'Weeds' EP on Planning a Season That May Be Its Last
Roberto Benabib explains why this season will work either way.
It’s no secret that the fate of Weeds -- as it’s debuting its seventh season Monday on Showtime -- is precarious. Whispers that Season 7 will be its last have become harder to ignore as creator and showrunner Jenji Kohan has disclosed that her contract is up and there’s currently no order on an eighth.
Fans just witnessed Showtime’s United States of Tara season finale, which became its series finale when the network announced its cancelation last month. Interestingly enough, fans and critics seemed at peace with the show’s unexpected final episode. So with the fate of Weeds up in the air, executive producer Roberto Benabib says his team is ready for whatever lies ahead for the series.
“We’re crafting a season finale that can stand on its own as a series finale if it has to or be a prelude to an eighth season essentially,” Benabib tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I think what you’ll see in the finale is obviously some closure to certain things, but you’ll also see great potential if there should be a Season 8.”
Benabib believes it’s the ever-changing nature of this show that gives him and the creative team the confidence and latitude to pull off a feat similar to what Tara was able to accomplish with its unplanned last episode.
“This show is possibly unlike any other show almost in the history of television in that we’ve rebooted many times,” he explains. “We left Agrestic and we went down to San Diego. And then we started delving into Mexico and the Mexican drug trade. And then we left Mexico and did a season when they go cross-country and end up in [Nancy’s] hometown of Dearborn, Michigan. And now we’re in New York.”
“We’ve grown pot, we’ve sold pot, we’ve essentially rebooted almost every year,” he continues. “Certainly every two or three seasons, you’re getting a completely different show. The only constant in this is of course Nancy, her kids and Andy.”
Season 7 does find the Botwin family once again transformed. Beginning three years after last season’s finale, Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) is just getting released from prison to serve the rest of her time in an NYC halfway house while the guys have created new lives in Copenhagen.
While some viewers may be critical about the way the series has evolved so drastically over the years, Benabib derives a lot of pride from the way they’ve been able to give Nancy’s life several facelifts.
“I think that we’ve managed to keep going, because we’ve changed up so completely. The only thing we followed was Nancy Botwin essentially,” Benabib tells us. “We have not followed a franchise. We have not followed a town. We have not followed a job. We followed a woman as she changes, moves, evolves, and as a result I think that we’ve been true to that evolution. And as a result, it’s a show that can conceivably be open-ended to a certain extent unlike a lot of other shows.”
If the series does get renewed, there’s still the faint possibility that Kohan decides not to renew her contract. When we asked him about the scenario, Benabib demonstrates the same dedication to his colleague as he does Nancy Botwin.
“I think Jenji’s voice is very important to this show,” Benabib tells us. “Quite frankly, I don’t think I want to watch a Weeds without Jenji Kohan involved.”
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to next season as Season 8 in the seventh paragraph.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro