Weeds – “Suck ‘n’ Spit”


“Suck ‘n’ Spit”

August 3rd, 2009

What I’ve always found interesting about Weeds is that it has been very careful about limiting the consequences from Nancy Botwin’s actions. Yes, bad things have happened, but they have always seemed to happen to people who are only indirectly related to the Botwin family: sure, her once husband was amongst those who fell victim to being in Nancy’s presence, but for the most part (outside of perhaps Silas’ broken arm and a few minor run-ins) the amount of crossfire that her family and friends have seen as a result of her actions has been limited.

In “Suck ‘n’ Spit,” we have a serious bit of consequence, perhaps the most serious we’ve seen yet. To get to that point, the episode didn’t particularly go anywhere all that interesting, investigating to varying degrees the total loss of normalcy (or, in some instances, the characters’ ability to engage with a new definition of the term) in their lives.

Everyone is talking about the infamous “suck” scene, aren’t they? Maybe it’s just me personally, but I don’t necessarily feel as if that scene was really that interesting, and for me is an example of the show attempting to shock us as viewers in a way that it hasn’t really done in the past. Sure, there’s always instances where some very bizarre things have happened, but in most instances those events have felt grounded in something more complex than “Ew, gross, Nancy is breastfeeding Andy.” For example, there was plenty of awkward and “gross” in last season’s oedipal storyline, but it was so psychologically twisted (as opposed to, in this instance, just played for the sake of embarrassment) that it felt more substantial.

The scene felt like an unnecessary extension of the episode’s observation of just how strange Andy and Nancy’s relationship has become: sharing a bed (with the requisite pillow wall), sharing duties raising “their” Mexican American son, and sharing “private time.” The idea of normalcy being at the center of this relationship, as Nancy discovers Andy attempting to find some personal pleasure with her on the other side of the bed, was never turned into something of a relationship of sorts: yes, Andy is clearly hopefully that Nancy will remove herself from Esteban and they can be happy together, but for now he’s sticking to this being a relationship about his own personal sense of responsibility.

It’s really the only reason Shane finds himself with a yeast infection, to test the level of normalcy in these people’s lives. For Andy, he sees this as something completely normal, and he is fairly responsible in his handling of getting Shane to a clinic and dealing with walking in on the inspection (Kirk nailed that scene, to the surprise of no one). However, for Nancy, this is the type of thing that isn’t normal: while she has always had concerns about her kids and in some instances neglecting them in the context of dealing with the rest of her life, something like this isn’t supposed to happen. Silas has always found his trouble within Nancy’s lifestyle, getting caught up in the middle of it all, but Shane tends to have problems more natural for a kid coming to terms with adolescence (or something as complex as speaking to his dead father). Nancy has more trouble dealing with these than she does anything else, realistically.

That’s why it’s fitting that it was Shane who was shot at the end of the episode when Esteban, having spent the entire episode coming to terms with the reality of Nancy being out of his life, returns to her after realizing his happiness and love were more important only to bring a would-be assassin with him. It’s a scene that will need to be unpacked before I know how I feel about it: Shane’s wound looks like a superficial gunshot wound (It was in the upper arm, it looked like), and it’s a question of whether this will bring Nancy and Esteban closer together or if it will result in Nancy pushing him away. Considering that Andy was the one who sent him out there to find out what was going on, I have to think that Nancy will have reason to be pissed at just about everyone, and I’ll reserve judgment until we see how things play out.

It was one move, though, that I didn’t particularly see coming, which is a nice change this season. Things have been pretty choreographed, so this nice bit of uncertainty was nice. By comparison, Celia’s storyline went exactly where you’d think it would, although I have my doubts on just how much weed Celia has on hand, and just how much markup she’d be able to put on the cosmetics before it became suspicious, but the show doesn’t want me to think about the logistics of the whole shebang. I’m not entirely sure where they’re going with Doug selling cosmetics, but I would tend to think that Silas (other than punching Andy, which oddly never got a resolution) is due for, well, something to do.

Cultural Observations

  • I know that having a nanny is considered pretty standard, but I have to question how much money Nancy really has. In the end, though, it did what it needed to do in terms of the show’s logistics: it lets them ignore the baby without concern over whether it is being cared for.
  • Presuming that we’ll be seeing the end of Esteban soon enough, I’ll be sad to see the end of Cesar: his attempts to smile in the mirror were maybe the highlight of the episode for me.

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