Weeds knows how to harvest the extras. A few documentary shorts are recycled from prior use on Showtime: Conrad's Grow Room (which shows you how to cultivate, er, organic "tomatoes") and Cream of the Crop (a dissertation on the best "strains" by show adviser Craig X., a Dana Carvey caricature come to life). The Trivia Tracks - in essence, hemp-centric versions of Pop-Up Video - are mostly throwaway; there's simply not enough info to warrant sitting through entire episodes only for them. Besides, you get plenty of ganja-oriented tidbits in Slangin' 101. Meanwhile, the MILF Gag Reel is cute and chuckleworthy as gag reels tend to go, but it's just too damn short.
Seven episode commentaries are on tap, most of them winners. Series creator Jenji Kohan is at the bookends, covering both the season premiere and the finale. She's funny and informative as a solo act, filling in the blanks on minor regrets (acknowledging that a bit part in Episode 1 could have been better cast) and offering insider stuff (admitting to the continual product placement of Rejuvenile, a book written by her husband). She also points out specific bits of dialogue and diatribes that serve as the "on film" soapboxes where she works out her own issues and agendas.
You'll either love or hate the "Cooking with Jesus" commentary turned in by the aforementioned Craig X., who, in between the dropping of doobie factoids and state-of-consciousness updates, blatantly lobbies to get his own show. Writer Matthew Salsberg and director Lev L. Spiro get over their penchant for lame jokes in time to focus on the minutiae of the writing process and explain the "cheat" shots on "A.K.A. Plant." Actor Malco tackles "MILF Money" on his own, and though there are too many pauses, his verbal gems are worthwhile. (You'll enjoy hearing about the not-so-above-board bonding experiences he and his dad shared when he was 6.) Kevin Nealon, an understated joy as addled accountant and deposed councilman Doug Wilson, takes a while before making his "Bash" session productive. Sometimes, commentators absolutely need foils to keep these things moving along with substance. The best chat is turned in by executive producer/writer Roberto Benabib and executive producer/director Craig Zisk on "Yeah, Like Tomatoes." While they do pour on the actor praise a bit too thick, they get to the heart of how they turn "typical" TV plotlines into patented Weeds-brand bizarreness, and they reveal how they got that grow house to look so alluring. Plus, they make the best Samuel Beckett suggestion I've heard yet in a commentary track.
Finally, one bone to pick: It's really hard to see the phrase "Main Menu" on the episode menus. I pretty much had to guess where it was located the first time I had to get to it, and I felt like I needed a visual marker to recall where it was for future access. Light-colored type on light backgrounds just don't cut it for functionality, folks, even on my calibrated plasma screen.
Good News Dept.: Both Season 1 and Season 2 of Weeds are available on Blu-ray Disc, so you know what that means: Ms. Parker looks even more resplendent in higher-def. Whichever way you choose to have it delivered to you, Weeds is worth the entanglement. [NR] English, Dolby Digital Surround EX; Spanish, Dolby Digital stereo; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; two dual-layer discs.
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