‘Weeds’: a biology lesson

27 10 2010

I’ve not covered several episodes of Weeds this month—October has been nuts! Nancy and the crew have purchased and traded an amusingly-painted RV, been run out of town, sold weed at a kids’ concert, been to a pediatrician, and continued to evade detection.

But Nancy made the mistake of returning to her home town, a place where people know her—and giving Shane and Silas a chance to snoop around. Is Judah Silas’s dad, or is it really Nancy’s California-boy high school sweetheart?

Yes, Silas, blonde hair can skip a generation. A quick lesson in genetics (skip this if you don’t care; it probably isn’t new to you): Blonde hair is the result of two recessive genes. Recessive genes aren’t expressed unless a person gets one from each parent. Silas is blonde, so he got one from Nancy and one from whomever his father is (Judah or California boy). Nancy is a brunette with a blonde kid, so she has one recessive blonde gene from one parent and one dominant brunette gene from the other. She passed her recessive blonde gene on to Silas but the dominant brunette gene to Shane (and Stevie). If Judah had blonde people in his family, he could have passed on a recessive gene and therefore fathered Silas. If not, daddy dearest is California boy. In short, two brunettes can have blonde kids if there are blonde genes in their heritage, but two blondes cannot have brunette kids.

To illustrate, we have Punnett squares on Post-It Notes.

Punnett square 1: Nancy and Judah, if Judah has a recessive gene (yes, I forgot to put the “B” on the top and “b” on the bottom on Judah’s side. Sorry about that.)

Punnett square 2: Nancy and California Boy

Punnett square 3: Nancy and Judah, if Judah does NOT have a recessive gene

You probably knew all of that—it’s pretty simple bio. Now Silas needs to learn it!

Anyway, the guy Nancy met in the cemetery is, of course, trouble. He’ll sic the FBI (or Esteban) on Nancy and the kids soon, but for now, let’s just ponder this new “Silas’s daddy” mystery, conveniently dropped into the plot because Weeds is running out of steam. The we’re-on-the-run-but-oh-no-someone-spotted-us storyline is tired and needs to nap until next Monday.

Richard Dreyfuss kind of rocks, even if his character is creepy.

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