Monday, September 27, 2010

Weeding Out The Amateur TV Critics

Former drug czar Bill Bennett is right about the drug crisis -- a horrifying 40,000 U.S. dead each year from overdoses, according to a recent federal report -- but wrong about one of the best shows on television:
Back when our country was making a serious assault on drug abuse, a show like "Weeds" would never be aired. Today it is promoted in full page ads in our nation's most popular magazines. This, for a comedy about the life and times of a marijuana-growing and -dealing family. As the head of the network that produces and airs "Weeds" put it, "Our ratings were va-va-va-voom! Who said hedonism is passé?" This, for a show where one is lured to root for a family responsible for the death of a DEA agent, children dropping out of school, gang violence and rape.
I'm glad no one appointed Bennett culture czar, because he evidently doesn't understand that fictional characters don't have to be admirable in order to entertain and enlighten. Neither he nor the Showtime executive he quotes grasps what's really going on in series creator Jenji Kohan's laboratory for studying the consequences of twice-widowed drug dealer Nancy Botwin's (Mary-Louise Parker) poor decisions, especially as a mother. "Weeds" isn't promoting drug abuse or hedonism. It's exploiting the irresistible allure of watching an HD train wreck.


Rick Perlstein said...

You should have told this to that one guy who went after All in the Family...

Fr. John said...

Thanks, Rick. I blogged about that in March 2009, as a matter of fact. Please be my reader!