Despite popular perception, soccer mom sudser “Weeds” was floating around long before that other suburban-set soap “Desperate Housewives.”
Series creator Jenji Kohan, a former “Friends” writer, says the idea for her pot-selling mother — played by Mary-Louise Parker — came to her sometime in 1996 when a medical-marijuana initiative was on the ballot in California.
A passion project from the get-go, Kohan wanted to show she could be fiercer than her resume might indicate.
“What writer doesn’t dream of moving the medium he or she loves a little further down the line by attacking the idea that the hero of a show can’t be deeply flawed, or female; by attacking the old trope that when drugs are portrayed on television, the user must be punished or deviant or come to some epiphany that he or she was on the wrong track and now must see the light,” she says.
“Weeds” revolves around Nancy Botwin, a recently widowed housewife who has taken up selling marijuana to pay for her family’s suburban lifestyle. Elizabeth Perkins plays her close friend — a seemingly with-it PTA leader — and Justin Kirk (HBO’s “Angels in America”) plays her slacker brother-in-law and self-proclaimed ladies’ man, Andy.
In a way, “Weeds” strikes a resemblance to “Housewives” — both take a kind of “American Beauty” stance on suburbia, attempting to illustrate its hidden lives.
Of course, “Weeds” is on pay cable and can get away with a little more. “We get to say ‘fuck’ and show boobies and stoners. Whoopee!” Kohan quips.
She credits Showtime with agreeing to do the show “without wetting their pants.
“Fortunately, guts prevailed over caution, and we’ve been tipping sacred cows together ever since,” Kohan says.
Favorite episode: “The Godmother.” The season finale ended with a romantic cliffhanger: Nancy falls in love and consummates a relationship with single dad Peter (Martin Donovan) — and then finds out he’s an undercover DEA agent.
Favorite character: Kirk’s Andy Botwin, who steals most of the comedic thunder upon his arrival in episode four. Kohan calls Kirk “a gift from God.”
What should happen next season: The budding romance between Nancy and Peter practically writes itself, but here’s hoping that there’s still plenty of screen time for powerful supporting players Kirk, Perkins and Romany Malco.