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Weeds

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Weeds is a US comedy television series created by Jenji Kohan, produced by Lionsgate Television for the Showtime network.

The plot revolves around a widowed housewife (Mary-Louise Parker) from an affluent California suburb who becomes her neighborhood's marijuana dealer to make ends meet. The title is a play on words, referring to a commonly-used slang term for marijuana. It also refers to the tendency of American suburbs to grow quickly and pervasively, with the dwellings and their residents being almost as indistinguishable as weeds. This is mirrored in the show's theme song "Little Boxes" and opening credits, and is a recurring theme of the show itself. Going against this "all the same" theme, across the second and third seasons the theme song is performed by over twenty different artists.

Weeds currently comprises five seasons that began airing in August 2005. It was the highest rated series for Showtime its first year; its fourth-season premiere attracted 1.3 million viewers to Showtime, the channel's highest-ever viewership; the season as a whole averaged 962,000 viewers. Showtime announced on July 18, 2008 that two more seasons of thirteen episodes each will be produced. Season 5 premiered to 1.2 million viewers, with a rerun on the same night adding another 500,000 viewers for a cumulative 1.7 million.

Mary-Louise Parker won a Golden Globe for her performance on the show, and Jenji Kohan won a WGA award for her screenplay for the pilot episode.

Season 5 of Weeds premiered on Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 10 p.m. on Showtime

Production

The exteriors for the show were shot almost exclusively in Stevenson Ranch, a suburban area of Santa Clarita Valley, California. The shot of the large fountain and Agrestic sign seen in the introduction of Seasons 1-3 was shot at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Holmes Place. The name 'Stevenson Ranch', was digitally replaced with 'Agrestic' and with 'Majestic' in later episodes.

The overhead, satellite picture displayed at the beginning of the show's introduction (Seasons 1-3) is of "Calabasas Hills", a gated community in Calabasas, California.

Episodes

As of September 2008, 50 original episodes of Weeds have been produced and broadcast. The first season began August 8, 2005 and consisted of 10 episodes. The 12 episodes of the second season began on August 14, 2006., The third season began on August 13, 2007 and at 15 episodes, was the longest. The fourth season began June 16, 2008, and lasted 13 episodes. The fifth season began on June 8, 2009, and lasts 13 episodes. Creator Jenji Kohan has written 13 of the episodes, including each season's premiere and finale.

Episode leaks

The first episode of the third season was scheduled to air on August 13, 2007. On July 22, 2007, the first and second episodes of season 3 were leaked on the Internet. On July 24, 2007, the third episode was leaked, and on July 27, 2007, the fourth episode was leaked. The fourth episode was not a complete version; among other things, some dubbed lines were not complete (notably a voicemail message Nancy receives from U-Turn is spoken by a distinctly different actor, and in place of the end credits a card is inserted reading "End Credits" . As of December 2007, all 15 episodes of the third season were available online. Due to the high quality of the leaked episodes, downloaders of the torrents speculated that the episodes were leaked intentionally in order to garner interest in the show and to create an Internet buzz. Weeds creator Jenji Kohan has shown a positive interest in the Weeds episodes leaking online, saying, "Revenue aside, I don't expect to get rich on Weeds, I'm excited it's out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience." In 2006 before season 2 aired on Showtime, the first few episodes were also leaked online.

Main characters

Nancy Botwin Mary-Louise Parker (S1-5)

Nancy Botwin was an all-American PTA soccer mom until her husband Judah suddenly dropped dead. To maintain the suburban lifestyle to which she was accustomed, Nancy entered the dangerous world of drug dealing. Her regular clients include her accountant, her lawyer, and other soccer moms.

Celia Hodes Elizabeth Perkins (S1-5)

Celia is a suburban mother and (superficially) a friend of Nancy. She constantly criticizes her overweight daughter Isabelle, and is stuck in an unhappy marriage at the start of the series. Her primary outlets are alcoholism and random verbal abuse of others, and she occasionally undertakes mean-spirited subversive actions against people, ostensibly to teach them lessons.
Celia also has another daughter named Quinn, whom she sends to boarding school after the pilot episode, and who reappears in the fourth season.

Andy Botwin Justin Kirk (S1-5)

Andy Botwin is Nancy's brother-in-law, a fun-loving, irresponsible drifter. After Judah's death, Nancy reluctantly allows Andy to live at the house, and soon realizes his presence is needed for her business and as a father figure for the kids.

