is friends with many characters in the series including Andy, Dean, and Sanjay Patel (Maulik Pancholy); all four aid Nancy's career as a marijuana dealer. Doug makes mistakes and loses his position; his wife Dana leaves him. He becomes a drifter who follows the Botwins during seasons four through eight. He and the Botwins move to New York City, where he becomes the chief accountant for a Ponzi scheme posing as a hedge fund.
The show has a changing cast of supporting characters. Heylia James (Tonye Patano) and her family — Conrad and Vaneeta, portrayed by Romany Malco and Indigo, respectively — play key roles during the first three seasons. They are wholesalers who supply marijuana to Nancy. Conrad later develops his own strain of marijuana, called MILF weed, which Nancy sells.
Season three features Sullivan Groff (Matthew Modine), an unethical, womanizing real estate developer with big plans for Agrestic. When Nancy moves to Ren Mar, the characters in Esteban's drug cartel—primarily Cesar (Enrique Castillo), Ignacio (Hemky Madera), and Guillermo (Guillermo Díaz), the latter first appearing in the third season—take a leading role. Other key characters include Nancy's housekeeper Lupita (Renée Victor); rival drug dealers; countless law enforcement officials; the romantic interests of Andy, Silas, and Shane; and the residents of Agrestic and Ren Mar.
In the sixth season, Nancy is on the run, and the new characters only have minor roles and appear for only a few episodes. An exception to this is Warren Schiff (Richard Dreyfuss), who she first met when teaching her math in high school; he becomes infatuated with Nancy. When the Botwins and Doug settle in New York City, new supporting characters are introduced. The family later settles in Nancy's estranged sister Jill's (Jennifer Jason Leigh) house in Connecticut, becoming a regular guest character by the eighth season.
Other recurring characters include Albert Brooks as Nancy's father-in-law Lenny, Carrie Fisher as Celia's lawyer, Dave Thomas as a doctor, Martin Short as a lawyer for Nancy's custody battle, Alanis Morissette as a doctor at an abortion clinic, Zooey Deschanel as Andy's estranged girlfriend, Lee Majors as a border guard, Mary-Kate Olsen as a student girl who worships Jesus and sells pot, as well as Aidan Quinn, among others.
As of September 16, 2012, 102 original episodes have been broadcast. The first season began August 8, 2005 and consisted of 10 episodes. The second season premiered on August 14, 2006, airing 12 episodes. The third season debuted on August 13, 2007, airing 15 episodes. The fourth season began June 16, 2008, the fifth season on June 8, 2009, and the sixth in August 2010, each with 13 episodes. The seventh season began airing on June 27, 2011, and, as of November 10, 2011, Weeds was renewed for an eighth and final season of 13 episodes that premiered Sunday, July 1, 2012.
In 2006, before Season 2 airing, the first few episodes were leaked online. Before the third season began, the first two episodes appeared online on July 22, 2007 (nearly a month before the August 13 premiere date). The third episode appeared online on July 24, 2007, with the fourth appearing just three days later. The fourth episode was, however, an incomplete version—among other things, some dubbed lines were not complete (notably part of a voice mail message by U-Turn is spoken by a distinctly different actor), and a card simply reading "End Credits" was inserted instead of the actual credits. On August 1, 2010, the first episodes of season 6 leaked online. Due to the high quality of the leaked episodes, downloaders of the torrents speculated that they were leaked intentionally to garner interest in the show and to create internet buzz. Episode leaks of other Showtime programs such as Californication and Dexter were seen as giving weight to this theory.
Jenji Kohan has stated that she does not mind episodes being distributed on the internet in this way, saying, "Revenue aside, I don't expect to get rich on Weeds. I'm excited it's out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience." The show is rated TV-MA for drug content, profanity, nudity, brief violence, and other adult content.
"Little Boxes" is the opening song for the first three seasons. The first season uses the version recorded by its composer Malvina Reynolds. In seasons 2 and 3, the song is performed by various artists. In season 4, the Malvina Reynolds version opens the first episode. Thereafter, the original titles and music are replaced by a short clip, different for each episode, that relates to the plot or some scene in the episode. The song is also subtly referenced in the eighth episode of the fourth season when a sleepy Nancy tells Shane that he's going to "...become a doctor or a lawyer or a business executive." In the opening credits of the eighth episode of season seven, a woman is heard humming the tune to "Little Boxes" as she arranges knickknacks on a shelf. In Season 8, the show returns to "Little Boxes" for the opening sequence.
