Weeds in its first three seasons was an excellent show—it was well-written, clever satire with multifaceted and funny characters. Its send-up of the rhetoric and culture of suburbia was funny and pointed and coherent. Celia was a hilarious and capable antagonist, and I loved that the older het white men on the show—Doug, Andy, and Dean—were strongly characterized as inept and lazy. In contrast to the class and race privileged characters in Agrestic, Heylia James and her nephew Conrad Shepherd, the pot dealers who gave Nancy her start in the business, were funny, sympathetic, and competent. They were easy to root for, while Nancy made irresponsible decisions by the dozens. Heylia and Conrad took themselves and their ambitions as individuals seriously, and handled themselves and their business adroitly.
I’m not alone in thinking that Weeds has fallen hard in recent years. The basic thesis of the show in its fourth and fifth season seems to be "everything falls to shit, and Mexico and Mexican folks are every awful stereotype you’ve ever heard." All but the most clearly and slowly spelled out motivations of the characters are completely unintelligible. It’s not very funny, and doesn’t put sexism or racism or classism in any kind of critical context. The greatest indicator of this steep drop in quality is the complete and total erasure of Heylia and Conrad. Much to the show’s detriment, these two fine characters have been abandoned, literally never mentioned at all after the end of the third season.
I read a lot, and in my perusal of the Interweb today I came across several international television commercials that had me wrinkling my nose, furrowing my brow, and rolling my eyes. I’m not easily offended, and really, I’m not sure it’s a feeling of offense that has me writing this post. It is more a response to my disappointment with the lack of creativity on the part of advertisers, feeling of boredom with their attempts at sensationalism, and surprise at the lack of sensitivity regarding a recent act of terrorism that has had global repercussions.
Margaret Cho explores body image and self-love in her new television series Drop Dead Diva. I recently watched the pilot episode and spoke to Cho about her involvement in the show. The first person to be cast, Cho believes DDD has the opportunity to reach a diverse audience with the message that fat women’s beauty is not just internal.