Jerry Finds a Lady; I’m Not So Sheepish After All

Remember last year when I was all, “Jerry Seinfeld thinks only people with penises are funny and that kinda makes me torqued and I think maybe I’m a feminist but I’m not sure because I don’t know what that means exactly“? Well…it’s time for an update.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - Season 2, Ep 1

Season 2 of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee launches today and—lo and behold—Jerry found a lady comedian. (Sarah Silverman to be precise.) Was that so hard, Jerry?

I mean sure, it took you a whole season of dudes before you were able to search the world for ONE female comedian, but hey, one is better than none I suppose. It’s a teeny bit disappointing that, by the looks of the trailer, Ms. Silverman is the sole female comedian of the season (gack!), but I guess I’ll try to let it slide. We can be friends again. I know you’ve missed me.

And I have to admit, a lot of good has come for me out of Seinfeld’s missteps. It was his omission of the female gender that got me thinking about what’s important to me, and what it means for women to be underrepresented in basically ALL OF THE THINGS. It got me thinking about what kind of world I want my daughters to live in. It got me thinking about what I’m willing to fight for. It got me feeling that maybe I’ll take on the label of “feminist,” with whatever judgements and assumptions it might come with.

Because you know what? It sucks that women are being raped in alarming numbers in our military. It sucks that Disney feels the need to give strong female characters big boobs, small waists and perfect hair. It sucks that we pigeonhole the crap out of kids when it comes to their toys. It sucks that some people are totally on board with domestic violence. (WTH, people?!)

I think about all that stuff and it makes it a lot easier to toss aside the sheepishness and use my voice, however small, to make the world a tiny bit less puketastic. It’s a good use of time. If I wasn’t doing feminist things I’d probably just be playing online poker or eating too many cookies, so no big deal.

So that’s where I’m at now. I figured it’s only fair to let Jerry know that I see and appreciate his efforts. And I want to let you know, dear readers, that I’m a feminist for good. A miserably pregnant, sassy, loud-mouthed feminist. So, you know, watch out for that.

And what are YOU up to? Let’s all catch up in the comments, k?

Let’s Pretend I’m Really Cool

You should go buy this book.

Last night I got to go see Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) read some of her recent, New-York-Times-Best-Seller-Phenom-Amazing book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” If you’ve never read her, stop reading this immediately and go read her instead. You can come back later when you have the proper amount of humor in your life.

Done? Good.

Anyway, so I was all excited to go to the reading, because she’s hilarious (as you now know), and charming, and I just thought it would be super fun to actually see her in person. I was going solo, so I brought my camera to record all the hub-bub, and write this post to fill you in. Because I care.

I was all ready to be cool, meet some folks, say something kind and witty and flash a winning smile at Jenny while she signed my book and then I’d be on my way, feeling awesome about my ability interact with other humans.

Lovely plan. Slightly deterred by the fact that the second I stepped out of my car all of my social skills seemed to have dropped out of my body on to the pavement, where they were run over by a white truck.

Uh oh.

Not to be shaken, I grabbed my camera and thought, “If I can get in a groove with shooting, I can hide behind the camera and no one will be the wiser.” So I immediately set about taking pictures of the Barnes and Noble store, and the poster hanging in the window. Well, that is to say, I did that after I got myself untangled from whatever sailor’s knot I had unwittingly tied around myself with my camera strap and my purse strap. That struggle lasted longer than you might imagine for an adult.

After fighting my way free of the things I put on my body myself, I popped inside, found the book, wandered around then—lo!—discovered that even though I was nearly an hour early, there were no more seats to be had. The woman is VERY popular. Because she’s kind of kick ass. The fine folks at the Barnes and Noble store were unaware of this, apparently. The 25 chairs they managed to grab from their cousin’s house (I assume) weren’t really going to cut it. So then I scurried over to buy my book (yay!) (oh, wait…dang! Full price hard back is pretty pricey. Oh well. Yay!), and to try to find a good perch.

