Tag Archives: ” Weeds

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.

NYC doesn’t care if drivers can’t see. “Weeds” and “The Big C” finish off with shockers. And in praise of Mayim Bialik, who is awesome

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This story made me fairly pissed.
New York state reversed a law enacted in 2000, and now will no longer require drivers to pass a vision test if they want to renew their license.
Yep, any old person can “self-certify” that their vision is good enough to see an onrushing tractor-trailer or a squirrel jumping out in the middle of the road.
Or, you know, a STOP SIGN!!!!!!!!
Nobody has ever listened to me about this, but I have always believed that after the age of 50, motorists should be required to re-take a road test every five years. I said this even before I lived in Florida for five years, the state with more old people driving than palm trees.
It’s ridiculous how easy it is to keep a driver’s license in America. And now, New York state has just made it even easier.
Good job.

A couple of my favorite TV shows ended their terrific seasons on Showtime on Monday night.
And since sometimes it takes me a few days to remember to write about stuff, I’m only telling you about them now on Friday.
First, “Weeds.” Loved, loved, LOVED “Weeds” this season. The last couple of years were kinda disappointing; the show lost a lot of the humor and the heart that it had the first four seasons, and it just got a little too ridiculous.
But this year was awesome. Heylia came back, Shane was blisteringly good in his role, and Mary-Louise Parker kicked her usual ass.
Loved the finale, with a giant compromise resulting in the Botwins and Nancy’s sister moving to Connecticut, and the final scene leaving a giant cliffhanger out there.
Before the season started, I was kinda hoping this would be the last season. Now, “Weeds” was so strong I’m hoping for more.
Even more shockingly good in its season finale was “The Big C.” I’ve said it on here several times; Laura Linney and this show are worth ordering Showtime by themselves. The finale of Season 2 about a woman slowly dying of cancer was a beautiful show, with an ending that literally had me sitting there with my mouth open and shouting “No!” (Oliver Platt is such a fantastic actor, isn’t he?)

Great, great, great ending to the show. Already looking forward to Season 3.

**OK, this will go without saying to anyone who watched “The Big Bang Theory” as religiously as I do: But Mayim Bialik absolutely positively slays me as Amy Farrah Fowler. Every time she’s on, she gets funnier and funnier.
She was very prominent in Thursday night’s episode, and killed as usual. I know the writing is a big part of why she’s so hilarious, but damn if our girl from “Blossom” doesn’t play Amy perfectly.
She has taken what was already a brilliant, hysterical show and made it so much better. I hope she’s on every episode from now on.
If you have never seen her, here’s a quick clip to give you an idea of her brilliance.

And, because who doesn’t miss “Blossom,” here you go…

Riffing on “Hard Knocks” and “Weeds.” And Fox News, oh, Fox News

Watched two fantastic TV shows Wednesday night, two of my favorites.

Episode 3 of “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets” on HBO was

outstanding. So much good stuff packed into an hour. Rex Ryan losing his mind in excitement over a big hit by a Jets rookie named Chauncey Washington. The human drama of a player tearing his Achilles and being out for the rest of the season now. The hilarity of linebacker Bart Scott asking if the magician hired for the team party can “pull (holdout Darrelle) Revis out of a hat.”

NFL Films and HBO do such a magnificent job with this show, completely bringing you inside the locker room. I’m a little surprised they haven’t focused more on guys like Jason Taylor and Braylon Edwards, but otherwise, it’s been fantastic, with two more episodes to go.

And then there was “Weeds,” the second episode of the new season. I love how they seem to take this show in a new direction every year. Frankly, I was getting a little sick of Esteban and his goons (though somehow I really wish Helia and Conrad, from the first few seasons, would come back. They were hilarious).

Great episode of  “Weeds” this week, as the Botwins flee Mexico and become the Newmans. The scene with the bonfire, where they all burn their old identities while “Rabbi Andy” presides over the service? Freaking brilliant. I can’t wait to see what act of psychopathy (is that a word? Don’t think so) Shane will pull next.

If you have Showtime and you’re not watching “Weeds,” shame on you. If you don’t have Showtime, get it just to watch “Weeds.” It’s subversive and brilliant.

**Finally, sometimes Jon Stewart’s material just writes itself.  Fox News tried to get its audience all whipped up about a shady Saudi Arabian billionaire who is “funding” the New York City Ground Zero Muslim community center.

Except, he’s the same guy who’s Rupert Murdoch’s partner in News Corp. Oops. Watch and enjoy:

“Rescue Me” and “Weeds” sign off in style

Rescueme1

So for most people who watch TV, the summer is the boring, slow, nothing-on time.

