I am surrounded by suburbia. I'm guessing that most of you out there are too. Although you may find yourself wrapped inside of a community where all the houses and apartments look darned near identical (good luck finding it at 2 a.m. after a drunken Christmas party) you do have friends who feel your pain. You are not just another brick in the wall, for you have the tools in your back pocket to become a unique and perfect snowflake. It's called purchasing power.
A little bit of dollar distribution to kickstart the self-esteem is a warm and lovely feeling, though...a perfect introductory gateway drug that helps our mighty middle-class continue to keep up with the Joneses next door. Of course there's the gated-community designer drugs that eventually follow (home loans, tearing out the perfectly functional kitchens and installing over-priced and under-used marble sinks). I was watching San Diego's local news channel at an inhuman hour this week and one warehouse commercial actually started and ended by screaming, "We have every home improvement you need to make your neighbors insanely jealous!" I laughed so hard I almost forgot that it was 4:50 in the morning.
So now you see what Nancy Botwin has to deal with on Showtime's Weeds. Starting it's third season tonight, Weeds has now become a cult phenomenon for some very good reasons. Everything in this suburban enclave is considered a gateway drug -- including power, sex, suburban competition, alcohol, prescription medications and....least of all...cannabis.
“The beauty of suburban life is that nobody really wants to know what's going on, allowing mischief to flourish"
~Melanie McFarland, on Weeds
Nancy (played amazingly and adorably by Mary-Louise Parker) suddenly finds herself widowed and unable to afford the cushy gated-community lifestyle that she's become accustomed to. Through some very funny circumstances she eventually becomes the suburban "baroness of bud", supplying cannabis to the soccer moms and golf dads in her little community. The fact that these upstanding citizens were already long-term smokers before she arrived on the scene is not simply a writer's flight of fantasy, especially if you've ever lived remotely near one of the more anxiety-prone communities.
If you're a faithful follower, sign up for Showtime's VIP service and watch the new episode immediately online. We watched the premiere a few days ago and couldn't stop laughing all the way through -- the writing is brilliant the acting just simply can't be beat.
Every politically correct notion that can be imagined is continually skewered, parodied and absurdly twisted. The bad guys can sometimes be good, and the total wackadoo flakes (like Uncle Andy) can sometimes pinch-hit a home run for the family -- especially when it comes to explaining masturbation to his young nephew, an assignment given after Nancy simply couldn't cope with the task.
Speaking of which, it's one of my favorite scenes. So I'll leave you with that encore golden oldie from Season Two -- please note that it's for mature audiences only. Showtime's new ad campaign is "The Best Shit on Television" so there should be few surprises as to the nature of the content. And yes...the grass is greener on the other side.