Weeds: The Most Overrated Show on Television

The Showtime hit series Weeds has garnered lots of attention, including right here by our very own JessB, more so than other Showtime series like Huff and Brotherhood. Perhaps it is the central conceit of having a suburban white women sell marijuana, giving twenty-something white kids the pleasure of both the familiar (moms) and the unfamiliar (moms dealing weed). "Weeds Nights," where, surprise, surprise, mostly white, twenty-somethings get together to watch a new episode when it airs are becoming increasingly common. I can understand if this is just an excuse to get together with friends to get high, but if that were the case, don't be so literal. Either go with something classic like dropping LSD and renting El Topo or think obliquely and snort coke while watching The Wire. While Weeds is not atrociously bad, it does not deserve the level of praise it is getting from the general public (i.e. my friends). Here are three reasons why it is overrated: 1. Critiquing suburbia is boring and unoriginal. Weeds takes place in an idyllic development called Agrestic which, SPOLIER ALERT!, hides something sinister! What would really be radical is to create a show that does not expose the hideous underbelly of suburbian existence. At this point, film and television have squeezed every iota of interest out of the suburbs. We get it, suburban people are two-faced. The last time this overused trope was successfully implemented was in the opening shot of Blue Velvet by David Lynch and that was over 20 years ago (and, no, I did not forget the equally overrated American Beauty). A poststructuralist critique of the Peloponnesian War has more relevance than this show. Weeds is the television equivalent of the phenomenon where someone yawns because they see someone else yawn. And just in case you are very, very slow, Weeds helpfully clues you in to its abundantly obvious premise in the opening credits, where it shows carbon copies of suburbanites doing typically surburban things, like shopping and running. Get it? Do you get it? In fact, Weeds assumes the viewer is a cretin who cannot figure out the underlying context without being pummeled over the head with a schtick. Get it? Do you get my little joke? It is a play on words. Homophones? Get it? Let me know if you don't. 2. Weeds trafficks in cliched stereotypes. The creator of Weeds, Jenji Kohan (disgression: the creator's name, whether given at birth or invented later, evokes a level of loathing unseen since BoingBoing egoist and man-woman, Xeni Jardin nee Jenny Gardener, hit the scene), is convinced she is exploring new territory with her show. While she may be delusional on that front, she sure has a knack for reproducing racial stereotypes. The black mother is a large, domineering woman who rules the roost with pithy snark, the black daughter is a young, unwed mother with a surly attitude, the black son is a drugdealer, the Hispanic woman is a maid, the Hispanic man is a drugdealer, the young Indian guy is a neutered, clueless naif, the young white son is a smart but awkward loser, the Jewish uncle is a conniving parasite, and the Jewish uncle's love interest is a pretty, but masculine, militaristic Israeli. I am looking forward to next season where they will introduce a mincing gay hairdresser and a studious Chinese student. I can't tell if this is a groundbreaking new comedy or a KKK pamphlet. Regardless of intent, this is at the very least lazy and offensive hack writing. The only character who can't be summed up in three words is the middle class, white woman protagonist. Hmmm, I wonder how Jenji grew up? 3. The opening theme music and the various songs that close each show are annoying and obvious. This is really two complaints and I'll address the second one first. Each episode "dramatically" closes with a song. There is nothing necessarily bad about that, Deadwood does the same thing to great effect, even when they employ tunes that are jarringly contemporary. But Weeds, in keeping with its holistically terrible approach to scripting, tends to choose the most obvious possible song to close out each episode. Are we supposed to feel bad for a meanspirited character? I know, let's use "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones. Get it? Seriously, do you get it? If you corraled ten people with a modicum of music knowledge and showed them the final scene in a Weeds episode, 8 out of 10 could guess what song will be played over the closing credits. My problem with the opening theme music has more to do with its repetitive use over time. The "Ticky Tacky" song is, when encountered for the first time, fairly amusing. It is quirky, catchy, and original, everything that Weeds wishes it was, but is not. But upon hearing it for the 1000th time, its idiosyncracies become grating and cloying. The second season attempts to mitigate this by using different covers of the song each episode. While a valiant effort, this ploy backfires because it highlights the many ways in which the theme song is obnoxious and obvious. Please play this GooTube clip loudly twenty times in a row to get a taste of what I mean: [youtube]eXLWa1UZISw[/youtube] While there are far worse television shows, Weeds seems to have a lot of cultural capital at the moment. In reality, its coffers are empty and it stays solvent only by employing an array of deceitful accounting tricks. And just like Enron, this piece of shit show will implode, leaving a lot of very unhappy viewers in its wake. When that day comes, the epitaph will read: "Here Lies Weeds, a Show that Always Asked the Question: 'Get It???'"