Silas Botwin Hunter Parrish (S1-5)

Silas, Nancy's oldest son, was traumatized by Judah's death, and takes it out on his mother and brother. Silas is impetuous and impulsive, and although always operating as though he knows everything, is extremely naïve. He is the stereotypical teenage male character, eager to participate in sports and premarital sex, and having trouble with school work.

During the series he has numerous bad break-ups with his girlfriends and constantly harasses Nancy about her job. Eventually he decides he too wants to be a drug dealer.

Shane Botwin Alexander Gould (S1-5)

Shane is Nancy's younger son and was with Judah at the time of his death. Shane takes out his grief in bizarre emotional ways, such as talking to his father even though he isn't alive. Shane is also very smart, and is often called "Strange Botwin" by his fellow students. He is viewed as a freak at school, and is the frequent target of bullies. At home, he remains appropriately isolated and neglected by his family and their drug businesses.

Doug Wilson Kevin Nealon (S1-5)

Doug is the fun-loving accountant and friend of Nancy, who as a "wake and baker" is also a steady weed buyer. Doug is a city councilman for Agrestic, but treats his position like a hobby and takes advantage of it for the perks. Doug also becomes business partners with Nancy, becoming her operation's treasurer. After this, he and Andy are frequently seen hanging out together. Doug has an unseen wife Dana who he loves very much but who won't have sex with him. He has an affair with Celia briefly but loves Dana too much to keep seeing Celia. Doug also has a gay teenaged son Josh (Justin Chatwin) who appeared only in the pilot episode.

Many of Doug Wilson's lines are improvised by Kevin Nealon.

Conrad Shepard Romany Malco (S1-3)

Conrad is Nancy's initial supplier, under supervision of his aunt. Nancy met him years earlier through Andy. Although Conrad is very knowledgeable about the intricacies of marijuana, his aunt never allowed him to grow plants, insisting that they keep their business small. Despite this, he has worked on developing his own signature genetic blend. Later, he becomes Nancy's business associate using this strain, and it is revealed that he has apparently held very strong feelings for Nancy for a long time.

Heylia James Tonye Patano (S1-3)

Heylia is Conrad's aunt and supplier for Nancy. When Conrad goes against Heylia's instructions and continues to see Nancy, and Nancy almost gets her in trouble with the police, she forms a grudge against her. Heylia and Nancy eventually become reluctant partners.

Isabelle Hodes Allie Grant (Guest S1-2, Regular S3-4)

Isabelle is Celia's younger daughter, who frustrates her mother with her proclaimed lesbianism and unwillingness to lose weight. She becomes close friends with Shane Botwin, who bond over their abnormal mothers. Isabelle resents her mother, but seems to enjoy her father's company.

Dean Hodes Andy Milder (Guest S1-2 and 4, Regular S3)

Dean is Isabelle's father and Celia's husband, as well as Nancy's lawyer and Doug's poker buddy. Dean loves Isabelle, but has a constantly antagonistic relationship with Celia, which eventually leads to a separation.

Season summaries

Season 1

The series takes place in the fictional Los Angeles, California suburb of Agrestic. It is home to Nancy Botwin, whose husband Judah suddenly died of a heart attack while jogging with his son Shane, prior to the start of the first season. Nancy's children Silas and Shane both attend Agrestic's public school system.

Nancy has begun dealing marijuana to her affluent neighbors and friends to support her upper middle class lifestyle. She buys from Heylia James, a major distributor in Los Angeles' West Adams district whom she met through Heylia's nephew, Conrad. When her best customers talk their way into a medical marijuana store with a variety of high-quality pot, Nancy's sales start to dry up, so she utilizes her baking skills and concocts pot-laced brownies and baked goods to sell off the low-quality product. Later, at the suggestion of her accountant, city councilman Doug Wilson, and with the aid of her attorney, her friend Celia Hodes' husband Dean, she opens a bakery as a front for her drug sales, buying the baked goods at Costco and putting them on her bakery's shelves as her own product. Silas begins dating Megan, an attractive deaf girl at his school. Shane, a witness to his father's death, is a more troubled child who has been known to act out. As a result, Shane has been given the nickname "Strange Botwin" at his school. In one instance, Shane bites the foot of another child in a martial-arts tournament.