I came across two lovely ladies that contributed to the HOPE 2012 Relay (hi Shelly and Erica!) and exchanged some awkward mumbling of some kind, but tried to make up for it with a hug. (Hugging makes up for awkwardness, right? Or perhaps it makes for more awkwardness. Shrug.)

And then I took pictures of metal chickens. There were LOTS of chickens. Because of this.

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And after the chickens, I thought I’d take a pic of everyone holding up their books. So I went up front, and said, “Hey, can everyone hold up their books so I can take a picture?” Which everyone seemed on board for, so I should have stopped there, but then I continued, “I mean, you don’t have to…I’m a stranger and you totally don’t have to do what I say,” and a couple of people lowered their books a little, and then I said, “but it’s awesome and you should and so…” and then finally just snapped the picture because I could tell I was losing them because I wouldn’t SHUT MY TALK HOLE.

Let’s back up to the chicken thing. During the Q&A, I managed to raise my hand and ask a somewhat coherent question, which was, “What is your favorite part about publishing a book, and having it sell so well, and now being on tour?” Her answer was basically that she loves the community that has been created around her work and her openness about mental illness (anxiety, depression, OCD, self-harm, etc.). Which brings me back to the chickens. People that read Jenny’s work are in love with her, and with each other. Which might sound strange and cult-y, but it’s not. One of the very first things I noticed is that there’s no judgement in the room. None. People laughed A LOT. They smiled. They took pictures with chickens. They were just open, accepting, and awesome. And that was all before Jenny even got there! It was a weird and magical feeling, and—yeah—I can see why that would be her favorite part. It’s really, really special.

So Jenny read a section of her book (like a boss, I might add), did the Q&A, and then it was time to line up for the signing. It was a LONG line. So, I had a long time to think about the perfect thing to say to make her feel appreciated without being slobbery with my emotions, and funny, but not too funny like I was trying to pander for laughs or anything. I considered telling her about/apologizing for sending her a facebook message in all caps (True story. It seemed like a funny thing to do at the time.), but quickly decided against it.

It’s possible that I was over thinking it, because by the time I got up there, I handed her my book, then just started taking pictures like a paparazzo on meth, then apologized for that, and she said it was okay and that she has photographer friends that do the same thing, and then I kinda didn’t respond because I maybe forgot she was talking to me and then I realized THAT so I said, “Heh. Heh,” which is more sounds than words, and then I said, “It was great meeting you, my name’s Melanie—but you know that because you signed my book—and I know who you are, so there’s that, and travel safely, and thanks for coming to,” and this is the worst part, “SUNNY SAN DIEGO.”(Ohmigod I don’t even say “sunny San Diego.” Like, ever. Because I’m not a 92-year-old man.)

She smiled and said thanks graciously.

And that’s the story of me being SUPER COOL.

(Bonus? When I got home, I ripped the title page trying to remove the post-it. Because I wasn’t done being awesome.)

Okay, tell me stories about you looking being übs cool. Blogging is a two-way street, after all. Get a-drivin’.

Shirley the Sheepish Feminist

So, I think I’m a feminist. Maybe. Kinda. Probably a lot. I’m not sure. Honestly, I’m not terribly schooled in women’s studies or the feminist movement, so I’m kinda wingin’ it here. So, I think I should do what I always do when I’m unsure about something: ask Google.

Asking Google: Am I a feminist?

Google, in its omniscience, directed me to Wikipedia, which says that

A feminist is “an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women.”[3]

and also that

Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

and

They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women.

By those parameters, I’d absolutely say I’m a feminist. Why do I have this lingering feeling that “feminist” is a dirty word? Where did I get that from? Because, really, I can’t NOT want equality for women. I can’t NOT want to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. And, by golly, I think that women should have rights in the workplace, and that boobs shouldn’t keep them from getting good jobs, and that they should have the same pay opportunities as their dude counterparts. These are all no-brainers…so why am I such a chicken about it?

I’d like to be Melanie the Magnificent Feminist, but…I’m not really magnificent. I’m more kind of terrified. And timid. I’m more Shirley the Sheepish Feminist (not that Shirleys are weak, I just like alliteration.) It sucks.

Case in point: I’m so sad to say it, but I’m kinda pissed off at Jerry Seinfeld.

And I like that guy a lot. I think he’s really funny and awesome. I loved Comedian (have you seen it? It’s good.). In it, Seinfeld is humble and hard-working, even after years of his staggering success. He connects with his craft in a really beautiful way. And he’s hilarious. There’s no arguing that. It’s a pretty kick-ass flick.

But then…he comes out with his new show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” which premieres on Crackle.com tomorrow. It’s a simple show that looks really funny—it’s Seinfeld driving around with different comedians, getting coffee and chatting. I’m sure there will be GREAT moments in the show. But as I watched the two trailers for it, I noticed something was missing: women. There’s more than half a dozen comedians in the trailers and not a single one is female.

Really? Shouldn’t it be called “Dude Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”? Or “Comedians with Penises in Cars Getting Coffee”? I mean, just to be clear about it? Because there are a ton of funny women out there. Funny women that Seinfeld has worked with over the years.

Where are the women?!

And this is about where I start to feel pretty sheepish about things. I hear that voice pipe up that says that I shouldn’t need to see women everywhere. Why is it important to have women in a silly comedy show? Why does it matter? Can’t Seinfeld just do what he wants? Aren’t you being too sensitive? (Also, you can’t be funny and witty and fun AND be a feminist. Everyone knows feminists are a bunch of downers.)

And, I dunno. Maybe I am being too sensitive. Like I said, I’m a terrible feminist—I’m just starting to really explore it. But I’ve got this feeling in my gut that if one of the best comedians of the last 30 years has a show that highlights other comedians that he deems valuable, and none of them are women, the message is that women aren’t capable of being in that class of talent; women don’t make the cut. And I hear that message all too much.

After the message that we don’t make the cut, comes the message that we’re lesser-than. And after that, it’s that we should be sexy to get what we want. Then it’s that if you’re sexy, you should expect to get ogled. And then…and then after that…? The path is long, and windy, and shitty, and it paves the way for girls and women everywhere to think less of themselves; to expect less for themselves; and to silently take abuse. It’s a tired song and I’m sick of hearing it. What’s more, I don’t want my daughter to ever hear it.

So, even with that voice inside telling me to pipe down and stop being such an entitled shrew, I just can’t do it. It bothers me. I want to see women succeeding and being valued so that I can feel like I can succeed too. I want my daughter (hell, all daughters) to grow up in a world that doesn’t limit women, define them, reduce them or abuse them because of their gender.

And so I’m posting this complaint about the ab-fab Jerry Seinfeld and his inability to hunt down even one, good, female comedian. Come on, Jerry. You can do it. Please, oh, please prove me wrong on this one. Don’t be one of those guys.

What do you think? Am I being “too sensitive” or is this something we’re way overdue in changing? Cough up those opinions, peeps.

The Parent’s Survival Guide to Theme Parks

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be a Long, Long Time)

Photo by Paul Sapiano @ Flickr

I had the super fun opportunity to go to some of the coolest theme parks in Orlando this past week. (We’ve got people watchin’ our stuff, robbers, so don’t think you can break into our crappy apartment and steal our…um…Ikea cheese grater, okay?)

We had a GREAT time. We spent a load of time with my in-laws who are the best in-laws on the planet. Good people to the last drop. You know those kind? They’re awesome.

Anyway, as I was saying, we had an amazing time. Theme parks can be really cool and fun and exciting…all the adjectives you would want out of a vacay. I realized a few days into the deal, though, that your chances of having a good theme park vacation and having a bad theme park vacation are about 50/50. And man, hell hath no fury like a parent who shelled out a pile of money to amuse their children, only to find said children throwing a fit over whatever is upsetting them at the moment. I can’t tell you how many bug-eyed parents I saw genuinely losing their crap at their tiny, glitter-dusted, sugar-fueled tyrant cruise directors. It was…intense.

