Weeds and Orange is the New Black are cult classics created by the brilliant Jenji Kohan. Kohan is known for creating oddball TV shows that burst with quirky characters followed by their shameless antics that could make Shameless itself seem as tame as Full House.
Whether it's her series about a recently widowed mother who is trying to make ends meet by entering into the drug business or her prison dramedy filled with utterly unique inmates, JK always manages to bring something different to the table, leaving viewers fascinated. What does Weeds do better than Orange is the New Black? What does Orange is the New Black do better than Weeds? Keep on reading to find out!
10 WEEDS HAS MORE FOCUS THAN OITNB
Although many people have accused Weeds of being all over the place starting around season four, it overall has a much stronger focus than Jenji Kohan's prison dramedy series. The main focus on Weeds is the Botwin family, and because they are a tight unit, it is easier to concentrate on the mishaps and wrongdoings of Nancy, Shane, Silas, and Andy, as opposed to Orange is the New Black which has so many main characters that we often get lost when it comes to the extensive amount of storylines we have to follow from each person on the Netflix original series.
On OITNB, we are not only going into the backstories of pretty much every single prisoner, but we are also receiving extensive knowledge that we don't even need on the prison guards as well. Sometimes too much information at once makes things messier than it needs to be, and that is where Weeds is superior to OITNB.
9 OITNB IS MORE EXCITING
Although Weeds is filled with fascinating twists and turns, Orange is the New Black is ultimately a more exciting series because as viewers we feel as though we are constantly on our toes waiting for the next big scandal to arrive in the series. When your show is set in a prison, the stakes are of course going to be high because you never know what chaos might ensue at any given moment.
Plus, these characters simply have a whole lot more energy than the characters do on Weeds, but this is to be expected if you take the setting of each series into consideration. One is set in a New York prison, the other is set in the affluent suburbs of Agrestic (where most of the characters have too much botox injected to reveal any expression at all.)
8 WEEDS HAS A BETTER PROTAGONIST
Say what you will about Nancy Botwin's parenting skills (or lack thereof). Go ahead and scoff every time she enters a room in her eight-inch pumps as she aggressively slurps the straw of her fourth iced-latte of the day. Hate on Nancy-Pants all you want, but don't even try to tell us she isn't one of the most fascinating characters on TV. She was the unsuspecting suburbanite to sell drugs on TV before it was cool (we're looking at you, Walter White!).
When Nancy is asked what her biggest fear is, she answers with "calm." Calm before the storm? No. Calm. So basically, she is addicted to the chaos of life and every move she makes, no matter how frustrating at times, is undeniably engrossing. Piper Chapman, on the other hand, is much less multi-dimensional and feels a bit like a paper doll cutout version of Nancy Botwin.
7 ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK HAS MORE SUSPENSE
Prison is perhaps the most suspenseful place to be locked up in, so it's no wonder Orange is the New Black offers more suspense than Weeds. This was more-so the case in the first handful of seasons on the prison series than as of late, but man is Jenji's Netflix series brilliant when it comes to leaving people wanting—nay, needing—more.
We all remember that classic moment at the end of season two when Rosa fled from the prison in Litchfield's van as she so satisfyingly ran over Vee. While Weeds certainly had its suspenseful moments (Hem Hem, Shane killing Pilar with the mallet,) we're gonna have to give the point to OITNB on this one for being much more consistent with its suspense.
6 WEEDS HAS BETTER ON-SCREEN CHEMISTRY
Don't get us wrong, some of the relationships on OITNB offer an electrifying amount of chemistry that would be enough to make us treasure the series until the end of time. Think Flaca and Maritza along with Morello and Nicky. Yet when it comes down to it, the characters on Weeds feel much more connected in their interactions than those on Orange is the New Black. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the characters on Weeds are mostly family while on OITNB they are simply prison mates. Yet you could also argue that on Orange, they have all created prison families of their own.
