Pour one out to Showtime’s Weeds, y’all. But not the good stuff. The show no longer deserves it. However, as we reflect upon last night’s weak, bummer of a series finale, let’s remember the good times: The first three seasons. It was once a great show. A darkly funny show. A show with a small universe of fantastic characters who all lived in the nice suburban town of Aggrestic, where a widowed suburban mom by the name of Nancy Botwin became a small-time pot dealer in order to support her family with the help of her quirky brother-in-law, Andy.
That show looked like this:
Remember this show? Remember Doug, the hilarious pothead neighbor who smoked up with Andy. He was also an accountant who helped Nancy launder money through a bakery shop. Then there was Silas, who was an angsty suburban teenager, and then Shane, the odd but precocious younger brother with a sinister streak.
We’ve come so far since then, almost entirely to the detriment of Jenji Kohan’s show. I will give Kohan this much credit, however: At the end of season three, she knew that the smaller-scare suburban premise had been completely exhausted. The thing to do, then, would’ve been to cancel the show. But in America, we don’t cancel shows at the top of their game. We let them run until they’re creatively bankrupt.
So, Nancy Botwin went from anti-hero to sex villain: She married the mayor of Mexico City, who was also the leader of a drug cartel. She was responsible for a lot of people’s deaths. Hell, even her son, Shane, killed someone. Nancy turned into a horrible, uncaring mother, and a pretty terrible all-around person. She neglected her family. She screwed over Andy every other episode. She had sex with Zack Morris. Then was there season on the lam; then she spent some time in jail and got herself a lesbian lover. Then she got shot in the head, but survived. Then she moved back to the suburbs to help raise her son, Stevie, who she had with the now dead drug kingpin.
Though she tried to go straight, the allure of pot kept bringing her back. Eventually, her and Silas struck a deal with big tobacco to turn their pot-growing expertise into a corporate enterprise; Shane became a crooked cop; Doug found a tax loophole for religious exemptions and started his own cult; and Andy finally got some sense and left Nancy.
That brings us, more or less, to last night’s one-hour finale. It zoomed ahead into the future, about seven or eight years or so, and centered on the bar mitzvah of little Stevie, now grown up and on the brink of manhood. It was excuse enough to bring back the whole gang once again and see how they’re doing in the future.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes:
Nancy Botwin — After Andy left, she married the rabbi she met in the final season (he would later die in a car accident). She and Silas, along with Conrad and some more people from their suburban past, grew their pot-selling dispensaries into a franchise. In the finale, Nancy has to weigh whether or not to sell it to Starbucks and retire with enough money for 10 lifetimes. She eventually does agree to sell, making her, Silas, Conrad and Guillermo very rich people.
Andy Botwin — After Andy left Nancy, he moved away and into his father’s old house. He found suburban happiness, opened a restaurant, made a baby with a waitress friend, and became a loving, drama-free father. Nancy attempted to persuade Andy to come back — offering him her entire business — but Andy declined. It was heartening to see that Andy finally got out of that poisonous, destructive relationship for good.
Silas Botwin — Remember Megan Graves, the deaf girl that Silas purposely impregnated back in season two by poking a hole in his condom in an effort to keep her from dumping him? Well, at the end of the penultimate episode, he had a chance encounter with her. Now, they’re married, they have a baby, and they lead a happy life together.
Shane Botwin — Poor Shane. The troubled kid ended up with the worst ending. He got in with the wrong people on the police force (specifically Detective Ouellette), ended up dating some floozy (played by real-life drug addict, Natasha Lyonne), and turned to drugs. He’s bitter because he’s poor while the rest of his family is super wealthy. In the finale, Nancy convinced Shane to enter rehab and get his life together.
Doug Wilson — Doug became a very wealthy cult leader with a harem of women, a huge following, and a tour bus. In the finale, he also made amends with his estranged and gay son, Josh (Shameless’ Justin Chatwin), who hasn’t been seen since the pilot episode of Weeds.
Dean Hodes — Dean was in the finale, too, but mostly he was there to bring us the news that his lesbian daughter, Isabal, is now his son, Bob, and he’s in construction. No mention was made of Celia.
Little Stevie — Stevie found out from Guillermo that his real father was a gangster, which he proudly revealed during a bah mitvah speech in which he also revealed that he refused to declare a religious allegiance. Nancy also granted him his wish to go off to boarding school and find himself.
The episode ended with this lingering image, of the five major players sitting on the porch, smoking a joint and laughing together.
And if you’re curious, the final episode also began with the original “Little Boxes.” However, of all the versions from the show, my favorite was Steve Martin and Kevin Nealon’s version.