So, as I am wont to do, I thought I’d put together some tips for theme park survival. I know, I know—I’m just so danged helpful.

#1 – Don’t Forget Who Your Children Are

No matter how magical the destination, your children are still the same people you interact with at home. Whatever limits or frustrations or shortcomings they have at home will still be there at whatever theme park you’ve sold your blood to. And let’s face it, kids are 10 parts cute, 90 parts insane, and remembering that is just about the only way to make it as a parent. So when they’re all angry and unimpressed and tired and needy and full of sugar-rage, don’t be surprised. Be prepared. In fact, make a pact that when your kid melts down, you get a cookie or a beer or whatever your vice is (you’re on vacation, right?). That way, their negative means a positive for you. Yay! (But not too many beers, okay? Don’t be that guy. Drunken parent guy is…disturbing.)

#2 – Don’t Let Those Commercials Fool You

All the commercials for theme parks are filled with slow-mo scenes of parents and children laughing and running and staring doe-eyed at the wonder of life while fireworks burst and genteel birds float down to grace their shoulders as the sun sets in the distance. That crap does NOT happen. Like, to anyone. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 1.5 minutes of awesome, never-want-to-forget moments and the rest will be a combination of exhaustion, frustration, bewilderment and sugar withdrawals (why is there so much freaking sugar around?!). That’s fine. It’s totally fine. Hunt for those 1.5 minutes like Cap’n Jack looking for the Black Pearl. And when you find them, hold on to them tight. Loving the good moments will get you through the mediocre-to-pitiful moments. And, you know what? Just lower the bar. Be okay having a low-key pleasant vacation. Don’t make big, elaborate plans for milking the park for every penny you gave them. What’s that saying? Making plans is the surest way to hear God laugh? Or the surest way to give yourself an aneurism? Whatever it is, the point is—don’t have crazy expectations. Just chill out.

#3 – Realize a Lot of it is For You

If you have a teeny tiny one like I do…the ENTIRE experience is lost on them. Yep. The whole freaking kit n’ caboodle means absolutely nothing to them, they won’t ever remember it, and many of the fun things are, to them, terrifying. If you’ve set it up in your mind that your kid should be wowed by all the stuff you’re paying for, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed when the stairs and a seriously over-zealous squirrel steal the show.

No biggie. The truth is, kids can’t appreciate it all the way you can. You’re older. You’re wiser. You can soak in the wonder of fireworks in the sky, and new technology infused into the rides, and how they can make an ice cream snack taste so good you’d punch a stranger in the nuts for one. You can appreciate it all, and you should.

#4 – Hit the Park Kid-less if You Can

Due to the aforementioned amazing in-laws, we were able to go back to the park for about 2 hours after the kiddo went to sleep. It was…Uh-mazing. We sprinted around the park and went on all the adult rides and got in more park fun in those 2 hours than we could have all day with the kids. We laughed maniacally at all the parents saddled with strollers full of screaming children (what were they doing up, anyway?). You can’t always swing it if you’re not traveling with friends or family, but if you can, do it. It’s fun to feel like a kid sometimes. Well, a kid who has enough perspective on life to know exactly how fun it all really is.

#5 – Try to Love Your People

The bottom line is that parenting is tough, and it doesn’t get easier just because you go to a cool place. So, remind yourself that a BIG part of being a parent is practicing loving other people. So when they scream for a toy or refuse to stop chasing that bird or complain that they didn’t see whatever the stink they wanted to see, take a big, big breath and remind yourself that you love that little person, even when they drive you nuts. Then, get yourself a really big cookie. Or a beer. God bless beer.

It’s Easy to Dream. It’s Hard to Do.

