Weeds, Anger Management 

Plus: Louie, Brand X, Episodes

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  • Showtime
  • Weeds

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Weeds
Sunday, July 1 (Showtime)

Season Premiere: Last season ended with drug-dealing Mother of the Year Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) in the crosshairs of a gun and a shot going off, leading to a year of questions: Is Nancy dead? Was that the series finale? Did the gunshot hit someone else at the dinner table? Seriously, was that the series finale? You already know some of the answers: There’s no Weeds without Parker, even though this eighth season has been officially declared the show’s last, and no one would put it past creator Jenji Kohan to make her ride out the final 13 episodes as a mocha-slurping ghost. Every season since the suburbs-burning third has been a wildly different trip; going by tonight’s and the July 8 ep, it’s impossible to say if Season 8 is going to play out as a happy victory lap for the Botwins, an overdue comeuppance for Nancy or a screw-it-all blaze of glory that could literally end in a blaze. What can be told: The “Little Boxes” theme song is back!


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Anger Management
Thursday, June 28 (FX)

Series Debut: The promotional ramp-up to Charlie Sheen’s post-“Winning” TV comeback suggests an edgier, cable-ier brand of comedy than Two & a Half Men, his previous gig on the other side of that napalmed bridge. Nope: Anger Management is another multicamera, laugh-tracked sitcom loaded with set-’em-up/knock’em-down one-liners—hell, his character is even named “Charlie” again. Thing is, he’s still damned good at it, and the first two episodes are at least funnier than most of last season’s Sheen-less Two & a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher. Sitcom vet Shawnee Smith, playing the ex-wife to Sheen’s failed-baseball-player-turned-anger-management-therapist, is as skilled a straight man as Men’s Jon Cryer, and Selma Blair brings some damaged weirdness as Charlie’s own therapist/girlfriend. Anger Management doesn’t fit with the network’s comedy brand, and it’s certainly not going to win over any Sheen-haters—so maybe it is subversive. Pretty sneaky, FX.

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Louie
Thursday, June 28 (FX)

Season Premiere: Back in the regular world of FX comedy, Louie is back for a third season of grainy film, painful laughs and a tidal wave of critical praise that would likely paralyze any writer/director/star who actually paid attention to it (The Only TV Column That Matters™ will be amazed if Lena Dunham completes a second season of Girls without suffering a nervous breakdown or TMZ dossier). Fortunately, Louis C.K. is staying true to his vision of storytelling comedy with little-to-no continuity from one year (or episode) to the next. In tonight’s “Something is Wrong,” after the season premiere of Wilfred, Louie has a new, if momentary, girlfriend (Gaby Hoffmann) and a midlife death wish (you’d think Louis C.K. on a motorcycle would be hilarious, but he looks almost Sons of Anarchy-ready on a hog … almost).

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Brand X
Thursday, June 28 (FX)

Series Debut: Since “Russell Brand’s observational humor is extremely topical,” Brand X will be taped a couple days before air and not available for preview. No need: Brand’s irritating man-child shtick was moderately amusing in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, but that’s it—he’s proven in everything since that his “humor” ain’t ready for primetime. As the saying goes, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that Russell Brand is funny.

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Episodes
Sunday, July 1 (Showtime)

Season Premiere: Long before Dawson’s Creek’s James Van Der Beek landed the role of James Van Der Beek on Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, Friends’ Matt LeBlanc was killing it as Matt LeBlanc on Episodes. He’s even better in Season 2—don’t miss it.

Twitter: @Bill_Frost

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