On Weeds, it is impossible not to feel the overwhelming amount of love between Nancy and Shane, along with Andy's unrequited affection for Nancy. It just feels so real and authentic in a way that is so subtle, you can't help but melt. The masterful subtlety of Weeds when it comes to the emotional state of any given character is perhaps what makes the series so beloved by those who have stuck with it since the beginning.
5 OITNB IS MUCH MORE PROGRESSIVE
Rewatching Weeds in 2019 can be somewhat of a challenge if you find yourself unable to look past all of the outdated jokes that derived from the 2005-2012 Showtime series. Perhaps you could argue that it was a different time when people, in general, were less informed, or perhaps you could argue that the outdated jokes and comments are only said by characters who are known to be ignorant, yet some of the things said on Weeds would most likely never fly today. Especially on a show like OITNB, which is praised for its inclusivity. Overall, Orange is the new Black is a series that feels much more socially aware and open-minded than Weeds.
4 WEEDS IS MORE SELF-ASSURED THAN OITNB
Sometimes Orange is the New Black feels slightly self-conscious, as though it is trying with all its might to be the most progressive and thought-provoking series in the history of television. It sometimes feels as though OITNB is trying to check off all of the points on a checklist in order to cover every issue that we as women are facing in this day and age so someone out there can write a thought piece on the subject while praising the series. Although OITNB is admirable in its ambition to cover a wide range of issues, it runs the risk of straying away from a good story and feels a bit more like a PSA announcement than a plot. Weeds, on the other hand, never tries to be anything that it's not. It knows what kind of series it is and stands tall in that knowledge whether you like it or not.
3 OITNB HAS MORE MEMORABLE CHARACTERS
Certainly Weeds has incredible characters (we're looking at you, Andy Botwin), but in the long run, if we're going to consider the expansive number of characters that shine on Orange is the New Black in comparison to Weeds, OITNB is the clear winner here. If it wasn't for Litchfield Prison, we would never have the likes of Red and her authoritative yet giddy nature.
We would never have Suzanne (aka Crazy-Eyes) who is easily one of the greatest characters in the history of television. And we must praise OITNB for shining a light on Natasha Lyonne who deserves all the riches on the planet for her portrayal of Nicky Nichols. Overall, the characters on OITNB feel much more interesting when we consider the whole ensemble which is quite large in comparison to Weeds.
2 WEEDS HAS ANDY BOTWIN AND OITNB DOESN'T
Okay, we know, we shouldn't dedicate a whole section to one character alone but with Andy Botwin being so epic and compelling, it seems appropriate. Andy Botwin (aka Nancy's brother-in-law) is one of the most effortlessly charming and likable characters on TV, but he doesn't start out this way. In fact, at first, we nearly loathe this man-child for his juvenile frat-boy antics, yet as the series progresses we slowly begin to realize how much depth there is to Uncle Andy.
His fully-fleshed out character development is so well rounded that it makes us semi-wish Orange is the New Black would focus more on a select group of inmates rather than so many at once, to the point where we can't keep up. There is simply no time to fully develop these individual characters because the show's focus is all over the place.
1 OITNB DOESN'T FALL OFF THE DEEP END AS HARD
When we hear people nowadays discussing Showtime's Weeds, they will most often say one of two things. One being "the first three seasons of the series were epic," and the second being "I nearly gave up watching after season four because of how ridiculous the plot got."
Weeds seemed to have lost a good chunk of its viewers after the Botwin clan left Aggresstic and made their way to the fictional beach town of Ren Mar which was followed by Mexico and then hopped from Michigan to Denmark to Connecticut (including an entire horrendous season in NYC that everyone and their mother skips over entirely). It was all too much for most viewers to keep up with yet the series arguably picked up again in the final season. Although it can easily be argued that OITNB lost its spark almost entirely after season four, at least it had more stamina than Weeds.
Which series do you prefer? Let us know!