Versus Mode! Nancy Botwin v. Walter White
Did you know drugs are a problem in middle-class suburban America?
I know, I was as shocked as you to learn that kids and indiscriminate adults might well be smoking cigarettes even as I type. And that’s not all: By the time you wake up tomorrow morning, it’s almost a certainty your street will be flooded with half-smoked joints, white powder and used syringes.
In fact, if you live in the suburbs, or anywhere that resembles a suburb, or anywhere at all, your neighbor almost certainly makes or sells the drugs around your community. Maybe you even are that neighbor.
Awareness. That’s a word that we all need more of in our vocabularies. That’s why we at Stars & Popcorn have taken this time to create a very special…
This Evening’s Contenders:
Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy “The Botanist” Botwin
As far as I can tell in my extensive research, America’s drug problem can be traced back to sometime around 2005 when Mary-Louise Parker started selling marijuana in Southern California under the pseudonym Nancy Botwin to fund her inexplicable urge to buy iced coffees and Priuses. But by 2008, drugs had spread as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico as even America’s most boring chemistry teacher, Bryan Cranston (as Walter White), began refining and cooking sweet, sweet crystal meth.
These exploits have been well documented on Showtime’s Weeds and AMC’s Breaking Bad, respectively, but nothing seems to have been done to curb the problem of middle-class white people disgracing their families and communities by selling drugs just because they stand to make stupid-enormous amounts of money. As we at Stars & Popcorn cannot condone this sort of behavior, we’ve used the latest in scientific, sociological and psychological technology to determine which dandruff stain on society’s pressed black suit is the bigger threat to the common good. We’ve even used 10 infallible metrics to prepare a handy data sheet for the Drug Enforcement Agency.
We’re not in it for the reward money (credit cards and checks are also acceptable—no C.O.D.s, please); we’re in it for the children.
It turns out both Nancy Botwin and Walter White share a motivation, just on slightly different timelines. In both cases, at least ostensibly, the suburbanite-turned-drug-dealer is trying to provide for a family left at a loss due to a dead patriarch. The only difference is, whereas Nancy’s husband Judah is already dead when she begins her career, Walter White is the patriarch trying to provide for his own death upon learning he has cancer.
However, as the show proceeds, Nancy’s motivation becomes almost strictly material—once you’ve gone and bought a new Prius, you come to appreciate a certain upper-middle-class lifestyle. Walter, on the other hand, also has the shame of an entire life’s worth of wasted talent and intelligence, of students openly mocking him, of basic pent-up rage at employers who took advantage of him backing him up. Sure, the money is nice, and whatever, it’s better than life insurance for a former teacher, but how sweet is it to wind up rich enough to buy out a business that once drove you crazy just because you can? Walter wants nothing more than to feed the pathetic addiction of his city’s worst people, and then kick everyone who has ever wronged him in the balls. Helping his unappreciative family is all secondary.
ADVANTAGE: Walter White
Here we have a battle between Walter White’s famously pure blue meth and Nancy Botwin’s MILF Weed. At first, it seems like we might have a real competition on our hands, but let’s look a little closer:
White, a scientist whose talents were drastically underutilized teaching high school chemistry, has created a brand of meth just a decimal point away from being pure, providing meth connoisseurs (that’s a thing, right?) the most intense bump they’ve ever had. And, if the show is to be believed, that’s really saying something on the rough-and-tumble streets of Albuquerque.
Botwin, on the other hand, once had a great product—the aforementioned MILF Weed, a strain so great Snoop Dogg improvised a rap about it—but she was only its distributer. It was actually developed by her comrade Conrad. But whatever, it’s still her brand—or it was, until she pissed off the wrong people and got run out of town. More recently, Botwin is living something of a nomadic lifestyle bartering with local dealers for scraps so she can make and distribute low-grade hash. In fact, it’s been almost eight years in the show’s timeline since she has had a product truly worth selling.
ADVANTAGE: Walter White
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