Nancy has befriended the manic, image-obsessed, manipulative, and controlling Celia Hodes, who is the president of the Agrestic PTA and has a number of domestic problems. She does not get along with her cheating husband Dean; nor does she get along with her sexually active 15-year-old daughter, Quinn (Silas' previous girlfriend), whom she sends off to boarding school in Mexico in the pilot. Her younger daughter, 11-year-old Isabelle, is overweight, and it is revealed late in the season that she is a lesbian. Toward the end of the season, Celia is diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer, and before her surgery, she picks up Conrad and has sex with him. Conrad is long-time friends with Andy Botwin, the younger brother of Nancy's late husband and the black sheep of the family. Andy says he has moved into the Botwin household to help Nancy out, but actually seems to be there to free-load, and to disrupt Nancy's life. When he is notified to report immediately for his previously-agreed-upon military service (where he will be trained and then sent to Iraq), or be sentenced to a military prison, he announces that he is studying to become a rabbi as a dodge to avoid his military obligation.

Nancy expands her distribution to Valley College, and is then harassed by a rival drug dealer, with whom she then has a brief sexual encounter. At Valley College, her entire stash of product is stolen by a campus security cop during a fake arrest, threatening the survival of her lifestyle and family. Unbeknownst to her, Conrad and some of his friends go to Valley College and attack and severely beat the campus cop, who then (to Nancy's surprise) politely returns her marijuana to her, apologizing profusely and offering to assist her and her business in any way he can. She then has a mutual attraction with Peter Scottson, the single father of the kid bitten by Shane in a karate tournament. The season closes with Conrad convincing Nancy to expand by becoming a grower as well as a dealer. However, implementing this plan hits complications in the last minutes of the season when, because of her mounting frustration and stress, she gives in and decides to sleep with Peter. Immediately afterward, she walks into his bathroom and finds out that he's apparently an agent with the federal DEA.

Season 2

The second season, while still comedic, has a much darker tone, as Nancy becomes increasingly involved in the more dangerous aspects of the drug "underground". Ignoring Heylia's advice, Nancy and Conrad start their own small-scale growing operation and eventually rent a suburban grow-house. She welcomes other people into her business, including her brother-in-law Andy and Doug. During this season, Peter Scottson tells Nancy he knows she is a drug dealer, but considers her too small time to be worth busting, and the two are married as part of a deal to legally protect Nancy from Peter testifying in a court of law. While Nancy's drug activities increase, Celia runs for, and wins, Doug's spot on the town council: she launches a drug-free campaign across Agrestic complete with drug-free zone signs and surveillance cameras. After winning his seat back, Doug has a brief sexual affair with Celia.

Silas and Megan's relationship threatens to split apart once she leaves for college; he attempts to get her pregnant to circumvent this, but his success leads to an abortion and a violent confrontation with Megan's father, ending the relationship. Andy tries to develop a relationship with an attractive, sexually formidable instructor, Yael Hoffman, at his rabbinical school, which falls apart once he drops out due to an incident where a dog bites off two of his small toes, which he thinks will clear him from military duty.

As the season progresses, Nancy's children become more aware of her illegal activities, though the two sons deal with the issue in quite different ways. Shane continues to have problems fitting in at school, but ends up joining the debate team in order to get closer to Gretchen, who later ends up becoming Shane's girlfriend. Despite Shane's apparent interest in Gretchen, he breaks up with her because of his extreme interest in Andy's crazy ex-girlfriend, Kat. Silas, on the other hand, takes out his frustrations by committing acts of vandalism, most notably stealing Celia's drug-free zone signs and cameras.

Nancy and Conrad's drug business becomes a hit as Conrad's strain of plant (which Snoop Dogg dubs "MILFweed" during a happenstance meeting at a recording studio) pleases their customers; but their high profile causes trouble. Initially, Nancy's marriage to a DEA agent keeps her on top while her Armenian rivals are busted, but her marriage to Peter deteriorates as he pressures her to quit dealing. For Nancy, the final straw is when Peter comes over for dinner and manhandles Silas. Nancy calls Conrad and tells him that she doesn't love Peter but will string him along until the current harvest is done; Peter hears the conversation with wireless surveillance.

