Dramatic, funny, and incredibly entertaining are three words to quickly sum up two similar shows, ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Weeds.’ These two series had the same basic plot, a parent involved in drug dealing, yet told in completely different ways.
On Breaking Bad, the main character Walter White cooks crystal meth with the hopes of selling it. He’s not doing this for any cheap thrills, at first. Walter is in the drug game because he has terminal cancer and he wants to make a lot of money to leave for his family when he dies. No one suspects him because his whole life he has been a nerdy high school chemistry teacher who lets people walk all over him.
Meanwhile on Weeds, mother Nancy Botwin has gotten into the drug game for some similar reasons. Nancy is an actual marijuana dealer whose goal is to keep her life and her family’s lives the same after the unexpected passing of her husband. She keeps her second life a secret from her family until things get out of control and they become heavily involved in everything she does.
The Bad Guys
The main villains on Breaking Bad are terrifying. Gus Fring and his crew, Jack Welker and his Aryan friends, and all of the drug dealers minor or associated with the cartel pose a threat to Walter throughout the series. Other enemies come around too, some in his own family. Of course, in the end Walter is probably the biggest bad guy of all which no one could have suspected after the first few episodes.
Nancy battles far less threatening villain. She even ends up marrying one. Nancy has to fight off gang members and the cartel as well as police officers throughout the series. Since Weeds is more of a comedy there’s far less realistic threats to her life. The bad guys Nancy faces were usually more comical, although Breaking Bad still had plenty of funny moments from their villains. Like Walter, the way Nancy neglected her family for her own needs could make her a villain too even if she was never quite as despicable.
Walter’s best sidekick is without a doubt Jesse Pinkman. His literal partner in crime, Pinkman’s on and off loyalty to Walter was as entertaining as anything else on the show. The two had their moments of shared glory and of course the times when they tried to kill each other. Walter also frequently recruited others to help him, often times because they had a common enemy or goal. Mike Ehrmantraut was one such man always on the brink of friend and enemy even when they were working together.
Over on Weeds the primary sidekicks for Nancy were her family. Sons Silas and Shane were heavily involved in her criminal activities as was the lovable Uncle Andy. Family friend Doug also stuck around throughout the series while others came and went throughout. The show eventually developed into less about Nancy and more about the relationships she had with those sidekicks. Even with all of the help she had from the people she loved, they were not enough. They all had their own lives and abandoning her for what they wanted was her downfall.