”I have many layers — I’m like lasagna,” says Andy (Justin Kirk), kooky brother-in-law of doe-eyed, dope-dealing suburban mom Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) in the second season of Weeds. Let’s run with Andy’s metaphor here: All good TV series spend their first season setting up the premise and familiarizing us with the characters (the carbohydrates of basic storytelling), and then the second season adds the layers — the juicy unpredictabilities of behavior and subplots — that enrich the spicy sauciness.
Thus Weeds (I’m finished with the lasagna now, by the way) feels free to entangle Nancy with a new man: a DEA agent we knew she’d bed because actor Martin Donovan’s deadpan actually rivals Parker’s own. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Perkins’ Celia is waging a hilariously vicious campaign for the city council seat long held by pothead Doug (Kevin Nealon) because her cancer’s in remission. (Good fix, creator Jenji Kohan — saddling your most ballistic character with the big C was a drag.) And Andy’s alliterative aria to masturbation in the third episode proves to be a brilliant set piece for Angels in America star Kirk.
To enjoy Weeds you have to bypass the common sense that Nancy is working way harder to grow her business than she would have if she’d simply opened up a Cold Stone Creamery franchise. And getting a different rock act (Elvis Costello, Death Cab, etc.) to perform the show’s cutesy folk-song theme every week is symptomatic of a show that sometimes tries a bit too hard. Mellow out, dudes — we’re addicted already.