On Sunday night, Showtime's Weeds finally burned out, after an eight-season run that helped establish the cable network as a hotspot for original programming and paved the way for Dexter, Californication, and Nurse Jackie. Since 2005, Weeds has chronicled the misadventures of suburbanite Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), who started selling marijuana after the unexpected death of her breadwinning husband. Though loyal viewers reliably stuck by Weeds, critics slammed its later seasons, complaining about increasingly far-fetched storylines. (Case in point: The time Nancy, having survived a sniper bullet to the head, ran afoul of a hospital clown selling marijuana-infused lollipops.) Speaking of farfetched: The series finale unexpectedly jumped forward eight years to an America where marijuana has been legalized, and Nancy is thinking of selling her wildly successful pot empire to Starbucks. Did the finale satisfy critics?
The series finale was solid enough: Though the flash-forward was arguably "random and facile," it let Weeds' writers achieve a "satisfying ending," says Jamie Peck at Crushable. And true to the show's consistently dense storylines, the series finale "crammed in an ending for nearly everyone we've ever met in this show's universe," which likely satisfied longtime fans. Plus, you've got to appreciate how the final scene, in which Nancy and her family share a joint, drove home Weeds' central theme: "This is one messed-up family that sticks together."
"Weeds crams a million years of exposition into tacked-on series finale"
Huh? The finale was an insult to Weeds fans: This episode "was pretty much everything I hate about television," and practically "slapped viewers in the face," says Matt Richenthal at TV Fanatic. The flash-forward was "lazy writing" that rendered the eighth season's rollercoaster of events irrelevant, making it "incredibly easy for the show to just tie everything up however it wanted." Fans who stuck with the show through years of highs and lows deserved better.
"Weeds series finale review: Anything but a high note"
It was an appropriately messy ending for a messy show: The finale was "a convoluted train wreck" — as befits a series that's been a train wreck for a while, says Myles McNutt at The A.V. Club. Weeds has spent so much time "tripping over itself that a rare moment of honest, emotional character work seems almost too good to be true." And yet, the finale did manage such moments, making Nancy's relationship with son Silas and ex-brother-in-law/unrequited love Andy feel compelling. Too bad those scenes were "surrounded by a messy and distracting future." In the end, though, the finale provided closure: "It made me feel as though my journey with Weeds was over."
"Weeds: It's time"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- Could better U.S.-Cuban relations thwart baseball's human smuggling problem?
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week