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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weeds: "Super Happy Lucky"

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Weeds has apparently just decided to completely turn itself over to Justin Kirk and hope for the best. I’m not entirely sure this is such a bad plan either. On his own, Andy Botwin isn’t the world’s greatest character (he’s your stereotypical ne’er-do-well), but Kirk’s portrayal of him is pretty excellent much of the time. I think it’s because Kirk, like every other actor on this show, seems to have his own unique comic rhythms and delivery. Whether he’s talking about how he once got a tattoo of a crab (and crabs!) at the Iowa State Fair or getting tazed, Kirk just goes all out, and the show is usually rewarded for it.

It didn’t stop there, either. Andy, a bit jealous of Nancy’s relationship with Esteban, tried to work out to turn himself into the muscular bodyguard Nancy might need (“You look like Jamie Lee Curtis in Perfect,” said new bodyguard Ignacio of Andy’s workout wear). He impersonated his dead brother to try to get more money. He had so many amusing lines that I pretty much stopped bothering to write them down. “Super Lucky Happy” was probably the weakest episode of the season so far, relying as it did on way too many blatant plot stalls, but Kirk almost made the whole thing worthwhile. Almost. (OK, when he yelled, “That bitch!” about his grandmother, I thought it may have been worth everything else in the show.)

One of the things about Weeds that drives me nuts is that certain plotlines will race forward far more quickly than you’d expect them to, while other plotlines will drag along at whatever the opposite of terminal velocity is. Normally, this sort of unpredictable pacing would be enjoyable, I guess, but on Weeds, the storylines I’m least interested in are invariably the storylines that the show chooses to emphasize and vice versa. For example, last week, the big cliffhanger was that the family had to go on the run, their lives in danger from whomever hurt Sucio. But this week, they caught him (he was Roy, that DEA agent who’s bounced around the show for most of its run and was in love with his partner), and Nancy handcuffed both him and Ignacio up in the bedroom. Watching the two kick fight was vaguely amusing, but I might have appreciated more danger in this plot. Weeds is too often a show that tiptoes up to the edge of dangerous situations and then steps back before things get too serious. Like, last week, it seemed like Nancy and her family might spend the season on the run, but that seemed mostly forgotten this week except for some spare dialogue. If you’re going to raise these points, you may as well follow through, Weeds.

Both of Nancy’s sons continued their criminal pursuits, Shane getting ripped off after giving his English teacher a bunch of weed (his English teacher being yet another person who seems unusually vindictive toward the Botwins). Shane’s complete and utter social maladjustment is one of those things the show keeps going back to, but it never quite gets old, even if I’m not sure what dragging him into the drug trade accomplishes for the show. On the other hand, Silas and Doug’s medical marijuana joint looks like it’s going to be one of those plotlines Weeds shows us in excruciating detail, as this week they made yet another tiny step forward in their plan, finally leasing the space they needed from an elderly Asian woman who was loath to rent to them.

That said and to return to Andy for a moment, his decision to go to the bank and try to empty out one of Judah’s accounts to get some money to help the family led to a plot that could be interesting (provided Weeds doesn’t lose interest in it, which seems likely), as the woman who was going to help him was a former flame of Judah’s, who’d been waiting for years to tell him off, only to learn that he was deceased (and I must confess I don’t know enough about bank accounts to understand exactly why this one wasn’t closed when he died and/or why his grandmother would continue to put money into it). The idea of Andy impersonating his dead brother so that he can get some cash but doing so for a woman who knows he’s not actually Judah and just wants him to assuage some of her craziness is a potentially promising one, and I’m hopeful the show will come back to it. That scene where the two were discussing Judah and their relationships with him was a delicately written one, which isn’t something you can say every day on Weeds.

Then there’s Celia, who I guess is going to move in with Nancy or something, even though the episode spent most of its time saying it wouldn’t happen (how else will they keep her in the cast?). Here’s where I should probably insert some boilerplate about how Celia’s an interesting character, but the show doesn’t really have a natural role for her anymore, though I always enjoy seeing Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins share screen time, so I’ll grudgingly go along with the idea that Celia has literally nowhere else to turn (and why is Allie Grant still in the main credits when we’ve seen Isabelle only once this season, to my recollection?).

The big intrigue here, if you could call it that, continued to focus on what’s going to happen with Nancy and Esteban’s baby and whether or not Nancy’s life will be safe once the baby is born. Weeds as a show really only works when Nancy’s cornered, and the writers seem to realize this, so I’m skeptical that the final shot of Esteban tossing a Magic Eight Ball into the ocean as a way to show that destiny is not necessarily rigid or something had any higher purpose beyond it being a cool image. If the entire season is going to center on whether or not Nancy and Esteban, those two crazy kids, can make this all work, I’m not sure it’s going to work. We all know he’s going to run out of patience and she’s going to worm her way out of the situation, and the sooner we get there, the better.

Grade: C+

Stray observations:

  • I feel kinda curmudgeonly giving that grade, since I laughed a lot, but the story development here was so anemic, I’m not sure I could have gone much higher.
  • Why must every show with a pregnant woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant feature them trying to put together some piece of baby furniture and miserably failing, only to end with the man who’s always been there for them successfully assembling it? I realize that Weeds is more cynical about the Andy/Nancy pairing than Andy apparently is, but that whole thing was a yawn of a visual metaphor.
  • OK, Weeds, I’ll give you this. Ignacio watching The Adventures of Milo and Otis was my kind of pop culture reference. Just goofily obscure enough to amuse with its randomness and just accurate enough to tickle the five of us who’ve seen that movie.
  • “So you're the mayor of Mexico or something?”
  • “I call him Mr. Zappy.”
  • “That's a perfectly normal reaction to the adrenaline of combat.”