Humboldt County: Like The Graduate on Pot

If you transplanted Weeds to far northern California's "lost coast," where pot growers and meth-tweaking rednecks exist in mossy discord, Showtime might have a pretty good series here. A UCLA med student (Jeremy Strong) follows a flighty chanteuse (Fairuza Balk, gone in 60 seconds) up to her extended-extended family pot farm, ruled by a THC-addled patriarch (Brad Dourif, in full command of his role) with a rivalrous stepson (Chris Messina). Here, amid the slanting, redwood-canopied marine light, Harold and Kumar most definitely do not go to White Castle. Humboldt County settles down like the mellow last ember of a joint at sunset, then sustains that mood too far beyond its initial buzz. It wants to be Chekhov in the woods, and...the woods sure are pretty. Dubbed "sweater vest," the uptight young doctor is basically The Graduate's Benjamin Braddock three generations removed, with hemp dangled in place of plastics. Our future MD struggles to find himself while tending marijuana groves with the paranoid (and possibly unstable) stepson and befriending his cute scamp of a daughter. The latter expertly rolls joints for grandpa Dourif and grandma Frances Conroy, who conveys a crone-haired, floral-skirted dignity the script doesn't quite deserve. When Peter Bogdanovich finally shows up as our hero's disapproving father (it's Dr. Kupferberg from The Sopranos!), you wish he'd stay a while longer. Like another 12 episodes.

 
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