A TV blog: Why “Weeds” is limping toward the finish line, and I’m giving up on “The Newsroom.” And an interesting study about who gives to charity

Time for one of my occasional TV rants as I wait for the return of the best show currently on TV, “Homeland” on Showtime on Sept. 30. (Seriously folks, this show is worth the price of Showtime alone. It’s fantastic and I keep trying to convert people; my latest conquest is my mother and stepfather, who are halfway through Season 1 and are totally riveted.)

So I’ve been hot and cold on “Weeds” for a few seasons now. The first four seasons of the show were fantastic, dark and hilarious. Then it drifted for two years, getting silly and even more implausible then ever before. Last year the writers brought it back to brilliance, and I had high hopes for the final season, season 8, currently airing.
But man, after a strong first few episodes, “Weeds” has stunk lately. The Jennifer Jason Leigh character, Nancy’s sister, is so unlikeable and stupid you just don’t feel bad when things happen to her. They’ve totally tried to have it both ways with Nancy; after her shooting, she supposedly wants to “change her ways,” and live better and not sell drugs anymore and be a good person.

Only two episodes later, she’s sleeping with a doctor so he’ll buy the pills she’s hawking as a pharmaceutical rep. Totally inconsistent with any human behavior.
Plus, they’ve made Andy an even more aimless fool than before, and Kevin Nealon’s Doug, well, he’s been an awful character for years.

Just frustrating to see “Weeds” go out like this, when it was once so irreverent and brilliant.

And now a few words about “The Newsroom.”

I’ve officially given up. Aaron Sorkin, I don’t know who has inhabited your body and made you write this drivel, where people in your shows do and act and say such incredibly stupid things, and we’re supposed to like them anyway. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve never met a woman, anywhere, who would act like your female characters do.

And I dislike Jeff Daniels’ character, Will, more each week. Picking MacKenzie’s ex-boyfriend to write a story about him in last week’s episode was the last straw; he’s just an ass.

I know the season’s not over yet, but I’m done. What an incredible waste of time and talent “The Newsroom” has become. Just sad.

**Finally today, I thought this story I heard on NPR was illuminating. A new study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that on the whole, people with lower incomes donate to charity a much bigger share of their income than those in the upper income class.

Households with incomes of $50,000-$75,000 donate on average 7.6 percent of their discretionary income. That’s compared with about four percent for those with incomes of $200,000 or more.
The people who ran the study said that religious giving is a big part of the discrepancy; every gives at church, and all that.

But they also found high-income people who live in economically diverse neighborhoods give more on average than high-income people who live in wealthier neighborhoods.
I’d like to think the reasons for the discrepancy is deeper than that. I don’t think wealthy people are a bunch of greedy bastards who don’t care about the underprivileged; not at all. There are tons of millionaires and billionaires who give generously.

No, I think the disparity may come from this, and this is just my five-cent spitballing opinion:Maybe people with lower incomes know how much a little charity can help, and know the difference a few dollars can make. Maybe they were once in that situation and were helped, and maybe they feel the tug of obligation just a little bit more.

Who knows. Either way, it’s a very interesting story.

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