For me, it’s when the best stuff is aired. My two favorite shows left on air (since ABC stupidly killed “Dirty Sexy Money,” and yeah, I’ll get over it eventually) both ended fantastic seasons the last two nights, and since I can’t call every one of you and discuss the season finales of “Rescue Me” and “Weeds,” well, that’s what this blog is for!

Warning: If you’re a fan of the shows and haven’t seen the season finales, you might wanna stop reading here until you’ve seen them. Because I’m gonna be talking about the shocking endings of both. OK, we now resume our regularly scheduled blog.

My first thought: They’re not really going to kill Tommy Gavin, are they?

After so many near-misses, after he survived a hundred building explosions, and Sheila drugging him and setting his house on fire, and all the other times he should’ve been killed, this is how they’re going to kill Tommy? With crazy Uncle Teddy shooting him and then not letting anyone go for help?

It’s delicious to think they might have Denis Leary’s lead character die, and then have him come back and haunt people as some sort of revenge for Jimmy Keefe and Jesus and his son Connor (Tommy’s son, not Jesus’, that sentence sounded weird so I wanted to clarify) haunting him all these years.

But they’re not going to kill Tommy. Leary and co-creator Peter Tolan admitted as much in an interview I just read on TV Guide. They’ll find some way to keep him alive.

Still, pretty freakin’ great ending, to a great final episode of a great “Rescue Me” season. Before I go any further, I must pay homage again to Leary and the writers, for so many classic scenes and lines this year:

My three favorites have to be the “Sean’s penis has turned a different color, and everyone must weigh in,” the brilliantly written and acted scene where Lou completely turns the tables on Candy and steals all of her money and calls the cops on her (and the true beauty of that scene? We were waiting, waiting for Lou to turn on her, and finally get revenge. And just when I’d lost hope it was going to happen? BAM.),

And of course, the scene that had my wife and I laughing so hard we had to stop the DVR for 2 minutes, when Probie, Sean and Damian discuss “Carpe Diem” and Joba Chamberlain and Indians. You have to see it to believe it (and damn it I can’t find it on YouTube.)

Anyway, back to the season finale: I loved that finally someone said out loud why I’ve been wondering: Why are Sheila and Janet fighting so hard over Tommy?

Fantastic line, too by Maura Tierney’s character Kelly, about Sheila: “She’s like Joe Pesci with tits!” Perfect.

And the ending? Well, I guess it’s sort of coming full circle, though Teddy blaming Tommy for his wife’s death, because he was the bartender the night she got wasted, drove drunk and died, seemed a bit of a stretch. But Teddy’s always been a loose cannon, and his ending speech over a prone Tommy was picture-perfect.

Only 19 more episodes of “Rescue Me,” Leary and Tolan have announced; two more short seasons and the whole thing will be over.

I’m already missing the best show on TV.

Weeds

OK, “Weeds.” Shane Botwin just kicks so much ass I can’t even tell you.

All year, we’ve seen no-longer little Shane go through a lot of crap on “Weeds,” the most subversive show going for five seasons now.

Dude got shot, he held a knife to some other guys’ throat, and he watched one of Esteban’s goons beat the holy hell out of a golfer at a driving range. Shane has some issues, no doubt. Ever since the first season when he wrote the greatest “white boy rap” ever (I’d embed it but my Mom reads this blog), and then shot that wild bear or whatever the hell it was roaming Agrestic, I knew Shane had some violence in him.

But killing evil Mexican puppeteer druglord Pilar with a croquet mallet was just brilliant.

Also loved seeing Celia put together her own drug cartel, with the terminally underrated Sanjay back in the fold! Now if they’d just bring Helia and Conrad back to the show, I’d be really happy. Seeing teenager Isabelle declaring herself the “brains” of the operation was fabulous; no one there could argue.

And of course, Andy hasn’t grown at all; wimps out completely when the nut-job from the abortion clinic Audra works at shows up to terrorize them. I love Andy; they always give him the best lines but man I just wish once in a while he’d act like a grown up. Esteban, too, seemed wildly wussy-ish (is that word? probably not) this season; he’s supposed to be this big powerful drug lord, and yet he’s powerless to control anyone in his life.

Fabulous season for Weeds, can’t wait for it to come back, and God bless Mary-Louise Parker for being such a fabulous actress on such a fabulous show.

OK, I’m done.

Oh yeah, my tennis blog from the U.S. Open, Day 2, is up: Check it out: