Justin Kirk Helps Weeds Get Good Again

When Chandra Wilson and Jim Parsons announce the Emmy nominations next Thursday, we’re not expecting to hear Justin Kirk’s named called. And, frankly, his exclusion will be warranted: Not even Mr. Kirk was able to withstand the shoddy fourth season of Weeds, which coated every actor on the show, no matter how talented, in total disappointment. But, allow us to start the campaign for Mr. Kirk’s 2010 Best Supporting Actor nomination right now! In a completely unexpected (at least for us) turn of events, Weeds has become highly entertaining once again. And in the middle of the resurgence is the genius that is Justin Kirk.

As Andy, the ne’er-do-well brother-in-law of Mary-Louise Parker’s Nancy Botwin, Mr. Kirk has long been one of our favorite parts of Weedshis monologue about masturbation still has to rank as one of the ten-best television soliloquies of the last decade. The key to his performance is that he artfully mixes a wild streak of anti-authoritarianism with a touching and almost child-like naïveté. Only Andy could crack wise to Demian Bichir’s scary/sexy Mexican drug lord, Esteban (who just so happens to be the father of Nancy’s unborn child), and be surprised when it resulted in him being tasered. While in the hands of a lesser actor, those two opposing traits might be combustible, for Mr. Kirk, the results yield perfection.

(Why Mr. Kirk’s film career hasn’t taken off is a question we can’t even begin to answer; whatever the reason, though, we’re pretty sure he would be outstanding in something like The Hangover.)

We’d say that Mr. Kirk’s work in season five has been a revelation, but, more accurately, it’s just a reminder: After wallowing in disastrously lame plots for the better part of two years—Remember when Andy joined the army? Or became a porn star because of his missing toes?—it’s nice that he has gotten material once again equal to his talents. Perhaps the biggest difference between this season and years past is that Weeds has finally started taking advantage of the surprisingly strong sexual chemistry between Mr. Kirk and Ms. Parker, creating an untenable-yet-believable love triangle between Nancy, Andy and Esteban. (We’re already looking forward to next week’s episode when a heart-broken-and-bearded Andy fences with Esteban for Nancy’s affections.) As creator Jenji Kohan said recently, this is Weeds’s very own warped version of Casablanca. If that means Andy is Humphrey Bogart (though with Peter Lorre-like eyes), then consider us excited for the remainder of the season.