The End of ‘Weeds’ and the Taming of the Shrew

The hit showtime series Weeds has finally come to a close, with the season eight box set released last month. The final season is quite a bit different, though, than the show we all know and love, and the most striking difference is in the character of Nancy Botwin herself. Formerly a sultry pistol, the Nancy of the final season has significantly mellowed out, much to the detriment of the show.

The main reason most of us watched the show in the first place was to see what ridiculous predicaments Nancy would get herself into and the ballsy, half-cocked schemes she’d concoct to get out of them. Scared straight after a brush with death, the Botwin matriarch renounces her iniquitous ways and sets out to turn her family legit.

This is wrong in all kinds of ways. Nobody wants to see the Botwins actually get their shit together. They’re supposed to always fumbling through life–they’re a mess, but they’re together. Isn’t that the whole point of the show? No matter how fucked up your family is, you continue to fight for (and sometimes with) each other.

The Weeds finale seems to try to wrap things up a little too much, but it does redeem itself in the final scene. Passing around a joint on the front porch, the Botwin crew looks at each other in silence, seemingly begging the question “what next?” And this is exactly how the entire finale should have treated the show’s closing – it’s not an end. The Botwins are going to keep getting into trouble, and they’re going to keep being there for each other through it all.

But everything about season eight besides this final scene points to closure, to a resolution. It ties up the Botwin story in a nice little bow with all of them set on the right track for a quiet, legal lifestyle. I don’t know about you, but this isn’t what I wanted to see. What did you think of the end of Weeds? Did you find it as weird as I did?

‘Weeds: Season Eight’ Is a Tame End to the Wild Ride
Liz Medendorp @ PopMatters

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Weeds has officially wrapped up its eighth and final season looking quite different from the intense, dark comedy it was in 2005. While returning to the suburbs and the satire that so characterized the early years of the show, the series’ conclusion feels haphazard. Much like Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) herself, the desultory final season of Weeds doesn’t quite seem to have a plan, hurriedly throwing one together at the last minute.

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Dan Harmon on the Miserable State of TV

In the wake of his forced separation from his brainchild, Community, and the show’s subsequent showrunners making an underwhelming debut, it’s especially interesting to hear Dan Harmon’s rather bleak take on the state of television.

Positioning viewers as passive consumers of garbage and writers as powerless pawns of corporations, Harmon’s most fascinating commentary is on the level of censorship involved in the TV production process. Claiming that TV writers are patently “not allowed to say whatever they’re thinking” is a bold statement, especially coming from someone who seems to have been so successful in getting his vision onto the screen.

But Harmon’s comments point to a valid question, and one that has often been on my mind as someone aspiring to enter the entertainment industry: What control do writers, directors, and even showrunners really have? Is it possible to ever really see your work come to life in the way you envisioned it? What do you think?

((Apologies for the rather cynical post; I suppose I’m not in the cheeriest of places lately. –MQ))

Dan Harmon Rants About the ‘Garbage’ That Is TV
Jesse David Fox @ Vulture

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When asked why 30 Rock was able to stay on the air as a poorly rated yet very smart show, Harmon goes off, espousing a very “everything is bullshit” message. He calls all TV, regardless of quality, “a bunch of goddamn baby food made out of corn syrup.”

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FUO: A ‘Firefly’-Inspired MMORPG

I have some great news for Firefly fans everyone. The ‘verse lives on. DarkCryo has kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the creation of a Firefly-inspired MMORPG. Now, I’ve never allowed myself to get into an MMORPG before, partly because I have a strange aversion to games that require you to level up (Just let me fight the damn thing now! I don’t want to sit around killing low-level creatures all day just to advance in the game!), and partly because I know that eventually it would consume way too much of my time, but I have no doubt in my mind that I will dive wholeheartedly into FUO if it manages to get made.

130208-fuo2The coolest thing about this IndieGoGo campaign is that the perks for contributing are awesome. Just $10 gets you a digital download of the Alpha release, guaranteed reserved seating to future Beta release, and a lifetime of play with zero monthly or annual subscription fees. For TEN DOLLARS. I contributed. I hope you will too. It’s also cool that it’s a fixed funding campaign, which means if they don’t reach their goal (at the time of this writing, they’re only at $6,708 of the needed $135,000, with 42 days left in the campaign), then you get to keep your pledged fundage. So what is there to lose? Nothing! And an amazing game to gain!

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The important thing about this project is that it is Firefly-inspired, not an official Firefly MMORPG, which means that DarkCryo is avoiding any direct references to actual places or people in Firefly, but instead creating a universe that feels like the ‘verse. This is actually an incredible asset to the game, not only because it keeps them out of the mirky waters of copyright law, but also because it gives the game’s creators the freedom to develop as they like, to create a whole new world (queue Aladdin music) for Browncoats to explore. When you think about it, this is definitely the next best step for Firefly. The ‘verse is extremely well-suited to an adaptation into the video game format especially because of its ability to house a seemingly infinite number of stories and worlds and adventures. The show was cut off so early that it was only able to plant the seed of the ‘verse in our hearts and minds, and now it’s time for it to grow into a massive(ly multiplayer), fully realized online universe.

So what do you think? Are you as excited about this as I am? Are you going to chip in and help this thing get made?

FUO: Why you should care about this Indie MMORPG
Scormus @ Pthppt!

130208-article-fuo“Today I’d like to talk a bit about FUO, the upcoming MMORPG from DarkCryo. I’ve talked a bit lately about this Indie MMORPG on my podcast “Massive Failure”, mostly about the controversy that rose up about it recently, due to some shoddy reporting from another gaming blog. Regardless, during those shows I referred to FUO as “Firefly Universe Online”, and I was in error to do so.”

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