  1. Now I have a dilemma, on the one hand JJ says that the show is great and on the other Todd says it is pure drivel. Who should I believe?

    D Wallz
    October 12th, 2006 at 9:37 am
  2. Maybe you should let the government of India tell you what to believe!

    October 12th, 2006 at 6:38 pm
  3. Well Todd seems to look at things in a scholarly way which leads him to discover the true shitty nature of the world in a roundabout way. Me, I already realize that the world is shit and use television as an escape to numb my brain for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Neither of us is right or wrong – you just need to come to your own conclusion.

    You should come to that conclusion by pirating the shows rather than spending money to view them ergo satisfying your curiosity (and numbing your brain) while not giving money to the stereotypes perpetuated by the wretched money-grubbing monolith that is SHO.

    October 16th, 2006 at 11:18 am
  4. You make a good point Jess, except for the part that neither of us is right.

    October 16th, 2006 at 7:01 pm
  5. Why do you hate America?

    October 17th, 2006 at 8:54 pm
  6. I don’t hate America the Shining City on a Hill, I hate America the liberal cesspool of occultism.

    October 17th, 2006 at 9:19 pm
  7. Oooh, right. Rock on. I hadn’t realized there was a difference.

    You must tell me more about this Shiny America sometime, as I like shiny things.

    October 18th, 2006 at 1:33 pm
  8. on the one hand i think you are an idiot, Weeds is a great program assessing (in subtle ways) how marijuana haS been demonized by the media and how thAt has affected its existence, on the other hand i Just think you are an idiot.
    you just DONT ”get it”, as you say

    -a stoner

    November 13th, 2006 at 3:37 am
  9. thank you. i myself think that weeds is overly stereotypical and boring. i cringe every time the hood-wise black mother profoundly bestows her ghetto knowledge upon nancy, who is new to the trade. sure, i ‘get it’ weed isnt so bad after all see even this suburban mother is the kingpin of the corporate market and CPA’s and lawyers all get high. are people just now realizing this? is this show really so groundbreaking in addressing this issue that has been hidden for decades? i think not. nancy even has a sales pitch which i find particularly amusing when she convinces the guys at kevin nealons poker game to buy her wares instead of going the the uber-stoner in the city. my friends think it is great, but the stereotypes are so overused it drives me crazy. talk about a politically correct society, what a joke, this entire show is based on consciously overcoming these stereotypes by immersing a white suburban mother in drug dealing…what? it actually does the exact opposite. anyone who has been around the drug-culture knows that no dealer acts like this godfatheresque wannabe that nancy becomes in the last episode of season one. please stop this show, its making my life miserable. the only hope for this series is if they downplay all this bullshit and make it into a comedy. jenji kohan you should have stuck to being a back up writer for fresh prince and sex and the city. although with your beginnings in fresh prince i can see where your groundbreaking new age style came from…who would have thought, a rich black family with a nerdy son and a kind hearted, ghetto cousin. well at least it was original back in 1990. -sf

    December 26th, 2006 at 6:53 pm
  10. The people who hate on this show are stupid and just don’t understand it. It is a good show and you need to respect that, get a life and stop talking shit on a TV Show. Im doing a College English report on this TV series because it does reflect somewhat the Californian suburban lifestyle. You may not understand it but this show has many true aspects that are used in ways to keep the show entertaining, and I dont see how you can say this is a bad show, stop watching it then, you dont need to create a website making negative statements about it.

