I Just Painted My House Milfweed

I’m writing about paint colors on my other blog, RANDOM ACTS OF HOME DECOR, where I’m talking about painting my bedroom a color called “MILKWEED,” from Dunn Edwards.

Except that I’ve just finished watching all three previous seasons of Showtime’s WEEDS, so of course, all I can think of is that I’ve painted all the rooms in my house a lovely shade of MILFWEED. Anyone who watches WEEDS will understand.

I liked the first two seasons of WEEDS, but I felt the third season got very dark. I realize that Nancy Botwin is one of these new types of characters, a la Tony Soprano, the family-man gangster from THE SOPRANOS or Bill Henrickson, the business-man polygamist from BIG LOVE, or Dexter, the serial killer from eponymous DEXTER. We’re supposed to like these characters despite their, um, alternate lifestyle choices. And for the most part, I do.

I loved THE SOPRANOS. I never for one moment forgot that Tony was a killer, but I enjoyed watching him maneuver through life. He was who he was, and even though he struggled with understanding parts of himself, he pretty much knew who he was and owned his choices. The writing and acting on that show was amazing and multi-layered. I watched other members of the family go from self-denial to acceptance, from innocence to denial, and I always enjoyed the journeys.

For me, BIG LOVE is slightly less successful, but I’m not sure why. Killing people is surely a more heinous crime than being married to two different people at the same time, yet the latter is almost harder for me to accept. I always feel the children in that show are unwitting participants in a lifestyle they have no control over. I guess that’s real – a lot of people are trapped in situations they can’t control – but I find it hard to root for the lead characters in that show. It’s interesting, and it makes me think, and it makes me uncomfortable, so I suppose that’s good drama. I watch BIG LOVE, but I can’t say I really like the Henricksons. I’ll be interested to see where that show goes from here.

I love DEXTER. Yes, he’s a serial killer, but come on – he only kills BAD people. People who deserve it. And he’s very, very good at it. Dexter knows exactly who he is, and why he does what he does. He has a very strict code that he lives by, and he’s just trying to have a normal life. Of course, I haven’t seen the second season yet (it comes out on DVD in August), so I will be interested to see where they took the story and characters.

I really enjoy complicated characters, like Vic Mackey of THE SHIELD. He’s another flawed character who clearly makes some very “wrong” choices, morally, but it’s fascinating to watch him struggle with them. He knows when he’s making a “bad” decision, and he owns it. He is being forced to deal square on with the consequences of his past actions, and I can’t wait to see how they wrap up the series in this last season.

As far as WEEDS goes, I’m not sure I really like Nancy, the suburban pot mom. The first two seasons were interesting, in the exploration of what’s underneath all that “normality” of suburbia. A recent widow, you felt that Nancy was just trying to keep her family afloat. Selling a little weed was not a horrible thing. She was paying the mortgage, no one got hurt. She was kind of goofy and charming. But as she got more and more involved in the drug culture, the character started to change. She started to become a gangsta. I didn’t like her as much. She didn’t seem to really struggle with whether her choices were wrong and bad for her family. She seemed to just fall into the lifestyle of drug dealer. She would say she was conflicted, but I never felt she searched for any options. For a white, educated, clearly intelligent and resourceful woman, it’s hard to believe that dealing drugs is the best alternative for her and her family. At the start of the third season Nancy started to embrace her dark side, which at least was a decision, good or bad, and that always makes for better drama. I don’t look to television shows to give me answers to life. The best shows simply present questions and possibilities and various directions. All of these characters are interesting, and we tune into these kinds of shows to see how people live different lives and make different choices that are not necessarily within the confines of the norm.

I think my problem with Nancy has been that I haven’t seen much thought from her. She has seemed to drift from situation to situation, feeling a little angst here, a little frustration there, but for the most part, she hasn’t really taken much of a stand, except to plunge deeper into drug trafficking, which she then seems to lament being involved with. I’m a bit confused by her character, and I’m eager to see where the show goes from here.

Last night was the premiere of this season’s SAVING GRACE, another fascinating, flawed character played by the amazing Holly Hunter. Interesting characters, good writing, fast pacing, SAVING GRACE is just what I don’t need – another show to be addicted to. I am so there!

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