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The Gangster, Boredom, and Family

The Gangster, Boredom, and Family

Weeds, Natality, and New Television

(p.124) 4 The Gangster, Boredom, and Family
New Television
Martin Shuster
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a close reading of Showtime’s Weeds, arguing that Weeds is fundamentally concerned with a problem that defines segments of modernity: a certain sort of boredom, engendered by human progress and technology. This point is unpacked via the work of the philosopher Martin Heidegger and his 1929/1930 lectures on boredom. With such a view of Weeds on the table, the chapter also shows how this preoccupation with boredom and with modernity also connects Weeds to two other filmic genres: gangster films and remarriage comedies. Showing how Weeds participates in and innovates on both genres, the chapter presents a reading of Weeds that also finally presents a comprehensive understanding of the genre—or as this chapter argues, more properly: the mode—of new television, a mode involved in, but not reducible, to the genres (automatisms) of remarriage comedies, gangster films, and suburban fiction.

Keywords:   Weeds, new television, television series, Nancy Botwin, Jill Botwin, Andy Botwin, gangster, remarriage comedy, boredom, Martin Heidegger

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