FAME IS FOR DOERS

Image by AMERICAN ARTIST BEN MURPHY, on Flickr

I watch a lot of TV. It’s time to admit it. Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m all modern and innovative and “above it all” (ohmigod, how obnoxious) because we don’t have cable or an actual television, and we just watch Hulu and Netflix on our MacBook Pros. Soooo progressive, right?

As it turns out, you don’t need cable to watch a billion hours of TV. Netflix and Hulu work just fine for that. And I’m like an addict. Once I get on a show, it’s like I can’t get enough. I can’t watch enough. I need to see what happens next. I don’t care that it’s midnight and I need more sleep than a hibernating bear—I NEED TO SEE IT!

Netflix is actually worse in this way. Case in point: on Netflix, you CAN watch 4 old episodes Grey’s Anatomy in one sitting, because they’re all there, just waiting for you. They even prompt you to click the “Next episode” button like it’s the most natural thing in the world. I wish they would get rid of that button and just put up a quick screen saying, “Who are we kidding? You’re not going anywhere. Just sit down while we play the next one.” Just so we can all be honest.

TV Shows We Used To Watch - 1955 Television advertising

Photo by brizzle born and bred, on Flickr

At least the cable company controls your consumption. They give you just a little at a time. They give you commercials so you can go pee or brush your teeth and stuff like that. They give you the opportunity for a little dignity.

(Story detour: one time when we actually had cable, we decided that we wanted to cancel it. Cable companies are NOT cool with this move. They think it’s weird. Plus, they like your money. So I called and said, “I want to cancel my cable service.” and the lady said, “How about we give you three months free?” and I said, “Well, okay…not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth, lady.” At the end of the three months I called back again to cancel it and they offered me another great deal. They’re like drug dealers, I tell you. Drug dealers with a call center. So finally, I just said, “I want to cancel my cable service because the TV is sucking my soul out.” to which the lady said, “Right away ma’am.” and we were done. Which proves once again, crazy works.)

ANYWAY, so I’ve been serially watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. We watched the first two seasons a few years ago, then just never picked it up again. But the first 7 seasons (seven!) are on Netflix, so, you know…I kinda watched many, many episodes in a row.

Now, if you don’t like the show, just shush for a second, okay? I just want to say that the writing is brilliant (brilliant!). Sure, there’s the occasional unbelievable response or plot hole—some unconvincing element that likely arose from talent leaving or needing time off or something—but by and large they deliver on every. episode.

What I love about the show is that it always has a theme, it always weaves little life lessons. It deals in fears and struggles. Grey’s Anatomy finds all of those intimate moments where we keep our words silent for fear of facing them, and it intrudes upon them. It unearths the mess.

But it also looks for beauty among the dying, diseased, and broken. The hospital has to be the perfect metaphor for our lives—lives in constant states of repair, remission and relapse. Lives without a known ending. Lives full of mystery and defeat and hope. It’s the perfect metaphor and the writers of Grey’s are freaking nailing it.

As I watch episode, after episode, after episode of this cursedly good show, I find myself dreaming…I want to write those words. I want to write the words that inspire thought and introspection. I want to write words that remind us all of our humanity and of our connection. Words that remind us that grace can be as battered and bruised and defeated as a dying man, but it can still fight its way back to life. I’m a writer, dammit, and I want to write those words.

But in order to write those words, or any words, I’ve got to get my fingers on the keyboard. I’ve got to force myself to get something on the page. I’ve got to force myself to churn the work out. I’ve got to grab the creative fairies by the toe as they flutter through my mind at inopportune times, and scribble their thoughts down on notecards and napkins and post-its. And then I’ve got to be a freaking adult and make something of them. It’s easy to dream. It’s hard to do. I need to do some doing.

How to Write Drama Like a Hollywood Pro in Three Easy Steps!

1. Write about some people.

Guy on the Go Bus

This guy would be a fine character. He's even all thoughtful looking. Image By wmacphail @ Flickr

Just any people. It doesn’t really matter. All the drama will be taken care of in steps 2 and 3, so don’t try to get all artsy. Just write about your mailman, or hairdresser or a guy you saw on a bus once.

