weeds series where does the show take place
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Weeds (TV series)
Weeds is an American dark comedy-drama television series created by Jenji Kohan that aired on Showtime from August 8, 2005, to September 16, 2012. Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), a widowed mother of two boys—Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould)—begins selling marijuana to support her family.
Other main characters include Nancy’s lax brother-in-law Andy Botwin (Justin Kirk), who moves in to help raise her children; naive acquaintance Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon); narcissistic neighbor Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins), who lives with her husband Dean (Andy Milder) and their daughter Isabelle (Allie Grant); as well as Nancy’s wholesalers Heylia James (Tonye Patano) and Conrad Shepard (Romany Malco). Over the course of the series, the Botwin family become increasingly entangled in illegal activity.
The first three seasons are set primarily in the fictional town of Agrestic, located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. During seasons 4 and 5, the Botwins reside in the also fictional San Diego suburb of Ren Mar. In season 6, the family relocates to Seattle, Washington and Dearborn, Michigan. In season 7, the family resides in New York City, living in Manhattan for the duration of the season, but relocates to Connecticut in the season 7 finale and throughout season 8.
When the show debuted on the Showtime cable network, it earned the channel’s highest ratings. In 2012, TV Guide Network bought the airing rights and provided an edited version of the show free of charge. The show has received numerous awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Satellite Awards, one Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild Award, and a Young Artist Award.
In November 2019, it was revealed that a sequel series was in development at Starz, titled Weeds 4.20. The series features Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins reprising their roles with the story set 10 years after the conclusion of the original series. Victoria Morrow, who was a producer on the writing team for Weeds, is set to return as writer and executive producer on the spin-off series, while original series creator and showrunner Jenji Kohan is not yet confirmed to be involved, along with any other returning cast.
10 Facts About Weeds
In 2005, Showtime was an up-and-coming network with not many major hits, especially ones that captured the zeitgeist of the time. But the network took a risk when they bought writer Jenji Kohan’s concept for Weeds, a comedy-drama that goes to some dark places.
Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) lives in an affluent gated community in Southern California, but her husband, Judah (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), suddenly passes away from a heart attack. She’s raising two sons and needs to find a way to make money, so she starts dealing weed. For eight seasons and 102 episodes, viewers followed the exploits of the Botwins, from Nancy being a suburban dealer to her marrying a drug lord/mayor of Tijuana, Esteban Reyes (Oscar nominee Demián Bichir).
Her brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk) comes along for the ride, as do accountant friend Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon), critical neighbor Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins), weed grower Conrad Shepard (Romany Malco), and guest stars Albert Brooks, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Alanis Morissette. Of course a lot of weed was smoked on the show, which Bichir revealed to GQ was actually lettuce.
In September 2012 the show finally concluded, with the family remaining intact. A year later, Kohan created another female-fronted show, Orange Is the New Black. Here are 10 blunt facts about the Golden Globe Award-winning series.
1. JENJI KOHAN WAS INTERESTED IN WRITING AN “OUTLAW SHOW.”
“I wanted to do an outlaw show,” Kohan told LAist. “From there I needed to find an outlaw and a crime.” She picked pot because it was a hot topic with the passing of Proposition 215, which decriminalized medical marijuana in California. “It was the perfect vehicle because while it’s illegal, no one takes it that seriously,” Kohan said. “It’s the funny drug. Plus there’s a pot smoker in every family—it crosses all social, religious, economic, political, [and] racial lines. Nancy just came out on the page.”
Inspired by The Sopranos and The Shield, Kohan wanted to explore gray areas. In 20015, she told the Toledo Blade that those shows dealt with “people who are functioning outside of society’s moral code … How do you convince yourself that you re still a moral person if you are doing something illegal?,” she said.
2. THE TITLE ALLUDES TO MORE THAN JUST POT.
In a 2005 interview with the Toledo Blade, Kohan explained what the title meant. “Weeds are hardy plants that pop up everywhere and survive despite desperate climate and inhospitable environments,” she said. “There is also the expression ‘widow’s weeds,’ referring to a time when widows wore hats made of weeds. Mainly, though, it refers to hardy plants struggling to survive.”
3. HBO PASSED ON THE SHOW.
Kohan had come from the writers’ room of the network sitcom world—including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends—but wanted to create a show for cable. Initially, she pitched the idea of a “suburban widowed pot-dealing mom” to HBO, but they said no. So she pitched the idea to Robert Greenblatt at Showtime, a network Kohan said “was looking to make noise.” “They just went with it,” Kohan told The Wall Street Journal.
