Created for Colorado State University's The Collegian in 1992, Brett Merhar's cult comic strip Free for All achieved nationwide prominence when it was syndicated by King Features beginning in 1998. The TV-cartoon version of the property was every bit as hilariously tasteless and mean-spirited as the original strip, if not more so. Merhar himself provided the voice of protagonist Clay Zeeman, a twentysomething slacker who became a millionaire after suing a fast-food restaurant. The episodes focused on the friendship between Clay and his "loser" buddy, impoverished community-college student Johnny G. Jenkins (voiced by Jonathan Silverman). Others in the cast included Angus, a doped-up ferret who'd escaped from a corporate testing lab; Johnny's father, Doug, a non-charming drunk; Johnny's oversexed grandma, a character right out of Playboy; and sexy girl-next-door Paula (voiced by Juliette Lewis). Also appearing in animated form were a number of pop-culture icons, some of whom actually provided their own voices. Merriwether Williams of SpongeBob SquarePants fame served as head writer. The initial seven episodes of Free for All were animated by Film Roman (The Simpsons, King of the Hill); the series premiered July 11, 2003, on the Showtime cable network.
The carnal escapades of a New York City novelist who relocates to Los Angeles when one of his books is turned into a movie and he's pegged to work on the screenplay. After overcoming writer's block, he takes a job ghostwriting a famous record producer's memoir and later teaches a college course in creative writing.
Produced for cable's Showtime service, the half-hour Weeds starred Mary-Louise Parker as suburban housewife Nancy Botwin, whose comfy, affluent existence was shattered by the unexpected death of her husband. With no other readily available source of income, Nancy decided to service an ever-growing consumer demand -- by selling marijuana to other white-bread suburbanites. Purchasing her pot from streetwise dealer Conrad Shepard (Romany Malco) and his aunt, supplier Heylia James (Tonye Patano), Nancy set up her new business enterprise using a bakery as a front, with the assistance of city councilman Doug Wilson (Kevin Nealon) -- all the while keeping her activities a secret from her snooty, traditionalist best friend, PTA president Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins). Also in the cast were Alexander Gould and Hunter Parrish as Nancy's sons, Shane and Silas; Justin Kirk as her overgrown-slacker brother-in-law, Andy; Andy Milder as Celia's feeble husband, Dean Hodes; Allie Grant as the Hodes' overweight daughter, Isabelle; and Martin Donovan as Peter, a single dad whom Nancy fell for -- and who turned out to be a DEA agent. The series' ironic theme music was the Womenfolk's "Little Boxes," a satiric paean to split-level conformity. One of those series invariably described as "smart and sexy" by in-the-know critics, the Golden Globe-winning Weeds debuted August 7, 2005.