“You Can’t Miss the Bear”
In the pilot episode of Jenji Kohan’s “Weeds,” you are instantly given a look from the “outside” as to how the main characters in the series live. The song, “Little Boxes,” plays while you see a sort of “Stepford” lifestyle being advertised in the opening credits. In this case, “Stepfordville” is called Agrestic, California.
Opening scene is at Agrestic Elementary, where there is a PTA meeting taking place. As newly widowed mother, Nancy Botwin and the community busy body and major antagonist, Celia Hodes debate over things such as water and fruit juice replacing sodas in the vending machines, the moms in the back of the room voraciously gossip about whether or not Nancy has had plastic surgery to ease her grief, and how much money her husband left her. They don’t attempt to gossip quietly, and Nancy ends up overhearing part of their conversation as the meeting draws to a close. The PTA ladies, of course, just try to lie their way out of being caught. Cute. Will some women EVER grow up?
Next, we find the grieving widow at… where else? Her drug dealer’s house. The home of Heylia James, a feisty older woman that could probably rip your lungs out with a spoon with a smile on her face. She is quickly to become one of my favorite characters on the show. She is a lady who makes no bones about saying what’s on her mind and it doesn’t matter who she’s saying it to.
Heylia and Nancy discuss her purse, and Nancy admits it’s a knock off. Heylia says it’s not worth much, even being a knock off due to faulty stitching. We learn two things about Heylia James right then and there… she is extremely observant and she is extremely mercenary. I still like her. 🙂 Even after she calls Nancy a “dumb ass white bitch.” Of course, what else is Nancy to do but take that with a grain of salt, right?
Amidst all the witty conversation, enter Conrad, Heylia’s nephew, and also friend of Nancy’s deceased husband’s brother Andy. I can’t believe I just typed that, lol! As the banter continues in the kitchen, Conrad takes a bag of marijuana from Heylia’s stash to get it ready for Nancy. As Nancy glances over, she questions the weight of the bag, wondering out loud if it’s a bit light. Heylia, proud woman that she is, does NOT take this lightly. The look on her face says it all! She tells Nancy, “Bitch, I can eyeball an ounce from outer space with my glasses cracked.” She asks Conrad to hand her the bag. Heylia throws the bag on the scale and it weighs exactly. Nancy, obviously is feeling pretty sheepish right about now! I nearly choked on my Sprite when Conrad tells Nancy, “You never question Heylia’s eyeballin’. That’s the “Rainman” of weed right there!” One of the funniest parts of this particular scene? Nancy hands Heylia the money for her weed and it has a decorative little clip on it. Heylia tells her, “Take that shit off of there… you ain’t giving me a gift, you are paying for your weed.” You can take the girl out of the suburbs……
Next we meet Silas and Shane, Nancy’s two sons. Family chaos and gossip about the neighborhood ensues, and Nancy finds out her son Silas is doing a lot more fooling around with his girlfriend than she is comfortable with.
Nancy goes out to “run some errands” aka drop some pot off to her customers, and gets a visit from one of the young neighbor kids, Josh, who also happens to be supplying pot to the good people of Agrestic. He pleads with Nancy to sell him a cut of her marijuana, which she at first rejects. Josh manages to talk her into it, she makes him promise not to sell to kids, and they part ways.
Next, we see Nancy at Shane’s soccer game, listening to Celia prattle on and on. Not only do we come to realize the horrifying depths of Celia’s shallowness, but we discover her very misplaced self righteousness. She insults her children, Nancy, and everyone else around her. Nancy, all the while, is selling pot at the soccer game, unbeknownst to anyone else.
Meanwhile, Shane skins his knee during the game and grosses everyone out by proceeding to lick the blood off of his knee. Shane no longer wants to play, but Nancy encourages him to keep playing. Celia continues to lecture Nancy on how to raise her children, while being extremely abrasive, as seems to be her best talent. During Celia’s ranting, she lets it slide that Josh is selling pot to kids…. after he promised Nancy he wouldn’t.
Shane gets into a confrontation with his teammate, which results in an ensuing chaos, which includes the boy calling Shane “orphan boy,” and Shane hurling cans of soda and bottles of water at his nemesis. The boy runs after Shane and Nancy, seeing what is going on with her son and the other child, slyly trips the boy to buy Shane some time to get away. Wow, don’t mess with her kids!
Silas and his girlfriend, Quinn, who happens to be Celia’s daughter, discuss having sex. They are sick of waiting. What teenager isn’t, right? Shane runs by, interrupting the conversation. He explains to Silas what happened with the other boy and Silas says, “You missed the bear.” Shane realizes that he did not hit the boy in the “optimum kill zone” and he “missed the bear.” It all comes from a TV show they love to watch together…. gotta love brotherly bonding.
Nancy goes to meet Doug at his van in order to get the money for what he bought from her. During their conversation, she discovers that Dean, Celia’s husband is cheating on her. They continue to gossip and the topic lands on Nancy’s dead husband. It’s hard for her to talk about, so she just blows it off with wry humor.
She then runs into Josh in the parking lot and confronts him…. she loses the battle, much to her frustration. Josh is clearly not one to play nice. Nancy, Silas, Shane, and Quinn all promptly leave the soccer game.
Silas’ girlfriend Quinn decides to ask Nancy if they can have sex in her house. Nancy, of course is distressed, and encourages Quinn to wait. Quinn, is mature beyond her years and fairly jaded as well. It’s clear that this is not going to be her first or last sexual experience with or without Nancy’s approval.
Quinn points out something she sees from the roof. What’s going on? Who’s that partying with a guy twice his age? Oh, it’s Josh! His father doesn’t know he’s gay and Nancy decides to use it against him so he will no longer sell to children. Josh obviously agrees under the strain of being found out.
Celia pays Nancy a visit…. with a giant pink teddy bear. It has a built in camera and she wants Nancy to place it in Silas’ room in order to spy on him and Quinn. She asks Nancy to promise not to allow the kids to have sex in her house. Nancy promises…. not under her roof. Quinn notices the pink bear… it’s very clear that she knows what the bear is for. She completely cons Celia into giving her the bear “for her room”. Celia is only too happy to hand over the bear. Too funny… can’t wait to see what will happen.
Next day, Shane jumps out of a tree at school and sprays pink paint all over his little enemy. Not only does he get one over on the kid, but proceeds to call him “fuckwad” and get himself suspended. Nancy comes home to find Silas and his girlfriend having sex in the guest room. Quinn rationalizes the situation by explaining to Nancy that since they had sex under the broken skylight, they were technically “not under her roof.” Like that is really going to make it better! Life is really imploding on the poor widow. She stops by Conrad and Heylia’s place and breaks down. Conrad calls to Heylia to get Nancy a piece of pie, and of course in true Heylia fashion, she tells Conrad, “Tell the white woman to come in here and get her own damn pie! Slave days is over!”
In Agrestic, Celia sits down to watch the video from Quinn’s room and finds an unexpected surprise. It’s not Quinn, but her husband Dean having sex with the Asian tennis instructor. She realizes her savvy daughter completely set her up and she is NOT pleased.. going so far as to say she “should have had an abortion” instead of having Quinn. OUCH! Some diabolical family drama!
All in all, this first episode of “Weeds” gets you hungry… or should I say…”jonesing” for more! The cast alone is a crazy mix.. it’s like a train wreck at times, in the way that you are almost wincing for these characters, but you can NOT stop watching!
Stay tuned for Season 1, Episode 2.. “Free Goat”
**Author’s note** All pictures were found via Google Image search or via Weeds Wiki here: http://weedswiki.sho.com/page/Episode+1:+You+Can’t+Miss+the+Bear