On April 27, our class watched an episode of Weeds titled “You Can’t Miss the Bear.” Nancy Botwin is a newly widowed mother living in the suburban area, Agrestic Luxury Homes, with her two sons, Shane and Silus. She has just taken up a new “career” as a marijuana dealer, which is stereotypically a male’s job. Nancy’s neighbor, Celia Hodes, is an excessively critical and image obsessed mother of two girls. Both Nancy and Celia display warped versions of contemporary motherhood in comparison to the “perfect” mother Donna Reed. Although Nancy fulfills most of her stereotypical duties as a stay-at-home mom, she is deviant from the norm.
The episode begins with Nancy attending a Parents Committee club meeting for Agrestic Elementary School. At the meeting, Nancy urges the other mothers to ban all soda and unhealthy drinks from the vending machines and instead suggests only allowing bottled water and naturally sweetened fruit juice. Her attendance at the Parent’s Club meeting shows that she is a stay-at-home mother and involved in her children’s life at school and is relatively health conscious. Soon, the viewer realizes that Nancy’s involvement in her children’s education and personal life is fairly minimal. She attempts to use her “job” as a mother to cover up for her involvement in drug trafficking. Nancy is oftentimes referred to as Ms. B and when her pager goes off she says “it’s a neighborhood watch thing.” Although Nancy takes on the role of a stay-at-home mom, the family still employs a live-in housekeeper, Lupida. Heylia, Nancy’s drug provider, recognizes her mother like tendencies and remarks, “What are you rushing around for, Dr. Phil ain’t on ‘til four!” This comment shows that Heylia assumes that Nancy’s only commitments are to daytime television shows because she has so much free time on her hands. Nancy displays her ultimate “mom” preparedness when Shane scraps his knee at his soccer game. She immediately rushes over to help him complete with Band-Aids and Neosporin antibacterial spray. Behind all of Mrs. B’s stereotypically motherly roles, she is dealing marijuana everyplace she attends. During Shane’s soccer game and karate class she hands off the drugs in exchange for payment. Although Nancy physically attends all of her children’s events, she is often mourning her husband’s death mentally or concerned with selling drugs. As a mother, Nancy is the farthest away from Donna Reed we have reached all semester. Even though Nancy is a single mother, she still does not share many similarities with Alice from the television show Alice.
This episode also depicts the progression of the discussion of controversial subjects. The television show obviously discusses drug use but also teenage sex. During 1950s era television, sex was considered a taboo subject, especially teen sex. Quinn, Silus’ girlfriend, blatantly asks Nancy, “Can we have sex in your house?” This obvious statement makes teenage sex seem very main stream in contrast to the 1950s, during Donna Reed’s era. Quinn also jokingly states, “You seriously thought we were virgins?” Nancy’s total loss of power is shown when she says, “Nice, Shane gets suspended from school and the two of you ditch school to have sex in my guest room, I am so not in control.” Progressively, both Shane and Silus’ behavior begins to show their personal issues associated with the loss of their father and their mother’s mentally withdrawn attitude. Shane and Silus’ actions slowly begin to depict Nancy’s weakening role as a mother.