The Straight Dope on 'Weeds'
Mary-Louise Parker promises more complications in season two
Then she slept with Peter, and, in the final shot of the season, discovered he works for the DEA.
So maybe Nancy (Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker) still has some issues to work out, which she'll start doing when "Weeds" begins its second season on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET Monday. The coming season will find Nancy continuing to deal with a shaky home life and looking to become a grower as well as a dealer, despite a dangerous involvement with Peter (Martin Donovan).
You know, typical single-mom stuff.
"I think she enjoys the adrenaline of it, and I think she's grown to enjoy it," Parker says of her character's chosen career path, which she took up following her husband's death. "I don't think she necessarily knew that about herself."
As for why she stays in such a risky line of work, Parker says, "I don't think she's the most rational person, you know?"
Although it's essentially a comedy, "Weeds" doesn't shy from exploring the darker sides of Nancy's life. Few other series, for example, would have a character try to fake his way into rabbinical school to avoid serving in Iraq (that would be Nancy's brother-in-law, Andy, played by Justin Kirk) or have a 10-year-old kid (Alexander Gould as Nancy's son Shane) purposely acting out in school to convince his mom he needs antidepressants.
Parker wouldn't have the show be any other way. "I don't know how to approach anything as a straight-out comedy or a straight-out drama," she says. "It's just life as life, and sometimes it tips one way darker than the other.
"I think [the show] does have the potential to go pretty dark. I think actually within that darkness is where a lot of great comedy is born. It's not going to be very interesting to me to play if things stay safe."
Parker says she has the most fun playing scenes that put Nancy in the greatest jeopardy, physically or, more often, emotionally ("I like it when it's very dramatic and things are going very badly," she says). She should be having a great deal of fun, then, with Nancy's involvement with Peter, which takes a huge turn at the end of this season's third episode.
"I'm not allowed to [talk about it] because every time I start to somebody kind of sweeps in and says I'm not supposed to," Parker says. "But I think I am allowed to say that it gets dark."
Despite the off-center approach, "Weeds" has become one of Showtime's most popular shows, and it's gotten its share of love from critics and awards-show voters as well -- the show is up for five Emmys later this month. For all that, though, Parker can't quite put her finger on what makes the show appealing.
"I don't know," she says. "Tonye Patano [who plays Nancy's supplier, Heylia] said something kind of interesting. She said you don't really know what it is, but you kind of can't not watch it."