    Unless you have no life and probably live in your moms basement, maybe your the one who needs to light a bowl.

    October 26th, 2007 at 9:53 pm
  11. And yes it is a joke, a comedy series actually, so I dont see why you would be saying its a joke.. I also know one of the actors Kevin Nealon, who actually never smokes and has just become a father.

    October 26th, 2007 at 9:56 pm
  12. This show is terrible. I’m a college student and even I’m thinking about the effects this show could have on our young viewers.

    Bad Show
    January 31st, 2008 at 2:45 pm
  13. This show is really good. Great plot going and everything. I’m also young and to say you can’t imagine what effects it will have on young people is just stupid. Loosen up some. smoke a joint. chill out! :)

    February 18th, 2008 at 7:43 pm
  14. gooood show!!!

    February 18th, 2008 at 7:44 pm
  15. I always love it when white people (probably some earnest white guy with horn-rimmed glasses) gets really offended at the portrayal of black women as smart mouthed bitches. Maybe some of us are smart-mouthed bitches. We don’t always have to be portrayed as some serious Oprah-like character or some tortured African dying for Western diamond or fossil fuel interests.

    The show is not supposed to be “The Wire”. It is a silly 1/2 hour bit of fluff made to possibly make you laugh. And yeah the musical references are not really obscure like the film festivals with the obscure indie band soundtracks. Those are like really deep for like, deep thinking hipsters who are really deep and think about deep shit, man. You know?

    You so need to get over yourself. I haven’t heard of a SINGLE African American, Asian, or Jew bitching about this show. Oh, wait, they don’t have to because the “White Critic Who Knows Better Than The Darkies” has done it for us.

    Hey, thanks!! I feel so much better now.

    July 6th, 2008 at 12:16 pm
  16. Out of curiosity, for hating the show so much, why do you watch it? Don’t tell me your friends make you watch it, because there’s no one forcing you to sit in front of that television or computer screen. It’s not like your friendship will be over.

    I also have to note, for hating this show, you watch it a hell of a lot if the theme song gets boring after, and I quote, “hearing it for the 1000th time.” I realize this was an exaggeration, but still, I don’t know that I’ve heard the theme song to some of my favorite television shows that many times, much less shows that I despise and think are overrated.

    Also, smoke pot some time and chill out, it’ll do you some good.

    July 9th, 2008 at 10:21 pm
  17. What’s wrong with stereotypes? I love that aspect of Weeds actually. It’s much worse when shows pretentiously attempt to break stereotypes, like Lisa pointed out. Weeds just portrays (and exaggerates) people as they are.

    August 5th, 2008 at 1:16 pm
  18. The point of the show and the stereo types is to show how almost every aspect of life is so fake and predisposed. You say what you say you do what you do you dress the way you dress because of some certian criteria or group you have chosen to follow. You complain about how “abundantly obvious premise in the opening credits” is and other aspects of the show but yet show many peoples lives are exactly “all the same”
    Question you should ask your self is, is that the way you want this world to be.

    October 1st, 2008 at 10:32 pm
  19. 1. you have seen all the episodes, so they arent that bad, when something is bad, I leave it, no matter is a book, a movie, a tv show, a story, a life, etc.
    2. i just watched heroes all season, and Im in the middle of weeds 2nd season. I dont see tc that much, like movies, stories, books, and photos.
    3. weeds do all the critique to the estereotypes you mention, try to watch it that waym its hilarious.
    4. you can compare to david linch or other, we dont you see it empty minded, and david lynch is good, i like some movies of him, no matter i dont understand all hes plays.
    5. have a nice day and go by my work and see it.