The season concludes with a complex series of betrayals, as Peter demands of Nancy and Conrad all of the cash from a quick sale of their crop. Secretly, Heylia hires Armenian mobsters to kill Peter in retaliation. Nancy's buyer, U-Turn, demands the entire crop of weed at gunpoint. Having just killed Peter, the Armenian mobsters arrive at the same time and expect the proceeds from the big sale to pay for their hit, but finding that U-Turn had decided to jack the weed and that there is no money, decide they will take the weed instead. Only then does Nancy discover that Silas has decided to force his way into the business by stealing the entire batch of weed and demanding to be part of the business. After hiding the batch in his car trunk, he is approached by Celia and a police officer for the theft of the drug-free zone signs and surveillance cameras, as Celia has footage of Silas stealing the last camera. This leaves Nancy at the grow house, in a Mexican standoff with both the gangsters and the mobsters pointing guns at her in a season-ending cliffhanger.

Season 3

The third season of Weeds begins with several subplots involving the fallout from the botched drug deal of the season two finale: Celia finds and destroys the entire harvest; U-Turn pays the mobsters to leave Nancy to him alone; Silas is arrested and sentenced to community service; in hiding, Sanjay realizes he is gay but is forced by U-Turn to have sex with a woman, who then becomes pregnant with his child.

The first half of the season sees Nancy under immense pressure as she works for U-Turn in order to pay off her debt, valued as the entire worth of the destroyed harvest. She gets a legitimate job working for Sullivan Groff (Matthew Modine), a crooked developer of rival neighboring community Majestic, and soon after begins a relationship with him, much to Celia's chagrin, as Groff had also started a relationship with her. Conrad and Heylia start their own new growing operation, initially at the behest of U-Turn.

The outlying Christian community of Majestic attempts a hostile takeover of Agrestic, with Doug leading the charge due to the large amount of money it will bring in. But Groff's gift to Celia leads to jealousy, and Doug begins sabotaging the Majestic city infrastructure, although it is already too late, as Celia brings it to a public referendum. Dean has a motorcycle accident, which forces Celia to take care of him against her will.

Silas begins selling pot for his mother using the alias Judah and meets Tara (Mary-Kate Olsen), a born-again Christian who enjoys smoking pot and helps him sell; Shane and Isabelle become outcasts at the heavily religious Majestic summer school and form a friendship, and Shane begins talking to his dead father as the stress on the family becomes too great.

As U-Turn begins training Nancy to become his drug runner, while simultaneously starting a war with rival Mexican dealers, his partner Marvin becomes jealous. When U-Turn has a heart attack, Marvin capitalizes on the situation by secretly suffocating him to death and becoming boss of their crew, but after Marvin botches an attempt to call a truce with the Mexicans Nancy takes advantage of the situation to clear all debts for her and Conrad and end the gang war.

Finally debt-free, Nancy begins to feel lonely, and attempts to befriend Peter's ex-wife Valerie. The friendship turns sour when Valerie demands the money from Peter's life-insurance payout. Nancy promises to give it to her, but has to first use most of it to replace money Doug "borrowed" from the Agrestic treasury to help Nancy get back in business. Despite giving her several smaller payments, Valerie believes that Nancy will never give her her full due and that Peter had an off-the-books stash of cash of which Nancy knows the location, so she hires a private investigator to trail Nancy. The investigator finds out Nancy is a drug dealer and blackmails her to not tell Valerie or the DEA for most of the remaining life-insurance money, which Nancy pays after ensuring the investigator won't come after her again by blackmailing him for blackmailing her. Nancy confronts Valerie by telling her that she would have gotten the money although Nancy has no obligation to give it to her, and that she no longer has it anyway thanks to Valerie's investigator.

Andy has a brief excursion into the pornographic film industry, and later befriends a group of bikers while trying to score with one of its members, who want him to start selling their weed.
Nancy turns to Guillermo (leader of the Mexican dealers) to get protection when the bikers threaten her family after she refuses to sell their low-quality ditch weed. Guillermo's drastic solution of burning down the biker's grow house causes a huge fire in Agrestic which results in a mandatory evacuation order. Nancy has to face the possibility that she may have to start over from scratch and has failed her family. In the final scene, she pours gasoline throughout her house and lights it with a match, ensuring that she and her family will be moving on.

