A GUEST BLOGGER REVIEWS 'WEEDS'

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Steve Bloom, Editor-at-Large, High Times Magazine, reviews the season premiere of Weeds.

Growing ‘Weeds’
Buoyed by the success of Weeds’ first season, Showtime is upping the ante for its pot-friendly comedy series. Monday’s second-season opener at 10 p.m. ET coincides with a promotional campaign that includes brownies distributed in New York and Los Angeles from “munchie mobiles” and, better yet, a cannabis-scented ad in Rolling Stone. Predictably, this has elicited a rebuke from the White House’s Office of National Drug Policy. “Maybe some baby boomers still find this kind of thing edgy, but young people don't,” sniffed the Office’s director of public affairs, Tom Riley.

So let the games begin. The premiere episode (“Corn Snake”) broadly reminds viewers about each of the main characters’ main characteristics. Call it an overture. Pot dealer/brownie baker Nancy (Mary Louise-Parker), who in the first scene finds out her boyfriend’s a DEA agent, is challenged by everyone in her dysfunctional household. In response, she forces them all to sit down for a fast-food chicken dinner.

Her cancer-stricken, acerbic best friend Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), wearing a platinum-blonde Marilyn Monroe-style wig, has a car accident, then decides to run for City Council against stoner incumbent Doug. Played by SNL alumnus Kevin Nealon, Doug is none to happy about this development. “I run unopposed!” he bristles. Celia’s chubby daughter remains the object of her discontent.

Meanwhile, Nancy’s live-in brother Andy (Justin Kirk) has decided to become a rabbi, but in true horndog fashion seems only interested in undressing the sexy female director of admissions at the rabbinical school.

We’re briefly reacquainted with Nancy’s African-American weed connection, Heylia (Tonye Patano). Heylia's nephew, Conrad (Romany Malco), chastises Nancy’s choice of boyfriends, declaring: “You just stepped in shit and you ain’t gonna track it through my house.” Conrad’s not only her prospective cannabis cultivator, but also a possible love interest.

The DEA development naturally spooks Nancy, whose large doe eyes dart from side to side without ever settling or focusing. From her boyfriend to her family to a little fire that concludes the episode, Nancy has some serious problems to tackle. Nothing seems to be going right for her in the suburban outpost of Agrestic.

Rather than push significant new storylines, the Weeds premiere is more of a refresher course– a reintroduction to the show’s numerous characters and subplots. Upcoming episodes will need to be less scattershot and more substantial. Like the current season of Entourage, it might take a few weeks for Weeds to hit its stride. But despite a slow start, expect the stoner series to heat up like a freshly baked brownie.

Steve Bloom coaches the legendary High Times softball team. The author of books on everything from video games to basketball, Bloom also runs the blog http://bloomideas.blogspot.com/.

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