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August 9, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | August 9, 2007 |

Nancy Botwin and friends are finally coming back! And as you may recall, Season Two’s cliffhanger left everyone in just a bit of a pickle. (If you’re not all caught up with the show and don’t want to know where things were at the end of Season Two, best skedaddle on out of this review.) Here’s the quick rundown of where things left off in the quiet burg of Agrestic. There was the big cliffhanger, of course, with Nancy and Conrad stuck in the grow house, five guns pointed at them courtesy of the Armenians (who may have killed Agent Whitebread) and U-Turn. The weed itself, meanwhile, wasn’t in the grow house anymore but was, instead, in the trunk of Silas’ car. Trouble there was, Silas looked about to get arrested by a cop put on him by Celia, who was pissed off over the whole stolen “drug free zone” signs and cameras. Back at Shane’s graduation party, things weren’t much better, as Doug and Dean were not getting along well, both because Dean screwed up Doug’s seat on the city council and because, more recently, Celia had broken up with Dean over her affair with Doug (which wound up being a mistake since Doug screwed her over by not calling it off with his own wife). And then poor Uncle Andy decided to “do the right thing” and not run away with super-hot but super-crazy Kat (the delectable Zooey Deschanel), so she ran off with Shane instead, leaving Andy and the Indian bounty hunter Abumchuck to chase after them.

mpl-booty.jpgSo there’s really quite a lot for Season Three to dive into, and the first episode wastes no time at all, taking us right back into the quasi-Mexican standoff at the grow house, complete with someone literally pissing themselves. It winds up taking the first two episodes to clean up most of the Season Two mess (and the “to be continued” moment at the end of the first episode is a hilarious doozy), but by the end of the second episode most of it is relatively resolved in a satisfying-enough way (particularly the Andy/Shane portion - in fact, I gotta say that I’d pay good money to watch an Andy/Abumchuck roadtrip flick). Of course, things will never be easy for Nancy or anyone else on this show, so these resolutions are neither smooth nor clean and, by the end of the second episode, Nancy’s lot in life is arguably worse than it was before Season Three kicked off (save for the fact that she’s not actually looking down the barrels of five guns anymore). Her situation, and the season’s other storylines, start to get fleshed out a little over the next two episodes and as I was watching them, I found something very interesting happening - I was becoming less and less interested in Nancy’s part of the show, wanting to see more of almost everything else (the exception here was Andy’s new story, but I’ll come back to that). The first two episodes take Nancy to a very interesting place, emotionally, and Mary Louis Parker acts her ass off with the material she’s given (and this is the flimsy excuse for my including that promotional picture up there - I mean, good gracious, ass bodacious!). However, by the end of the fourth episode, I’m considerably less interested in Nancy. This is partially because one aspect of her story feels a little been-there/done-that, focusing once again on her paranoia over being busted but it mostly has to do with the fact that U-Turn shows up more in these episodes and I’m quite done with this character - while he was hilarious when he first showed up last season (and remained so for a bit of this Third Season), he’s ultimately such an un-nuanced and stereotypical character that he’s gotten old quite quick. And for a show that is generally pretty good at avoiding such flat characters, he stands out like a sore thumb and ends up tainting the Nancy storyline.

Similarly, I was on the fence about the direction they started taking with Andy this season, because he wound up surrounded by cliche and stereotype. But by the end of the fourth episode, things took a somewhat ridiculous-yet-surprising turn, and there is now some glimmer that things with Andy will go to a place that is fun and entertaining. Meanwhile, in re-watching Season Two, and having now seen the start of Season Three, I’ve come to realize that Doug is my favorite character, and I’m happy to say that his storyline took a hilarious turn in the fourth episode. They’ve managed to set things up such that there will surely be much more ongoing conflict between him and Celia, which can only be a good thing as the season progresses. And at least some of this conflict will revolve around a newly introduced character played by Matthew Modine. He’s is a shady land developer from Majestic, the incorporated neighborhood next to Agrestic, and his first scene on the show reminded me so much of a certain Lyle Lanley trying to sell Springfield on a monorail that I have to think there was at least a touch of an intentional homage here. Anyway, Modine’s developer quickly integrates himself into the storylines of several of our characters, and Modine’s performance is kind of delicious, offering much promise for the direction of things to come. The third episode also gave us a surprising guest appearance by Carrie Fisher, and if this is just a one-off, it’s a shame, because her performance was quite hilarious and even managed to wash away some of the grime she’s covered herself in by appearing on Fox’s “On the Lot.”

Ultimately, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far (i.e., the first four episodes). I don’t think this season is, as yet, as funny as Season Two was, and the show might have hit its peak last season. But it’s still one of the best comedies on TV, and easily worth the time investment if you’ve got the Showtime. Plus, I’ve got to tip my hat to whoever puts the soundtrack together for this show - the chosen songs not only continue to be solid tracks from a purely aural sense, but they’re also so well tied, lyrically, to the show itself that it just cracks my shit up (in fact, one of the biggest laughs I’ve had with this new season is when the lyric “you fucked up, you Nazi whore” springs forth at an entirely appropriate moment). And I have just now realized that I have absolutely no clean way to get out of this review, so I suggest you just stare at the image of MLP up there, and not worry about the abruptness of this ending.

(Season Three of “Weeds” kicks off on August 13, at 10 p.m., on Showtime.)

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He wishes they had made a similar promotion poster with Zooey.

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"Weeds," Season Three / The TV Whore
Aug. 9, 2007

TV | August 9, 2007 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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