July 30, 2012 4:20pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
TCA 2012: Jenji Kohan, Mary-Louise Parker Reflect on Final Season of 'Weeds'
The Weeds cast and creator Jenji Kohan reflected on the series’ eighth and final season, which debuted earlier this summer and wraps up Sept. 16 with a two-part episode. Showtime entertainment president David Nevins kicked off the panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Monday by noting that Weeds “set the tone for the next generation of antiheroes” on Showtime and beyond.
Kohan, who has a workplace comedy pilot in development at NBC with Weeds writer Stephen Falk and also is producing the women's prison comedy Orange Is the New Black for Netflix, noted that past renewals for Weeds always came down to the wire. “Many years we never knew if we were coming back,” said Kohan. “We were always told late. I think many of our season finales could have ended the show.”
Some of Kohan’s favorite cliffhanger finales included the season five ender when Shane wallops Pilar with a croquet mallet and last season’s finale when Nancy gets shot in the head while delivering a toast at a family dinner. But the eighth season finale, which the cast will shoot this week, will not end on another cliffhanger. Rather it will tie up many loose ends and feature a memory lane of past characters.
Kohan, said Mary-Louise Parker, “managed to bring things together in a really beautiful way. She didn’t make it a happily-ever-after thing. But there was hope and there was some sort of benediction. I cried when I read it. I think the finale is beautifully written and I hope it lives up to what she wrote.”
Parker will next begin work on an as-yet-untitled movie as well as a sequel to the 2010 Bruce Willis action-comedy Red. But she said she’s looking for another television series, which she prefers to film.
Alexander Gould, who plays Shane and basically grew up on the show, said he only started watching it when he was 16 years old. He also did not attend table reads of the decidedly adult series until sometime around the age of consent.
“You know so much more when you watch it than I ever did on camera,” said Gould.
And Kohan added that Shane’s decided loss of innocence was something that weighed on her -- though she got over it, obviously.
“I felt bad, but I don’t pull punches,” she said. “And if it means destroying Alexander’s childhood for the sake of the show…”
E-mail: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com; Twitter: @MarisaGuthrie