Weeds: Season Two review, Weeds: Season 2 DVD review

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Buy your copy from Amazon.com Weeds: Season Two (2006) starstarstarstarno star Starring: Mary-Louis Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Tonye Patano, Romany Malco, Kevin Nealon, Justin Kirk, Martin Donovan, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould
Director: Various
Category: Comedy/Drama
Buy from Amazon.com

It seems like only yesterday that those looking for groundbreaking television had one place to turn, but with Showtime making massive strides in their lineup each year, it won’t be long before people start asking, “Am I paying for the right premium channel?” Granted, HBO still has a few tricks up its sleeve with the success of “Entourage,” new shows like “John From Cincinnati” and “Flight of the Conchords,” and the promise of more “Deadwood” in the near future, but if you’re waiting for the next big thing, well, you might be looking in the wrong place. You probably wouldn’t expect to find it in a half-hour series about drug dealing in the suburbs, either, but thanks to a much darker second season, “Weeds” quickly proves why it’s one of the many reasons you might want to reconsider subscribing to Showtime.

Season two picks up right where the first one left off: suburban mom-turned-drug dealer Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) has just discovered that her new boyfriend Peter (Martin Donovan) is a DEA agent. After failed attempts at making a clean break of it, she does what any other desperate woman would do: she marries him. It’s more of a convenient business agreement than anything else – Peter gets to have Nancy, and Nancy gets to continue dealing drugs without interference. But as the pressures of running a successful drug ring begin to grind on her personal life, the threat of prison becomes all too real for Nancy and her ragtag team of marijuana connoisseurs.

After deciding to partner with Conrad (Romany Malco) in growing her own hydroponics, Nancy runs into all sorts of problems – including death threats from rival growers and jealous ex-suppliers (Tonye Patano) who question her loyalty – but that doesn’t make the new strain any less popular. Nicknamed MILFweed for its obvious relation to the grower, the new brand becomes the hottest thing in town and launches Nancy into the next level. Of course, that only makes her role as a mother even more complicated. Eldest son Silas (Hunter Parrish) is rebelling more than ever after the loss of his girlfriend, while Shane (Alexander Gould) simply needs a man in the house to help him through adolescence. It’s a good thing, then, that Nancy’s brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk), who enrolls in rabbinical school to avoid being drafted, has filled those shoes to the best of his ability. Meanwhile, the city of Agrestic is going through a few changes itself. After Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins) defeats incumbent Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon) for his seat in city council, she begins to transform the town into a drug free zone.

While it’s true that the second season of “Weeds” is more dramatic than the first, it’s not completely void of the dark humor that made its freshman year a success. The sharp-witted writing is still there, from Zooey Deschanel’s guest spot as Andy’s psycho ex-girlfriend, to the episode where Andy takes his 12-year-old nephew to an Asian massage parlor for his very first handjob. And while I’m on the subject, how could anyone forget about the single greatest masturbation monologue ever written? I know, I know, there’s not many, but it’s the highlight of the entire season, and henceforth, completely worth reprinting here for your pleasure:

"Alright, listen closely. I'm not going to beat around the bush. Your little body's changing - it's all good, believe me. Problem now is every time we jerk the gherkin, we get a lot of unwanted sticky white stuff everywhere, right? Right. So, first order of business: no more socks. They're expensive, gumming up the works plumbing-wise. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "But, Uncle Andy, what do I do with all that pearl jam if I can't spew it into Mr. Sock?" Glad you asked. You can have a lovely time tugging the tiger in the shower each morning. That eliminates the need for a goo glove. But the day is long, masturbation's fun, so unless we want to take four or five showers every day, we're gonna need some other options. So let's start with the basics. Tissues. Perfectly acceptable backstop for all that Creamy Italian. They can be rough and dry on such soft, sensitive skin and it can stick to your dick head like a fuckin' band-aid. Ouch. From there we move on to more lubricated flack-catchers - specifically, bananas. Step one: Peel the banana. Step two: Slip the peel over your Randy Johnson and start pitching. Now, for extra credit, warm up the peel in the microwave. Not too hot! Serious yowza. Also, olive oil, moisturizer, honey, spit, butter, hair conditioner, and Vaseline can all be used for lube. In my opinion, the best lube... is lube. So save your allowance and invest in some soon. Alright, moving on. When you tug your Thomas on the toilet, shoot right into the bowl. In bed: soft t-shirt, perhaps a downy hand towel of your very own that you don't mind tossing after tossing. There's no such thing as polishing the raised scepter of love too much. It reduces stress, it enhances immune function. Also, practice makes perfect. So work on your control now, while you're a solo artist and you'll be playing some long, happy duets in the future. Ok. Class dismissed."

Any show that has the balls to execute such a monologue gets my approval, but there’s much more to “Weeds” than just marijuana and dirty sex talk. You’ve got to respect a program that references both “Harry Potter” andSnakes on a Plane” in the same episode, let alone in a manner that allows one character to compare her mother to Voldemort, and another to include the infamous Samuel L. Jackson line in his grade-school graduation speech. It’s not the first time a show has taken the pop culture route, but it is the first time a show has done so without expecting everyone to take notice. It’s probably because “Weeds” isn’t a very marketable show, or because many people simply haven’t heard of it, but that’s exactly what makes it so fun to watch. Much like the ever-changing performance on the show’s theme song, “Little Boxes,” you might not know what to expect, but you can be sure it’ll win you over in the end.

Special Features: Despite concerns that the first season DVD fell victim to too many pointless featurettes on the titular herb, the season two release features just as many, including one on building your own grow room (“Conrad’s Grow Room”), another on Craig X’s five favorite strains (“Cream of the Crop”), as well as short montages on slang terms for marijuana (“Slangin’ 101”) and various paraphernalia (“Tools of the Trade”). Of course, the two-disc set isn’t without a healthy collection of audio commentaries, either, with three appearing on each disc and featuring creator Jenji Kohan, series consultant Craig X and co-star Romany Malco, among others. The six commentary-less episodes are supplemented by trivia tracks, and the rest of the set is rounded out with a two-minute gag reel, the Huskeroos promo commercial (in English and Spanish), an extended performance of “Jammin’ Nation,” and a series of montages featuring four different performances of “Little Boxes.”

~Jason Zingale