    February 16th, 2009 at 12:44 am
  20. First of all, how can you critique a piece of work and right off the bat throw a personal attack against the creator? There was definately more than 1 person writing this show. I agree that as a weekly get together, this show is quite lame and not worth waiting for. On the other hand, I have seen every episode of weeds. When you watch an entire season every night, and you have the full story in your head, it’s honestly the best show i’ve ever watched. The 4th season (which i Just finished last night) is the only television show i’ve ever watched that made me cry multiple times, while at other points laughing uncontrollably. The stereotypes do surface regularly, but it doesnt make the show racist. Every character in this show has a dynamic personality… and almost every person has a deeper side that can be seen. The “militaristic Iraeli” uncle you speak of turns out to be El Andy, the guy who smuggles mexicans and gives them sun chips and baseball caps. Far from conniving if you ask me. I don’t know… I guess I can’t argue with you, because it’s pointless… But I loved weeds all the way through and I can’t wait until the entire 5th season is available on isohunt :) too bad the 5th season is the last one, it should give me one decent night of entertainment.

    February 21st, 2009 at 12:54 pm
  21. Awsome show. With all the crap going on in society today, who has time to critique a show with such a fine comb? If you like it great if you don’t then don’t watch it. Yeah my statement isn’t a real “in depth” view, but cmon people, IT’S A SHOW. Personally, I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time, humor is a personal thing. Each man for himself.

    Pro Weed
    April 2nd, 2009 at 1:12 am
  22. You know, for supposedly being laid-back, I’ve noticed that pot-heads are the most easily-offended people in the world.

    Interesting catch-22 I’d like to point out.

    Argument 1 – “I’ve only seen a little of a show, but I think it sucks.”

    Response – “Well, you can’t make that judgement so early! Oh, ZING! *puff*”

    Argument 2 – “I’ve seen all of a show, but I think it sucks.”

    Response – “Well, why did you watch it then? Oh, ZING! *puff*”

    Seriously, Weeds sucks. Some of the characters are interesting, but the ones you spend most of your time around – the Botwin family – are completely unlikeable. Nancy gets through every situation through pure luck and circumstance – and her occasional slutty barbie act. Shane is a bad writer’s bad stereotype of how the awkward kid is supposed to act (having been that kid growing up, I can smell the bullshit here). Andy is, flat-out, a horrible human being. And even moreso for Silas – seriously, if I were Deaf Megan’s dad, I would’ve broken his neck.

    I’ve only gotten through the second season at this point, but if I continue on to the third, it will only be in the hope that Nancy drives her Prius into a tree with the entire clan on-board.

    April 5th, 2009 at 9:45 pm
  23. Having just rented the first season, I was amazed at how quickly this show jumped the shark.

    Episode 1: Somewhat shocking in its profanity and farcical cyncism. I’m intrigued.

    Episode 2: Sentimental tripe about how much we all miss good old dad. Protagonist starts blubbering at the end because her family is falling apart. Snore.

    Episode 3: Bitch mom slips laxative into fat daughter’s candy stash, and fat daughter retaliates by slipping anti-diarrhea meds into bitch mom’s bottle. Black pot-selling, ghetto-dwelling (please note chainlink fence) matriarch: “you gave her my cornbread recipe!?” Maybe I’ll go floss my teeth while this disc keep running. Wait, there are still 7 episodes to go on this one disc!?

    Disc removed from player, slipped back into Netflix envelope and mailed back next day. Life is much too short to waste on this drivel.

    Mr. Man
    June 3rd, 2009 at 6:12 pm
  24. I recently started watching this show, and I think it really lost its way when it moved into the real world of drugs and crime. I am black and the shows stereotypes are offensive to me. I realize every Hollywood role for blacks cant be a hero or a doctor, in fact I love a good black villan, but whats wrong with having them just be people. Agrestic doesn’t have black families? Just normal run of the mill people the same as you see everyday. I know its sad but we still need these theyre just like us moments. Celia Hodes says “in Agrestic the people are white and the help is brown”, frankly that’s bullshit. So I’m sorry Lisa, but when every black person in your world is a drug dealer or gangster, you’re damn right I have a problem with that!

    August 15th, 2009 at 6:39 pm
  25. I met one of the women responsible for this shit show at a conference in LA once. She is an idiot, and when I learned she was a driving force behind the show’s creation I thought “OF COURSE”. We lost Odyssey 5 for this garbage?

