Weeds: Season 4
Runtime: 6 hr 2 min
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Craig Zisk, David Steinberg, Paris Barclay, Julie Anne Robinson, Scott Ellis, Adam Bernstein, Michael Trim
Starring: Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon, Romany Malco, Justin Kirk
Left me hungry for more.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 7 years ago
Like almost every other season of Weeds, I watched Season 4 about a year after it originally aired on Showtime. This is mostly out of necessity because I’d don’t have any premium cable channels (I know, I could have downloaded the Torrents, but I’m lazy). Waiting for the DVDs has given me the opportunity to watch the show on my own terms, after all the hype has worn off. And I can honestly say this is one of my favorite shows of the decade (a fairly short list, given my time-consuming movie-watching habits, limited to Futurama, Undeclared, Malcolm in the Middle, Wonderfalls and The Sopranos).
The rap on Weeds is that each season gets progressively worse. I guess that’s basically true, but it’s also misleading. The first season set impossibly high standards in terms of comedy and satire. So what if Season 4 is a step down from Season 3? It’s still great.
Left homeless after their house (and much of the rest of Agrestic) has burned to the ground, the Botwin clan relocates to a relative’s house in Ren Mar. These opening episodes are a bit uneventful, exuding a transitional feel that could have been avoided with smarter writing. Albert Brooks is hilarious as Nancy’s gambling, untrustworthy stepfather, but the character seems to have flown in from another series. And it’s disorienting to see these characters outside of Agrestic; it takes a few episodes for us to gain our bearings.
The season hits its stride when Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) starts making drug runs to Tijuana for Guillermo (Guillermo Diaz). The plot addresses many aspects of U.S.-Mexico relations: the drug wars, illegal immigrants, etc. The funniest subplot involves Doug (Kevin Nealon) and Andy (Justin Kirk) smuggling immigrants across the border (“The way of El Andy is the way of peace”). On the U.S. side of the border, a lot of screen time is devoted to Silas’ (Hunter Parrish) affair with an older woman. And Shane (Alexander Gould) becomes infatuated with a picture of his mom taken when she was younger. These two story threads come to a head in a classic scene where Nancy explains that it’s not cool to jerk off to pictures of your mom, or to sleep with an older woman who’s basically a surrogate for your mom. The editing and performances in this scene are priceless.
Weeds may diminish in quality as it goes along, but Nancy becomes a more complex character with each passing episode. Name a movie actress who’s had as meaty a role as this one in the last several years. Can you think of one? Neither can I. I love the scene where Nancy explains to her new lover, the corrupt mayor of Tijuana, how she can deal with the storm, but not the silence. It illuminates why she’s deliberately turned her life into a circus. Parker seems to become more beautiful with each season – more dangerously sexy (and yes, more of a MILF).
I’ll admit that some aspects of the show make me feel queasy, especially the scenes in which the white characters interact with the criminal non-white characters. The series never addresses the socio-political issues that make these kinds of interactions inevitable. Still, it’s much more adventurous and fearless than most shows on television, and its accomplishments can’t be denied. Season 4 ends with a cliffhanger, and I was surprised to what degree it left me hungry for more of my delicious Weeds.