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What to Netflix: "Weeds" Season One

What to Netflix: "Weeds" Season One

It is so great to see Showtime's "Weeds" nominated for a couple of SAG awards (Mary-Louise Parker for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series and the stellar cast for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series). I recently Netflixed the first season of "Weeds" and I am totally loving it. The writing is superb — including the dialogue, which is where so many shows fall short.

Even more spectacular is the casting, as I can't even imagine better actors playing any of these characters. Mary-Louise Parker is sarcastic yet sympathetic as Nancy Botwin, a suddenly widowed mother of two who starts selling marijuana to the wealthy soccer moms and dads in her suburban community of Agrestic, Calif. She gets to know her dealers, a family governed by the steely, sassy mama Heylia James, played with strength while somehow avoiding cliche by Tonye Patano. Heylia's nephew is the kindhearted (not to mention sexy) Conrad (Romany Malco), who becomes Nancy's ally in "the business."

Elizabeth Perkins is also fantastic as Celia Hodes, the catty, self-medicating housewife, who does things like berate her husband's mistress then buy her rounds of drinks because she's "a good listener." Kevin Nealon provides generous comedic relief as Doug Wilson, one of Nancy's best clients as well as her accountant.

Initially I was afraid this would be some kind of campy, silly comedy with no substance, but it's not at all, so

"Weeds" is remarkable in its ability to combine smart humor with poignant moments of loss, anxiety, and bitterness. Also, the use of music in the show is extremely impressive. I thought one person had written all of the music, because each song is so pitch-perfect for the scene with which it's paired. But according to the "Weeds" website, the music is not just performed but also written by a variety of artists, including Regina Spektor, Snoop Dogg, and The New Pornographers. All in all, the portrayal of this "perfect" town in which many of the most successful-seeming inhabitants lead double lives is refreshing and relatable.

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