2. Sprinkle a little sci-fi on it.

Just a little. Like everyone’s normal, but then there’s a magical black puff of smoke that eats people (wouldn’t that be weird?), or maybe sometimes when one of the characters eats salt he can see in the other people’s souls. Or maybe someone has farts that cure cancer. But he only finds out about it by accident when he eats some bad tacos and visits his grandma in the cancer ward and then everyone’s cured. Just a little sci-fi’ll do ya.

3. Remove all critical and/or relevant dialog. Replace with “acting” faces.

tim usavage

Actors should make faces like this, but not say any words. No words! Image by diegodiazphotography @ Flickr

This is the most important step. Any time two of your characters are having a discussion and something absolutely imperative comes up, make sure that the character with the critical information, instead of sharing it, makes a sad face, or looks scared or opens her mouth for a second, but then closes it. When none of the critical information necessary for success/healthy relationships/normal societal functioning is communicated, everything goes to hell. And that, my friends, is drama.

For added instruction, I will now demonstrate these techniques.

A Story – Boring/Normal Version

Sondra, who is the head of a corporation, has been dating Mark, the head of a different corporation. Mark gets a phone call, learning that his young sister, Suzy, has a mysterious illness and is expected to die within the week. Mark, being so upset, goes to see Sondra. They embrace, and talk about how this news makes them feel. They decide that family is what is most important, and they both decide to take as much vacation time as they can to be with Suzy. On the way over to the hospital they listen to NPR, but then turn it off so they can think in silence. A week later, Suzy dies and they attend her funeral, where they reflect on their lives and decide to volunteer at the hospital once a week. The end.

The Only Story That Will Ever Matter – Hollywood Version

Sondra, who is the head of a corporation, has been dating Mark, the head of a different corporation. Mark gets a phone call, learning that his young sister, Suzy, has a mysterious illness and is expected to die within the week. Mark thanks the doctor, hangs up, looks at a picture of himself, Sondra, and Suzy, then quickly turns over the picture, and gets back to work—ignoring the fact that he just received devastating news.

Meanwhile, Sondra is giving a presentation to the board of directors. Mid-sentence, she collapses onto the table, spilling her water, then stares off creepily while whispering, “Suzy.” A moment later, she straightens up and continues with the presentation. Even though EVERYONE in the room is thinking, “Holy sh*tballs, what was that?!” no one says a word.

Sondra and Mark are having dinner. Suzy is weighing heavily on both of their minds. “I’ve been thinking a lot about Suzy,” says Sondra nonchalantly over her tortellini. “Really? Why is that?” asks Mark. [Note: this is where the characters would normally share the interesting/important information from their lives. DON'T LET THEM DO IT!] Sondra opens her mouth for a second, then closes it, then says, “Just because. We should have her over for dinner.” Mark nods, makes a very serious face, then opens his mouth a little, then closes his mouth, then nods again.

Later Sondra finds herself compelled to wander the halls of the local hospital. She finds Mark hovered over Suzy’s lifeless body, crying. “Mark?! Wha…?” Sondra sputters, confused. “I…” starts Mark, but Sondra holds a finger up to his mouth. Mark turns for the door, having made serious faces. Sondra puts her hand on Suzy who, against all odds and rules of reality, twitches oh so slightly and says, “Mark?” Sondra opens her mouth to call to Mark, but then doesn’t. The end.

See how that works? You could probably write something normal that actually happened to you, then just go back with a black marker and take out anything that seems even slightly important. And add magic. Reality – common sense + mystery = drama. The point is to work the audience into a fervor with their desire to see the characters communicate like rational humans.

Feel free to add your secret spices to the pot, folks. It’s for the arts.

