It started on a small scale, California single mom Nancy Botwin’s (Mary-Louise Parker) drug-dealing career, where she would raise her 15- and 10-year-old sons (Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould) while selling marijuana on the side in order to maintain a nice lifestyle. As the years went by, the business expanded and viewers followed Nancy on her adventures, eventually marrying a Mexican drug boss and serving time in prison. It was clear that her sons had a less than ideal upbringing as they became involved in mom’s business; their uncle Andy (Justin Kirk) and bumbling gold-digger Doug (Kevin Nealon) were hardly role models. The show benefited immensely from the performances by its three leads and its sharp, funny satire of small-town politics, conservative family values and society’s hypocrisies… although later seasons were very uneven.
2005-2012:U.S. Made for TV. 102 episodes. Color. Created by Jenji Kohan. Cast: Mary-Louise Parker (Nancy Botwin), Justin Kirk (Andy Botwin), Kevin Nealon (Doug Wilson), Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould, Elizabeth Perkins (05-10), Jennifer Jason Leigh (09-12), Andy Milder (05-10), Allie Grant (05-09), Romany Malco (05-07), Tonye Patano (05-07), Demían Bichir (08-10).
Golden Globe: Best Actress (Parker) 06.
Quote: “Olive oil, moisturizer, honey, spit, butter, hair conditioner, and Vaseline can all be used for lube. In my opinion, the best lube… is lube. So save your allowance and invest in some soon. Alright, moving on – when you tug your Thomas on the toilet – ffft – shoot right into the bowl. In bed – soft t-shirt, perhaps a downy hand towel of your very own that you don’t mind tossing after tossing. There’s no such thing as polishing the raised scepter of love too much. It reduces stress, it enhances immune function. Also, practice makes perfect. So work on your control now, while you’re a solo artist – you’ll be playing some long, happy duets in the future. OK – class dismissed.” (Kirk teaching Gould how to masturbate)
Last word: “I think people identify with deeply flawed characters because we all are; it’s universal. So when you’re able to identify with the fuck-ups and the messes I think you feel sympathy because [Nancy’s] trying. She’s trying. And she’s trying to do the right thing. She didn’t set out to do bad things. And I think, in a way, it’s a relief to see real repercussions for her bad behavior as well as her good behavior. The black and white of protagonists on televisions – I think it’s a little weary. Nobody is completely a villain and nobody is completely a hero and, in general, we all try to do the best we can and I think people buy into it because it’s a universal experience.” (Kohan, The Futon Critic)