Drugs, Racial Stereotypes, and Suburban Dystopia in Showtime’s “Weeds”

Abstract

U.S. cable television network Showtime’s Weeds became an instant hit when it debuted in 2005, earning high ratings during its eight seasons. The show is a dark American comedy that centers on a housewife whose husband suddenly died, forcing her to find a new source of income. But instead of finding a "real" job with a paycheck, she turns to selling marijuana to her Southern California neighbors, who seem desperate to escape the banality of their white, middle-class suburban lives. However, the show is more than a satire on drug use because it tries to shine light on why so many middle-class Americans seem desperate to get stoned. Weeds attempts to subvert suburban modernity by inviting the audience to situate their opinions about marijuana use amid bourgeois soccer moms, class politics, turf wars, raw economics, violent milieu, and multicultural heterogeneity. The show thus reflects how the modern American suburb is constantly being reconstructed and reexamined. In addition, Weeds relies heavily on social and racial stereotypes for much of its comedic effect. Rather than shying away from racial issues, Weeds embraces them in what can be viewed in a reflexive, postmodern way. This paper will examine how Weeds manages to reveal, parody, critique, and poke holes in American suburban dystopia, racism, and drug use.



Author Information
Douglas Forster, Japan Women's University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2013
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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