‘Weeds’ Induced Depression

Spoiler alert: I’m going to talk about the show, Weeds, produced by Showtime (or possibly Satan). And I’m not going to try to hide any details, so if you have your Tevo or DVR or Netflix queue or whatever all stocked up with the first two seasons of Weeds, a) you should stop reading this and b) you should also not watch any of those shows. Why? Because of…

Weeds Induced Depression!! (run for your lives!)

The cast of Weeds during Season 2, Left to Rig...

Don't let the smiles and flowers fool you…this show is sadsville. Image via wikipedia.

This show is DEE-pressing. I should know, because I watched exactly twelve episodes in rapid succession before I decided OH MY GOD IT’S LIKE BATTERY ACID FOR THE SOUL. (Side note: I just discovered that IMDb calls it a comedy! What?! Have they lost their minds?! Anyway…)

Here’s the rundown:

Weeds is a show about a suburban mom who, after her husband suddenly dies, decides that the best way to maintain the standard of living that she and her two teenage sons are used to is to start selling weed. It stars Mary Louise Parker, and I think she’s the one that tricked me in to watching so many freaking episodes even while my heart was bending into a permanent frowney face shape. But Ms. Parker is just so danged adorable and I couldn’t stop looking at her face. Even when she’s being terrible I kinda like her. But that’s the problem with Weeds: everyone is terrible all the time.

I mean, sure, there’s the drug dealers. But you kinda expect them to be terrible because they have to lie and cheat and threaten people with death to make a living, so they lost their nice-people skills a while back. But does everyone in the entire freaking town need to have ash and oily resin where their hearts used to be? Apparently the writers of this dreadful thing think the answer is yes. For your review, here is a partial list of the characters who are a-holes:

  • Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker), mother and drug dealer—the protagonist.
  • Doug Wilson, the city councilman
  • Celia, local mother, president of the PTA and future councilwoman
  • Andy Botwin, the brother-in-law/uncle
  • Peter Scottson, a DEA agent
  • Yael Hoffman, the director of the local rabbinical school
  • Silas Botwin, Nancy’s oldest child
  • Shane Botwin, Nancy’s youngest son
  • Isabelle Hodes, Celia’s daughter

Just look at that list! Town council members; mothers; law enforcement officials; the director of a religious school; the PROTAGONIST; and, last but not least, children. Yes, the children are a-holes. They’re just terrible, awful little buggers that make me fear for the future of the world. To watch this show is to expose yourself to continual and unrelenting disappointment in the portrayal of humans. Every character on the show, no matter how innocuous or even benevolent he/she may seem, is a secret agent of scary, sad things. This is what snuck up on me, eventually dragging me into the dreaded Weeds induced depression.

It took me a while to recognize what was happening. I’d watch, you know, three episodes in a row, then go for a walk. I just felt kinda bummed out, but that happens from time to time no matter who you are, so I didn’t think much of it. Then I started looking at people like, “I wonder what terrible thing they did before they got here.” Or I’d think, “That guy’s probably cheating on his wife or murdering baby seals or eating puppies for dinner or something.” A lingering disappointment and doubt had begun to hover around me like the dust pile around Pig-Pen. I mean, if children, mothers and nice Jewish ladies are actually dark black holes where goodness can’t survive, what hope do we have as a society? None. That’s how much.

Shortly after the DEA agent that was dating the drug dealer got murdered in the driveway by an Armenian gang after said DEA agent found out the drug dealer wasn’t in love with her, I realized that I was tailoring my hope for the future of the world based on a horrible television show (albeit one starring a very adorable woman) and somehow that didn’t seem prudent. So I decided to not watch that show anymore. Yep, that sounds like a better option.

Once again, the new year approaches. It’s tempting to try to come up with some life-changing resolution that will make me feel like a super human (like a mix of Michelle Obama, Ray Kurzweil and Nataly Dawn), but I think I’ll do something reasonable. I shall resolve not to watch any shows that make me think  the nice lady buying milk in front of me in the store is probably also selling meth. It’s a good start.

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