    Zac Sheppard
    September 28th, 2009 at 9:17 pm
  26. Weeds is without a doubt some of the saddest drivel I’ve seen in a while.
    What is instantly obvious is that the writers of this show have not one clue about cannabis or at the very most they maybe smoked a joint once while they were growing up.
    If someone told me my father(who gets all his drug information from government propaganda)did the writing for this show I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.
    And the stereotypes are worse then the old westerns. Just goes to show you how far we haven’t come.
    The thing that also makes it sad is that straight people watch this and think it is gospel, like the Sopranos.
    This could have been a ground breaking show, but instead it should just be buried.

    MIke Canada
    February 7th, 2010 at 12:04 am
  27. i lost complete interest in this show when she started haveing sex as payment for pot. it actually really pissed me off and offended me. seriously… nobody has sex with strangers for pot, and anyone who does, doesent deserve a tv series about it… :s

    August 9th, 2010 at 12:04 pm
  28. Hey Todd how about you go make your own fucking show then?

    March 29th, 2011 at 11:24 pm
  29. weeds sucks so much that i couldn’t sleep after watching season one am so mad pple made this CRAP.its not funny at all.actress is dumb,naive,annoying,clueless……showtime executives should b fired for this crap.cant even bother to write a proper critic on this stupid show.very boring show.

    showtime wake up
    June 15th, 2011 at 2:43 am
  30. I am totally with you!
    I hate that show!

    Hate is not even the word the word… I don’t care about that show AT ALL – and yet I am constantly told how effin’ great it is by every caucazoid pot-smoker that I make the mistake of discussing film/music/television with. Just because I like to burn, doesn’t mean I need a hammy, self-righteously cheeky and ultimately stupid show to make me feel better about myself.

    Which is really what weeds is all about: Fake Voyeurism aimed at making stoners feel like they sort-of belong in society because (after all) behind closed doors, everyone’s doin’ it.

    YES, I GET IT! The “Weeds” are like a metaphor for our closeted skeletons… So the fuck what?! The shit is barely even taboo anymore so why is this supposed to be so ‘juicy’? OMG! Two completely cliche characters just had sex with each other in an SUV… Who cares?! Hey look, a mind-numbingly boring, 7-minute long conversation with Kevin Nealon who we’ll never see again. Uh Oh! He’s smokin weed in his station wagon. I do that every day so why do I care?

    And will everyone please stop telling me how “hot” they think this lady is? She’s a fake-plasticy 7 at best and anyway, who cares about another (ostensibly) hot chick on TV?!

    You have to have had a really sheltered and boring life to find this show the least bit entertaining. None of this behavior is shocking enough to warrant any of the attention that it gets or – for that matter – an entire hour of my time. I get more entertainment out of watching Steven Soderberg’s ‘Kafka’ all the way through than I do from even 10 minutes of ‘Weeds’. And that’s a movie that puts almost everyone else I watch it with to sleep. Maybe if any of the characters on ‘Weeds’ had any depth or personality beyond their own greed and self-interest. Maybe if I had grown up in the suburbs or at least known some suburbanites. Maybe if this ostensible hot chick was paying her mortgage with porn instead of pot. Maybe if Kevin Nealon had ever made more appearances. Maybe if something realistic happened once in a while. Maybe if ANYTHING happened EVER besides lame people having lame conversations about nothing at all and/or occasionally boning one another. OMG! An inter-racial sex scene!

    The only thing this show has going for it is the thin gimmick of ‘straight’ people smoking herb. Which we already knew was happening everywhere anyway. The only good thing I can say about the show is that it makes smoking weed seem pretty tame. Which of course, it is.

    One more side note… According to OhhBurn – a blog about stuff stoners like ( http://ohhburn.com/2009/09/15/5-hbos-weeds/ ) – I am not alone.

    Accurate observations include:

    “It’s so boring it’ll kill at least 7-billion brain cells by watching just one episode, man.”


    “…it ain’t even for stoners. Weeds if for people who LOVE money more than they LOVE weed. Because that’s exactly what the show is about…a bunch of assholes who LOVE MONEY MORE THAN WEED! ”

    SO, So true.

