Here’s to you, Weeds. You’ve never been my favourite show, but I’ve watched every episode (and enjoyed the vast majority). It’s a rare show that was able to make it through eight seasons and still feel fresh and interesting right till the very end.
The word I keep coming back to is: unflinching.
As a show, Weeds was unflinching. It never pulled its punches. Its writers never sat on their hands and chose stagnation over forward momentum. Its characters went to jail, they became murderers, they got married a LOT (okay, that was just Nancy). They went on journeys; they became different people. And the outcomes of their adventures weren’t always easy.
Yet the writers didn’t say, “no! Nancy has to stay a suburban pot dealer, because that’s what the show is about!” Instead, they followed their imagination. Sure, it took the show to some bizarre places, but the results were more often good than bad.
I can’t think of another show that’s been prepared to burn itself to the ground (literally and figuratively) in order to find out more about its characters. And, honestly? More shows could take a leaf out Weeds’ book. Let’s break out of our little boxes and find the unexpected story.
In a way, I think Weeds represents the best of what cable TV can be. Never hugely rated, its network stuck with it nonetheless. I can’t believe it was ever an easy show to package and sell. Way too difficult to categorize. Way too much darkness in a show that was supposed to be a comedy. But it was better for being dark, for zigging where we expected it to zag. It was better for not being pummelled into something ‘understandable’.