Weeds - Season 4 (DVD, 2009, 3-Disc Set, Canadian)

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A major move and escalation make this risky comedy even riskier

Jun 8, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:writing, wit, Parker

Cons:jettisoning Conrad and Heylia, but keeping Doug

The Bottom Line: A lot more violence and less victimless crimes as the series moves to the Mexican border.


Season Three of the Showtime marijuana-dealing comedy "Weeds" ended with a Götterdamerung-like finale. At the start of Season Four Nancy Botwin )Mary-Louise Parker) and her sons Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould) and her dead husband's brother Andy (Justin Kirk) seek refuge at the house of the boys' dead father's grandmother near the beach in San Diego County. Their ne're-do-well (compulsive gambler) uncle Lenny (Albert Brooks) is living there. His mother is on a ventilator. In moments of near lucidity, she begs him (in Yiddish) to kill her.

Back in the Orange County (I think) suburb, everyone including her estranged husband and estranged daughter are colluding to blame the grow house that was Nancy's on Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), Agrestic's anti-drug crusader. Celia does not do well in jail and agrees to find and surveil Nancy for the DEA.

The action moves to both sides of the border with Nancy running a front smuggling operation, while Andy and his slimy pal (former Agrestic mayor) Doug (Kevin Nealon) become coyotes, smuggling aliens into the country.

As with dealing marijuana back in Agrestic, operations spiral into very dangerous, gangster-ridden businesses for Nancy. Celia soon has a major cocaine problem, and the boys (not just Shane and Silas, but Andy) lack supervision and get into dubious enterprises. In the last few episodes of the season, Nancy's ability to rationalize the trafficking in which she is complicit (far beyond marijuana) crumbles. How love (the Latin lover played by Demián Bichir) complicates matters I won't attempt to recount.

The shift in locale is a major shakeup. For me, the best aspect of it is that it has made the title credit "Little Boxes" theme music obsolescent (after the first episode of the series). This gives another two minutes to each episode and an opportunity to get the show name in creative ways.

The major loss for me is of some of my favorite characters. The gay Indian Sanjay (Maulik Pancholy) returns after a while, but Conrad (Romany Malco) and his mother Heylia (Tonye Patano) don't, fleeing some direction other than south.

I miss them, but continue to feel at least sympathy for Nancy. She has kept her biological family together and some of her nonbiological one, though putting them all at greater risks than ever, of which her sons dealing marijuana is far from being the gravest one. Andy discovers a mission and some sense of responsibility, which is fairly astounding. I know that Doug is supposed to be obnoxious, and have to consider that Kevin Nealon is doing a good acting job, though in my heart, I wish he'd been left behind in Nancy's flight south.

I sometimes felt sympathy for Celia in earlier seasons. She suffers major humiliations in Season Four and sometimes I feel guilty laughing at her. (A viewer can't laugh with her, 'cause she ain't laughin' though she tosses off very caustic one-liners.)

The thirteen episodes are on three DVD discs with a bunch of bonus features on the two discs with four episodes each. I was most entertained by the one on getting the logo somewhere in the opening minutes of each episode and one on artificing marijuana, both growing and processed forms of it.

There are some very witty lines in every episode and some painfully self-lacerating ones. Many of the episodes have cliff-hanger endings, as does the season (and its predecessors). Season 5 is starting on Showtime on Wednesday, only 8 days after the Season 4 DVD release. I'll wait until I can watch episodes back-to-back)-to back) on the next DVD set next summer.

©2009, Stephen O. Murray


Recommend this product? Yes

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