    And it’s not just stoners, a Google search for “weeds sucks” pulls up about 2,360,000 results. I’m sure a lot of these are “pulling weeds sucks” and “not having any weed sucks”… But still. I know there are lots of other Weeds haters out there. I can’t wait for that shit to get canceled.

    June 24th, 2011 at 1:18 pm
  31. … I should add that I even never made it past the first episode.

    And kudos on the David Lynch and Jodorowsky references… I feel bad for all those ‘Weeds’ fans out there who have never even heard of these guys. It never ceases to amaze me when I make a Kubrick reference or say something about Metal Hurlant and people look at me like I’m from another planet. For a nation of media-addicted couch potatoes, you’d think we would have a higher degree of cultural literacy. But I guess if it doesn’t come on Showtime or HBO, no one even bothers.

    June 24th, 2011 at 1:32 pm
  32. I really appreciate this critique…its exactly what I was thinking. I keep friggin watching it thought in case it suddenly gets better – it doesn’t. Now Huff was definitely an under-appreciated program.

    July 31st, 2011 at 10:39 pm
  33. This show sucks like a hoover! Worse, it sucks like the front of a jet engine at full throttle!!!
    As if the weed culture wasn’t enough of a blight on society already, they have to go and make a hideous, distasteful and disgusting TV show about it?
    It shows how low the common denominator of intelligence has gotten in this country. When people are so damn fried that they actually find this crap entertaining, I worry about the future of the human race.
    I will no longer allow this garbage to be seen on my TV, and will boycott any product that has the low taste to sponsor it!!!
    I made the mistake of letting a “friend” (I thought) put a DVD of this crap in my player, and couldn’t believe he thought it was good programming. Of course, the fact that he is himself a fry-brain probably has something to do with that. Henceforth, neither he or his filthy DVD will be allowed in this house, EVER again! Drugs suck, and so does “weeds”!!!

    joe tavenner
    September 3rd, 2011 at 11:46 pm
  34. STOPPED WATCHING, once Nancy fucked the hispanic druglord, it duscusted me fuck this show

    October 26th, 2011 at 5:26 pm
  35. Definitely overrated. I found very little to fresh, interesting, or funny about the show; basically, it’s snooze material.

    December 9th, 2011 at 7:02 pm
  36. I’ve watched about 30 episodes. The show has a lot of technical writing and editing issues, and yes, the music choices are awful. Most importantly, the show appears to be a clumsy attempt by someone to impress people and attack imagined enemies. I assumed this person to be the showrunner, Kohan, went looking for footage or transcripts of her saying foolish things and ended up here. This obviously wasn’t what I was looking for, but good job observing the low quality seven years ago without the benefit of hindsight.

    July 15th, 2012 at 2:48 am
  37. Weeds is the reconstructed exoskeleton of several formerly successful shows, reconstructed in a way that causes them to fit poorly and filled with very little of the necessary organs for health.

    Douche Baggington
    July 24th, 2012 at 9:28 pm
  38. You think too much – smoke some weed.

    September 14th, 2012 at 4:23 pm
  39. I’ve almost finished the show now and have concluded that Jenji Kohan thinks very highly of herself. I looked her up and it appears she was given the show because of her family connections — she certainly didn’t earn it and has not justified it since. The writing is freshman, desperate, preachy and flat at every turn. I am stuck watching because of general obsessive behavior and a hope that Gould will finally have another good scene after the poolside murder.

    December 11th, 2012 at 1:04 am
  40. I have been watching this show on Netflix for a few days and i’m still on the fence. I have deleted and added back twice. I love the comedic trash part about it but hate all the characters. Some of the most horrible people you ever don’t want to meet. Especially Nancy who never takes responsibility and is too lazy to get a job and be a mom. And your so right about the stereotypes.

    February 23rd, 2014 at 8:50 pm
  41. great review; couldn’t agree more with you more. this show is one gi-normous cliché and just utter drivel. the only reason I even tried to watch it for 3 seasons was kevin nealon’s character.

    Jason Mattson
    April 8th, 2014 at 9:31 am

Post a Comment

(or leave a trackback to your blog)