Weeds started out as something very different from the 13 half hour episodes you will find in the 5th season release. In the beginning Weeds was an offbeat look at a suburban housewife who turns to selling pot to make ends meet. It was a very whimsical change of pace from what was commonly being offered on the networks in that half hour situation comedy dominated world most of us have grown tired of. The characters were certainly outside of the general mold, and their eccentric nature made the show entertaining, if not for the masses, for a tight cult following.
But a lot has changed here, and this series has become a bad parody of itself. Nancy Botwin (Parker) is no longer that suburban housewife. Her husband is now dead, and she’s taken her pot selling operation to an international level. By the end of season four, Nancy was involved with big-time drug kingpins and was operating out of Mexico. The fifth season picks right up where those chaotic events left off. Nancy is about to be killed by Esteban (Bichir) when she drops the bomb that she is carrying his child. So for most of the season she lives day to day, under guard from Esteban’s thugs waiting for him to decide if and when she finds her way to a landfill. Meanwhile her sons have gotten into the family business as well. Shane (Gould) is selling pot to his high school English teacher. Silas (Parrish) has gone into the medical marijuana business with cousin Doug (Nealon). They, in turn, are paying extortion to the local chubby cop. At the same time Celia (Perkins) has been kidnapped by her daughter and her new boyfriend who is running a rebel camp out in the wilderness. They are hoping for a ransom, but the situation ends up taking a page out of O Henry’s Ransom Of Red Chief, and no one is willing to pay a dime to get her back. Andy (Kirk) comes into some money but blows it on video games and the General Lee car from The Dukes Of Hazzard. Still, he tries to take responsibility and is there for Nancy, even if she does tend to just use him. If all of this sounds like a bit of a jumble, it all leads to an off-again on-again romance with Esteban who is running for public office. And it’s not his murders, drug trafficking, or police corruption that is holding him back. It’s his relationship with a gringo woman. Go figure. I can’t.
Season 5 of Weeds is a study in a show that has seriously lost its way. Even Kevin Nealon is getting a bit tiring. I guess there are some who might enjoy watching this train wreck of a dysfunctional family, but the Botwins really don’t put the fun in dysfunctional anymore. It’s not a social statement or even a social observation any longer. It’s a show that might have sampled too much of its own product. It’s a cable series so you should be ready for the language and subject matter. It’s never really over the top, but not a show for the kiddies.
Each episode of Weeds is presented in its original HD broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It looks fine, for what it is. There is a nice array of colors on this show, and the transfer does do a better than average job of presenting them. There’s not a high level of detail, but is that what you’re looking for here? It looks pretty much on par with its broadcast, if you have access to good high definition reception.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track delivers the dialog. There’s a lot of source music, and it comes through without any real sense of dynamic range. There isn’t much in the surrounds. But you will hear everything just fine.
There are 13 episodes on 3 discs.
There are select commentaries with various cast and crew throughout the set.
Bloopers: (11:04) A bit long for a cut-up reel.
Really Back Stage With Kevin Nealon: (11:07) We’re talking extremely raw footage as Nealon carries his camcorder around on the set and gives you a tour, of sorts, of the people and places of Weeds.
Yes We Cannabis: (1:02) Nealon delivers a short speech on the Pot Platform.
University Of Andy: 12 very short segments that offer Andy’s words of wisdom on everything from surviving the apocalypse to internet dating. There is a play all feature.
Little Titles: (3:18) The full collection of the clever little props that produce the title screen from each episode.
Crazy Love – A Guide To The Dysfunctional Relationships On Weeds: (12:15) Can’t tell the players without a program? This is the program.
History Of Weed: (1:58) A timeline of the plant’s history in the US.
Mary-Louise Parker has a distinctive acting style that takes some getting used to. It’s a very lazy kind of “sit there and let it happen” kind of thing. I was kind of sick of it on The West Wing, and fortunately her run there was relatively short. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to warm to a character she plays. Even her voice is rather like nails on chalkboard for me. So with that in mind, it was never going to be easy to like this series. I tried, but I just can’t get past Parker. “She plays the victim, but she always has time to put on her mascara.”