The Intoxicating Appeal of 'Weeds.'

I started watching Weeds last summer, but after watching the entire first season I decided that I couldn’t get into it. Seeing as how my boyfriend’s roommates are obsessed with Weeds, though, I decided to give it another try; and somehow, I watched the remaining four seasons of the show in about a week (maybe less).

It is truly one of the most addicting shows I’ve ever watched. Which doesn’t make sense to me, because I’m fairly certain that I don’t really even like the show. It’s kind of like when you’re driving on the freeway and traffic slows and you realize that everyone is trying to get a glimpse of a nasty car accident, and you think to yourself “What a bunch of assholes. Let’s move it along, people!”, but then as you pass by the wreck, you can’t help but look too, and then you become the assholes that you berated not five seconds earlier. This is what I feel like when I watch Weeds.

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I’ve given a good deal of thought (maybe too much thought) to why I keep coming back to watch this show that I may not even like. And I think the reason I keep watching it is because I’m horrified at how ridiculously dysfunctional these characters’ lives are and glad I’m not as messed up as they are, while simultaneously experiencing the adrenaline rush of feeling like I’m involved in illicit behavior vicariously through them. It’s bizarre, and I kind of feel like a schizophrenic when I watch the show, because one minute I’m thinking “Nancy Botwin, you idiot, it’s like you make the worst possible decision you can on purpose, and you are, in fact, the worst mother of all time,” and the next I’m thinking “Wow, that would be so funny and weird to have to do a brick dance for a bunch of Mexican gangsters to get U-Turn’s weed so he doesn’t kill me,” and I laugh like that would actually be funny before realizing that the show has desensitized me to the scary scary world of drug dealing, and that it would probably be terrifying, in actuality. I mean, I’ve never done drugs or had anything to do with drugs or people who sell drugs and the like, but I feel like any urge I may have deep inside of me to do that type of thing is quelled by watching Weeds. Is that crazy talk?

I’ve always felt like reality television has the same effect. I used to watch The Hills religiously (please don’t judge me) and I think I was just enraptured by the drama that comes with being young and famous and wealthy. Like, oh how sad that Lauren and Heidi aren’t friends anymore and that Spencer does everything he can to be an ass and constantly stir the pot with all of Lauren’s friends. Again, like watching a car accident that I can’t bring myself to look away from. But isn’t that what reality tv is all about? Sucking people into a story under the guise of ‘reality’ (because we all know that reality tv is scripted) and continuing to manufacture dramatic scenarios to keep viewers interested and engaged? Isn’t reality tv just a slightly more realistic form of escapism than admittedly-scripted television is? That’s debatable, I suppose. But I’ll continue my rebellion against a wholesome and boring lifestyle (which will never actually come to fruition) by living vicariously through American’s favorite drug-dealing soccer mom.

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