Some TV shows are like old friends. When you first met, it was magical. You couldn’t get enough of them. You had so much in common and they were so funny and quirky and interesting.
Over time, though, something changed. They changed, or maybe you did. What was once endearing became grating; what was once charming was now way too predictable. But you still make a lacklustre effort to hang out with them, out of habit or obligation or…whatever.
I’m pretty OK at cutting off contact with people I’ve grown apart from, but television is a different story. Even when a show I once liked becomes terrible, I can’t seem to let go. I watched V in its entirety. I watched Gossip Girl for four seasons, even after I realized every episode is structurally the same. The. Exact. Same. I’m still watching The Office for some unknown reason, even though the characters have basically become caricatures of themselves and I’ve had no interest in any of the plots since around the time Jim and Pam got married.
Weeds, however, is the absolute worst example of this kind of unhealthy relationship. (Yes, I have unhealthy relationships with TV shows. It’s fine.) The first four or five seasons were so great. I mean, come on, desperate suburban mom turns to dealing weed? That is a great premise. I was totally on board with the protagonist, Nancy Botwin, as she got caught up with gangs, married a DEA agent, burned her own house to the ground…hell, I was even into it that one time when a bunch of Mexicans almost killed her but then didn’t because she was pregnant with the mayor of Tijuana’s son. Phew.
The whole thing about Nancy is that she’s wildly self-absorbed, and manages to ruin the lives of pretty much everyone around her while getting caught up in a series of extremely close calls. She is this force who sets her eyes on something and is completely relentless until she achieves it. The lives of her brother-in-law, Andy, and her sons, Shane and Silas, have basically orbited around her for eight seasons. And while the people around her are in shambles (Andy’s in love with her, Shane briefly flirted with sociopathic tendencies and Silas seems to secretly crave her approval), Nancy carries on without many consequences. Even when she DOES come up across serious obstacles, she turns to selling weed as the solution. OK, she went to jail for three years, but the minute she got out, she started dealing again. Only now, in the eighth season, after LITERALLY GETTING SHOT IN THE HEAD has she started thinking maybe drug dealing isn’t for her.
That’s what’s become so annoying to me about the show, I think: Nancy Botwin is a terrible, terrible drug dealer. She has always set her sights too high, and things have gone atrociously wrong every time. After a decade of selling pot, she has nothing to show for it. Well, except a Mexican son. But seriously, she’s broke as shit. She’s lost everything she has over and over again, but it never occurs to her to try out a new career. There are only so many times you can watch someone smash their face into a brick wall before it gets old, you know?
Fortunately, this is the last season of Weeds, so my toxic relationship with it will be over soon. Do I really care what happens to anyone on this show? Um, no. But a small part of me hopes Nancy will at least go out without starting up another operation that’s sure to fail. That would at least give me lukewarm feelings about the series’ conclusion instead of rage-y feelings. But I mean, this is Weeds, so what are the chances Nancy will finally make a reasonable, well-thought-out decision? Unfortunately, slim to none.