"Just because you're crazy and we're crazy does not mean we are related."
So, to give a quick summary of my Weeds season one review, the show is one of the best currently on TV and everyone needs to watch it, period. Right, so, with that out of the way, let's get ready for season two. This year we get more of just about everything. More comedy, more drama, more weed and more awesomeness.
If you may recall, season one ended (and yes, I am going to give away a spoiler; you really shouldn't read this review without seeing the first season) with Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) discovering that her love interest Peter (Martin Donovan) is a DEA agent. This occurs concurrently with her decision to go from dealer to farmer with her business partner Conrad (Romany Malco), her accountant Doug (Kevin Nealon), and her lawyer, Dean (Andy Milder), who happens to be the husband of her best friend, Celia (Elizabeth Perkins). Her mooch of a brother-in-law, Andy (Justin Kirk) is also along for the ride, while simultaneously attempting to enroll in a Rabbinical school to avoid serving in the U.S. Army. Nancy's eldest son, Silas (Hunter Parrish) is happily dating Megan (Shoshannah Stern). Trouble starts when Megan gets into Princeton, which lies across the country, because Silas wants to be with Megan after high school and doesn't have the grades to get into Princeton. Nancy's youngest, Shane (Alexander Gould), has problems of his own as he begins to hit puberty.
In other words, there's already plenty going on just starting out. And this season gets much darker than the last. For example, Silas decides to control his problem with Megan by purposely piercing a condom with a needle, thus getting her pregnant, which he hopes will force her to stay with him. And that's actually not the bleakest storyline here. The show takes some surprising turns, although none of them feel forced or unnatural. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but many of the events that take place make you wonder how much of a moral vacuum Nancy is allowing into her life by selling drugs, and how much of that affects the people around her. That's not to say the show hits you over the head with a "selling drugs is WRONG!" message, far from it. But it does linger on the idea that Nancy's decisions means that she now has to find a different moral compass than most people, and that changes what she feels is permissible and what isn't.
However, that isn't to say the show has become dreary. As a matter of fact, the writing is even more sharply hilarious and surreal this time out. New developments with Celia and Doug, where Celia decides to run for Doug's city council seat, leads to plenty of brilliant scenes. Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins play off each other so well. Nealon steals practically every scene he's in. It's obvious he's both making the most of the material given to him while also throwing in improvisations that are so good that they always end up making the cut. Also, a new addition to the cast brings a whole lot of hilarity with her: Zooey Deschanel. Now, you may not know this, but when Zooey Deschanel smiles, an angel gets its wings. And when her character, Kat, gives a handjob to Andy while discussing how many felonies she's committed, it creates a whole new dimension called The Land of Amazing. In other words, she's completely unhinged in a role that allows her to indulge in her weirdest tendencies. And it's hypnotic. And eye-poppingly funny.
That's not to take any credit away from Mary-Louise Parker, who is both the anchor and the heart and soul of Weeds. Her accomplished performance from last season is only strengthened and deepened here. I'm not joking when I say this is the best work she's ever done. But really, everyone in the cast brings their "A" game. Romany Malco expands on his character a thousand-fold, bring all kinds of new facets to Conrad. Justin Kirk continues to be gut-wrenchingly funny as Andy, both with the Kat storyline and others. Elizabeth Perkins tones down her bitchiness somewhat, although she wouldn't be Celia if she wasn't making somebody miserable.
I really could go on forever about how great Weeds, listing every line, look, and moment that makes me love it. And you might even read it, but why would you when you could buy the show and see it for yourself? Weeds rocks and I can't get enough of it.
The Blu-ray Disc:
Lionsgate presents Weeds in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer. The results are significantly better than season one. The shots are far more consistent this time around (probably due to a longer production schedule thanks to the show being a hit), with a lot less digital noise. The image does still look a little oversaturated, but I believe this was how the original broadcast looked as well. There were no artifacts I could detect. A very pleasing image.