Season 4

On November 5, 2007, it was confirmed that Showtime would air a fourth season of Weeds, to contain at least 13 episodes. The fourth season started airing on Monday, June 16, 2008 with the final episode airing on Monday, September 15, 2008. The first episode of this season, entitled "Mother Thinks the Birds are After Her," was the last time "Little Boxes" was used during the opening credits. Thereafter, each episode began with an animated title card in a scenario relating to the episode. Major changes to the cast were made, owing largely to the family's move. Mary-Kate Olsen and Matthew Modine no longer appeared in the show, and Romany Malco and Tonye Patano, who had key roles in the first three seasons, were no longer part of the main cast, and remain unseen. Albert Brooks was added as Andy's father, Lenny Botwin, who was seen in the first four episodes of the season. Guillermo Diaz and Jack Stehlin, who played minor recurring roles previously, play larger roles.

Nancy relocates her family to the fictional town of Ren Mar, located on the San Diego/Tijuana border,[12] after having set fire to her house and burning it down. She begins drug trafficking across the border for Guillermo, and must deal with Celia, who has been sent to spy on her in hopes of getting herself out of jail after Celia takes the fall for Nancy and Conrad's grow house. Andy begins a coyote business with Doug, who has moved to town to evade questions about Agrestic's finances. Silas sets up his own weed business and begins dating a local gourmet cheese shop owner, who is old enough to be his mother. Isabelle moves in with Celia because they will live near the beach. Shane has difficulty adjusting to the new location and pushes away Isabelle and Nancy, making friends with two more "dangerous" girls at school.

As the season progresses, Nancy's role changes as Guillermo's boss sets her up as a money-laundering front in a maternity store and Celia works there as a cashier. Guillermo's men catch Celia spying on them and Nancy convinces them to spare Celia's life. The maternity store is the endpoint for a drug trafficking tunnel to Tijuana, Mexico. When Nancy realizes that the tunnel is also being used to smuggle guns and young girls for prostitution, she decides to inform DEA Captain Roy Till, despite having a sexual relationship with the corrupt Mayor of Tijuana, Guillermo's boss. The DEA raids the maternity shop and a bloody shootout leaves several DEA agents and a Mexican drug runner dead. Shane has a threesome and is also masturbating to pictures of Nancy.

During this time, Doug and Andy's coyote business becomes very successful. Andy is worshiped by the immigrants they smuggle while Doug even manages to fall in love with one of the immigrants he named "Mermex". To his chagrin, the illegal immigrant falls for Andy instead of Doug, as Doug's personality, genital warts and unapologetic nature turn her away.

Meanwhile, Celia begins to develop a drug addiction and it becomes bad enough to prompt Isabelle and Dean to stage an intervention. After some initial reluctance, Celia starts to attend rehab and apologizes to Isabelle and Dean. However, Dean rejects her apology and instead suggests she say sorry to Quinn, who is still in Mexico after Celia sent her to boarding school at the end of the pilot episode. Celia decides to do so in the season finale but upon her arrival she is drugged and kidnapped by Quinn for revenge.

In the season finale, Nancy is called into the DEA for questioning. Roy Till threatens to kill the person responsible for his partner's death. Esteban, the mayor, discovers Nancy is the person who told the DEA about the drug tunnel. Moments after being confronted, Nancy informs Esteban that she is pregnant with his child, and that she thinks it's a boy. Back at home, Shane steals Silas' weed and started selling it to other kids with the two girls he met. Doug alerts the police to Mermex's illegal immigration after she rejected him and believes that his life has hit rock bottom. Doug realizes that having nothing means the people that are after him will not gain anything from pursuing him, and writes a letter to his separated wife daring her to bring it on. Andy contemplates whether or not he is in love with Nancy and questions his reasons for staying with the family for so long.

Season 5

Showtime announced at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour that Weeds would return on Monday, June 8, 2009 for its fifth season. Variety reports the upcoming Season 5 of Weeds will feature Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High / Road to Perdition) in a new recurring role as Nancy's sister Jill Price-Gray. Leigh will appear in at least two episodes for Season 5.

Singer Alanis Morissette is also slated to appear in seven episodes as Nancy's obstetrician.
The Season 5 debut attracted 1.2 million viewers, with a rerun on the same night adding another 500,000 viewers for a cumulative 1.7 million. Season 4 of "weeds" attracted 1.3 million views its first night.

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