Queers on the hillside

The Small Screen

by Samantha Korb    
Published: October 4, 2008 in A&E / Life&Style, The Small Screen

During my sophomore year of college a friend of mine told me to watch this show on Showtime called “Weeds.” At the time I was so busy that I couldn’t rent the show on DVD, but I took some time this summer to finally sit down and watch the show in its current entirety. To say I was impressed was hardly an understatement.

Mary Louise Parker, who plays Nancy, a housewife widow turned weed drug dealer, must not only deal with her husband’s death, but also how to be a good mother while making ends meet. “Weeds” provides not only a good substantial amount of humor, but also some queer characters that we cannot forget.

One of these characters is Isabelle, the tween-aged, self-identified lesbian who starts out by recognizing that she likes to make out with her friend (while pretending to be opposite-sex movie star couples). Her mom, Celia, doesn’t like the idea of Isabelle being a lesbian, but also despises that Isabelle is the national “Huskaroo” girl.

While Isabelle is confident in her sexuality and with her body, her mom wants her to be the ideal “perfect”daughter — in other words, Isabelle should be just like her. On the other hand, Isabelle’s dad, Dean, has the stereotypical “male” bonding relationship with her. For a multitude of reasons, Isabelle is often taken back and forth between her mom, and for the most part, Isabelle bonds more with her father. Closer to the end of the fourth season, we see Isabelle bonding with her mother more.

A close friend of mine told me to watch out for a character that reminded me of myself. I had no idea what he meant, but when I saw that Isabelle was not only confident in her sexuality and body, I knew exactly who he was referring to. Every week, I look forward to seeing how her character develops, and how her story parallels mine and she continues to be one of the few representations of positive queer youth on television.

A couple of other characters on the show are not as positive as Isabelle, but still provide a great deal of interpretation. Sanjay, an openly gay friend of the Bodwin family, has sex with a prostitute to “fuck the gay out of him.” Obviously, that doesn’t happen. Instead, he ends up fathering a child with the prostitute. He is often portrayed as a stereotypical gay man who wears pastels and loves working at Nancy’s maternity store. He loves dressing the mannequins and giving them “themes.” Aside, he still provides some humor in the show, and plays an integral part in the many different storylines.

There are other instances of queerness in the show, but they are few and far between. However, the show’s existing queer characters and queer storylines help propel the show beyond its expectations. “Weeds” is a show that you just have to see to believe and worth every interpretation and laugh.