- Malvina Reynolds
- Ben Folds
- Steve Martin & Kevin Nealon
- The Bronx
- The Mountain Goats
- Bomb the Music Industry!
- The Womenfolk
- The Thermals
- Dierks Bentley
- Hunter Parrish
- Aimee Mann
- Malvina Reynolds
The music supervisors for the show include Gary Calamar (along with music coordinator Alyson Vidoli) (27 episodes), Amine Ramer (4 episodes), and Bruce Gilbert (3 episodes). The original score is provided by composers Brandon Jay and Gwendolyn Sanford.
DVD and Blu-ray releases
The Region 1 Season One DVD is only available in 4:3 pan and scan format. The Region 2 and 4 releases are all in anamorphic widescreen. Season one was released on Blu-ray on May 29, 2007, and Season two was released on July 24, 2007. Both seasons include all episodes in 1080p widescreen with Dolby Digital EX sound and either DTS-HD (season one) or LPCM (season two), as well as extras exclusive to the Blu-ray release. Season three was released on Blu-ray on June 3, 2008. Seasons one to three on Blu-ray are multi-region discs; however, season four has been region-locked to region A only. This is due to a lack of broad international pick-up by non-US broadcasters at the time of release. This implies that Showtime does not wish to prejudice any future transmission rights negotiations by having the season available to own before it could be broadcast in the countries concerned.
In late 2009, Weeds seasons four and five have been aired in at least one region B country, namely The Netherlands. Subsequently, a region 2 DVD of Season 4 has indeed been released. However, the region 2 DVD release was not accompanied by a region B Blu-ray. Showtime has not commented on whether they ever anticipate releasing a region B Blu-ray version, or if any further non-US transmission rights are agreed. The same region locking has been applied to Blu-ray for season five. In November 2011, Seasons 2–5 were released on Region B Blu-ray in Australia with Season 6 Region B Blu-ray released December 16, 2011. Blu-ray season seven is now available.
An extra feature on the Season Two DVD (a marijuana-based cooking show parody) was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification since it was regarded as "likely [...] to promote and encourage the use of illegal drugs".
On August 7, 2007, Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon and Schuster, published In the Weeds: The Official Guide to the Showtime Series by Kera Bolonik, which features interviews with the show's creator, its writer-producers, and the entire cast. It also features detailed character and plot descriptions, recipes, trivia and behind-the-scenes information.
In its first year, Weeds was the highest rated series for Showtime. Its fourth-season premiere attracted 1.3 million viewers to Showtime, the channel's then-highest-ever viewership; the season as a whole averaged 962,000 viewers.
As the third season began in fall 2007, Slate included Nancy Botwin as one of the best characters on television. TIME magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 Returning Series of 2007, ranking it at #9. The New York Times opined the show is "transforming for Showtime." Metacritic scored season two, four and five a score of 78, 67 and 73 respectively.
The first season received mostly positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave it a rating of 70 out of 100 based on the opinions of 29 critics. The second season achieved a Metacritic rating of 78 out of 100 from 16 critics, and the third season reached a series-high score of 82 out of 100 from 12 critics. The critical reviews dipped after Season 3, reaching a low Metacritic rating of 55 out of 100 (from 4 critics) for Season 6.
Awards and nominations
Emmy Awards:Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Elizabeth Perkins (2006, 2007, 2009) Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Craig Zisk, for the episode "Good Shit Lollipop" (2006) Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series (2006, 2007) Outstanding Main Title Design (2006) Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode "Good Shit Lollipop" (2006) Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Mary-Louise Parker (2007, 2008, 2009) Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode "Mrs. Botwin's Neighborhood" (2007) Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode "Crush Girl Love Panic" (2007) Outstanding Comedy Series (2009)
Golden Globes:Best TV Series-Comedy (2006, 2007, 2009) Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series, or TV Movie Elizabeth Perkins (2006): Best Performance by a TV Supporting Actress Elizabeth Perkins (2006, 2007) Best Performance by a TV Actress in a Musical or Comedy Mary-Louise Parker (2005, 2007, 2008) Best Performance by a TV Supporting Actor Justin Kirk (2007)
Screen Actors Guild:Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Mary-Louise Parker (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) Ensemble In A Comedy Series (2007, 2009)
Satellite AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Series-Comedy Elizabeth Perkins (2005) Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series, or TV Movie Elizabeth Perkins (2006) Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Mary-Louise Parker (2006, 2008) Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie Justin Kirk (2007) Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical (2007, 2008)