The success of the female-led show caused the network to commission more woman-centric shows, such as Nurse Jackie and The Big C. “It’s not like we had some great strategy: ‘Let’s do a series of shows about flawed women,’” Greenblatt said. “Weeds was a great idea and it started a trend.”
4. MARY-LOUISE PARKER KNEW WEEDS WASN’T JUST A COMEDY.
“I never treated it as a comedy. I thought it was a drama,” Parker told The A.V. Club. “It’s somewhere in between, but they said the network had bought and expected a comedy, so it was something we needed to fulfill.” She said at first they tried to deliver the comedy but didn’t want to push too hard. “I never felt like or even wanted to feel like we were trying to push to be some flat-out crazy comedy, because you lose things.”
5. TRACT HOUSING INSPIRED THE SONG “LITTLE BOXES.”
Singer-songwriter Malvina Reynolds wrote the song “Little Boxes” in 1962 and Pete Seeger covered it in 1963. The song’s title refers to a housing development Reynolds came across in Daly City, California, where she thought all the homes looked the same. Because the show changed locations, the theme song evolved, too.
Reynolds’s original version is used during the first season credits, but during the second and third seasons each episode features a different artist covering the song, such as Elvis Costello, Death Cab for Cutie, Billy Bob Thornton, Joan Baez, and Regina Spektor. When the Botwins abandoned their little box at the end of season three, the theme song disappeared, too. But Kohan resurrected it for the final season, with people like Kevin Nealon, Steve Martin, and Aimee Mann covering it.
With its fantastic comedy series Weeds, cable network Showtime finally gave up its also-ran status to HBO and found itself with a controversial, buzz-worthy show that was as hilarious as it was dark, one about a truly desperate housewife.
A recent widow with two growing sons, Nancy Botwin (Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker) looks like a typical resident of the affluent Southern California suburb of Agrestic. She keeps a clean, upscale house (with the help of a live-in maid), attends PTA meetings, goes to her kids’ soccer games, makes frequent stops at the local coffee franchise…. and sells marijuana in order to make it all possible.
Suburban baroness of bud
Left with no way to support herself after her beloved husband’s fatal heart attack, Nancy turns herself into the “suburban baroness of bud,” dealing to her neighbors in the area, with the help of her supplier Heylia (Tonye Patano) and point man Conrad (Romany Malco). Nancy’s clients run from the local councilman (Kevin Nealon) to the just-barely-legal students at the local community college.
But many in Agrestic are still in the dark as to how she keeps her family afloat, including her best friend, the sardonic Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), a wife and mother whose blistering, withering put-downs could make Dorothy Parker cringe in fear. But like many small-business owners, Nancy yearns for more success and cash, and like her workaholic neighbors, finds keeping a balance between work life and home life to be extremely precarious at best.
While Desperate Housewives yearned to be a suburban satire with bite, Weeds was the real deal, skewering upper-middle class mores with a sharp eye, a keen wit, and a mostly forgiving heart. In episode after episode, the show’s creative team (led by creator Jenji Kohan) pulled back the layers of Agrestic’s superficiality to show what lies beneath the squeaky-clean exteriors and smiling faces; it turns out that hunger, fear, desire, and, yes, desperation aren’t that far down.
However, Weeds forsakes pulpiness and florid drama for biting yet affectionate humor–its heroine is a woman with sliding morals, but one you’ll root for to the very end. The effervescent Parker, the only actress who can mix perkiness with morbidity in just the right amounts, anchored the show with her amazing turn as Nancy, who by the end of the first season had become a kind of soccer-mom version of Michael Corleone, entering a corrupt world with both trepidation and fascination–and totally enamored of the power it brought her.
Also perfectly cast, Perkins found the role of a lifetime as the bitterly hilarious Celia, and entering the show in its fourth episode, Justin Kirk (Parker’s co-star in Angels in America) proved to be a potent secret weapon as Nancy’s brother-in-law Andy, a slacker who wasn’t above peddling t-shirts to elementary school kids. As icky as these characters might appear on the surface, Weeds made them all immensely appealing and great company to be around. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: one hit and you’ll be hooked on this show.
The DVDs feature six episode commentaries with cast and crew, outtakes, original featurettes, a music video, and most enjoyably, Agrestic Herbal Recipes (for entertainment value only, we assume) and the “Smoke and Mirrors” marijuana mockumentary. –Mark Englehart.
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