Somewhat shockingly, Lionsgate has created a 7.1 uncompressed PCM track for this season of Weeds. I say surprisingly because a vast majority of PCM mixes are in 5.1, and because Weeds is one of the last shows to benefit from such a track. After all, despite a little action that occurs from Peter being a DEA agent, the show is pretty much a whole lot of conversation. Although I must say, it's heavenly to hear Zooey Deschanel's voice in uncompressed 7.1. The disc sounds pretty good, with some ambient effects being thrown to the rears, but overall, this isn't a big budget action movie, and it doesn't sound like one. Of course, it's great to have uncompressed tracks as a standard for both new formats, so I'm certainly not complaining, and all the dialogue is always right upfront and never hard to hear. Also offered is a Dolby Digital EX 5.1 track.
- Commentaries on "Corn Snake" and "Pittsburgh" by Jenji Kohan: It does seem bizarre that the lady who created such a distinctive and compulsively entertaining show would be so utterly boring to listen to. But it's true. Through the season's opening and closing episodes, Kohan gives us a collection of sleep-inducing anecdotes combined with descriptions of what's actually happening on screen. Tiresome.
- Commentary on "Cooking With Jesus" By Craig X: Craig X, the real-life medical marijuana expert returns. He mentions in the beginning that many people sent him letters saying how funny they found his commentary on the previous set, and it feels here like he's trying a little too hard to get some more of that fan mail. At times he is genuinely funny, but he repeats his best jokes a few times too many.
- Commentary on "A.K.A. The Plant" by Matthew Salsberg and Leb. L. Spiro: I don't know if these two have worked together before, but they sure sound like it, as they easily toss jokes back and forth with each other while still taking the time to point out the intricacies of the scenes.
- Commentary on "MILF Money" by Romany Malco: Romany Malco is just a flat-out funny person. It almost doesn't matter what he's talking about; it'll be funny. True to form, his commentary on the set is just brilliant. Listen to this the moment you're done watching the episodes.
- Commentary on "Bash" with Kevin Nealon: Kevin Nealon is another naturally humorous person, and he delivers the goods in his commentary. Nealon is a wry observationalist, taking the smallest actions and spinning them in unexpected ways. I love it.
- Commentary on "Yeah. Like Tomatoes" by Roberto Benabib and Craig Zisk: These two liked to point out how it was to work with the actors and really dig into their performances.
- Conrad's Grow Room: As you might have gathered by now, one of the main storylines this season is that Nancy and Conrad being farming their own weed in what they dub "the grow house." This featurette has Romany Malco introducing several experts on how to make your own hydroponic "tomato garden." Craig X also appears, being much funnier than in his commentary. Malco steals the show, however, especially with some opening comments about how much he loves gardening.
- Trivia Tracks: This is something Lionsgate likes to do. Pop-up video style trivia tidbits appear during the episodes,
often about things not related to the show.
- MILF Gag Reel: A short but cute series of behind the scenes goofs and jokes. A little too many shots of people making funny faces, but there's some worthwhile material here, as well.
- Test Your Short Term Memory: Literally a game of memory with a decidedly marijuana-themed look. A BD-J Blu-ray exclusive.
- Huskeroos Commercials: Celia's daughter gets a job as the new "Huskeroos" girl. Huskeroos are a "large size" clothing company on the show. Commercials are in English and Spanish.
- Cream of the Crop: Craig X shows off his favorite strains of weed. He really knows what he's talking about.
- Jammin' Nation Extended Performance: The annoying reggae band from the marijuana convention early in the season gets the spotlight here.
- Slangin' 101: A collection of weed-related slang. Sometimes they even offer the meaning of the words.
- "Little Boxes" Montage: Several covers of "Little Boxes" (the show's theme song) set to promotional images from the show.
- Tools of the Trade: Photos of various items you might need should you decide to become a professional pot smoker.
Weeds season two is just something wonderful. Take everything great from last season, and then add even more on top. Finish it up with a little cherry I like to call Zooey Deschanel, and you've got a winning dish. The picture and sound here are as good as they're ever gonna get, and there are a ton of extras too. Highly Recommended.
Daniel Hirshleifer is the High Definition Editor for DVD Talk.