Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jenji Kohan's Weeds

I have heard about Weeds for such a long time but because its half an hour per episode format, I just brushed it off as another sitcom/soapy TV series. We went on to see Breaking Bad and learned that Vince Gilligan sort of mentioned that if he had known about Weeds he would not have gone ahead with Breaking Bad (I'm glad he had not known about it, otherwise we would have missed one of the most brilliant TV series - on par with The Wire and Mad Men, with different flavour, of course).

Back to Weeds - we were sort of interested a bit in Weeds when Vince Gilligan referred to it but not enough to watch it. However, everything changed after we finished watching the 3 seasons of Jenji's Orange is the New Black. Jenji has a very wicked humour and is a brilliant writer. We love OTNB and thought anything created by the same creator could not go wrong so we sat and watched 8 seasons of Weeds, 2 episodes at a time over the past months.

Half an hour format is difficult to cram everything in for an Episode but Jenji carried it out swimmingly. A lot of people might have known what it's all about by the series' name. Yes, it's all about marijuana and Nancy, a widow in an affluent neighbourhood who had to sell it in order to support her family after her husband died unexpectedly at young age. Marijuana trades took her and her young family on a ride of roller coasters of life throughout  8 seasons. Her sons also engaged in criminal activities along the ride from childhood to manhood. We could not expect what would happen next. Jenji also introduced us to two hapless men, one Nancy's pot headed accountant and another her brother in law. One was so unlovable character through and through while another grew on you and you just couldn't help love him too in the end. Several famous guest stars appeared in the series as well, for example Snoop Dogg, Mary-Kate Olsen, Carrie Fisher and Alanis Morissette. I am not Miss Morissette's fan as a musician but I applauded her acting in Season 4 & 5.

Some call it a dark comedy but it's not that dark really, just a bit grey. It's quite hilarious and colourful at times. Season 6 was slow to start with but it picked up towards the end of the season. Breaking Bad is much darker and more violent. A lot of people compare Weeds to Breaking Bad - true, they both are all about so called 'drug' and middle class so called 'criminals' but at the same time they are different. Their screening overlapped at some point  (Weeds 2005-2012 and Breaking Bad 2008-2013) and the creators paid homage to each other. Weeds is much lighter but nonetheless fun - it will not disappoint. Just imagine Jenji Kohan's and Vince Gilligan's collaboration - will be very interesting.

Note: The picture above is from Amazon.com

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