Vanity Fair just put up an excellent interview with Mary-Louise Parker, who is once again nominated for an Emmy for her performance in Weeds. The interview was conducted by Eric Spitznagel, who is totally boy-crushing on MLP because she’s so f-cking hardcore and “not America‘s sweetheart.” He tells a story about MLP from several years ago, when she was participating in an Emmy roundtable with members of the press, discussing her character on The West Wing. She admitted that West Wing fans didn’t care for her, but dismissed the fans saying, “They probably have to f-ck with the lights off.” Crude! And funny. The full VF piece is here, and here are the best parts (there‘s a long conversation about marijuana lollipops that I found boring, so I took it out):
Eric Spitznagel: You know how sometimes watching a TV show about food can make you hungry? Whenever I watch Weeds, it always makes me feel like I need to get stoned immediately.
Mary-Louise Parker: Yeah, so many people tell me that.
Does the same thing happen for you? When you finish shooting an episode, do you feel an urge to light up a joint?
I don’t do drugs, but I’m really suggestible. So I imagine if I did, that’s exactly what would happen. I’d be smoking all day long.
Wait, you don’t smoke marijuana, or you’ve never smoked it?
I’ve never smoked it.
Wow. That’s like finding out Tommy Chong never touched the stuff. I feel so betrayed.
I guess if it was going to happen, it would’ve happened when I was younger. But that was never an effective or interesting form of rebellion for me. Because everybody did it. Marijuana was just a social thing. It wasn’t dangerous or frowned upon. If I’d been popular in high school, I’m sure I would have wanted to do it. But I wasn’t.
So you didn’t smoke pot because nobody was offering it to you?
Oh no, it was definitely offered to me. All the time. I was hanging around a lot of musicians, so I definitely had access to drugs. It just never appealed to me. Everybody was doing it, and I didn’t want to be part of the crowd. There was no part of me that wanted to fit in.
You should do a P.S.A. You’ve almost convinced me that pot is boring.
Yeah, probably. But I’m not saying pot is a bad thing. I know plenty of people who should be smoking pot. I’m just not one of those people. I don’t think it would be the best drug for me. What am I going to do, start doing drugs at my age? It’s a little late. I’m a mother of two. It’s probably not the best idea for me to start getting into it now.
Well, I know a few mothers who still partake.
Yeah, I do too. They just wait until their kids are asleep. I don’t know, I guess marijuana just wasn’t made for me.
Over the last few seasons of Weeds, we’ve learned that Nancy likes her sex a little freaky. She wants a lover who isn’t shy with the slapping and the spanking. Is that something you can relate to at all?
I think for her, sexuality is something that she wields. And she needs sex to be somewhat punitive. You know what I mean?
It has to feel like punishment?
Yeah, in a way. I think a lot of people have so much guilt wrapped up in sex, so they almost can’t tell the difference. There’s a scene we did for this season that gets pretty explicit. It was just supposed to be sex in a bar, but I really wanted it to be almost abusive. Because I think she needs it that way. And that’s really informative. If you just see two people f-cking on screen, it’s not necessarily revealing about those characters. But if it’s coming from a particular point of view, that’s when I think it gets interesting.
You’ve been called a “thinking man’s sex symbol.” Does that mean dumb people don’t find you sexy?
I guess so. Dumb people don’t want to f-ck me. (Laughs.) I really don’t know what to say. “Thinking man’s sex symbol.” What do you suppose that means?
I’m not sure. When you get approached by male fans, are they usually neurosurgeons or college professors?
Not really, no. And thank god. I couldn’t even have a conversation with a neurosurgeon. I wouldn’t know what to say. I think that’s probably not an accurate way to describe me. Plenty of dumb people want to f-ck me. Oh god, that’s not going to play well in print, is it?
I think it’s great. What are you worried about, offending dumb people?
Yeah, I could be alienating the dumb people who want to f-ck me. I’m just happy that anybody considers me a sex symbol at all. It does not cause me any amount of grief to be objectified in any way. I welcome it.
If your fans can’t be categorized in terms of intelligence, how would you describe them? Are they a certain age or social class or demographic? When you’re approached in the street, what’s the common denominator?
I never know why people come up to me. I think a lot of them just get super-excited because they recognize me from TV but they don’t remember where. It’s not like they’re necessarily happy to see me, you know?
You’re just the lady from the talking picture box.
Yeah, exactly. I think it’s a little dangerous if you overvalue that kind of attention. My son has recently started to notice it. One time a lady came running up to me in the street and said, “I love you! I love you so much!” And my son asked me later, “Why did that stranger say she loved you?” That’s a very hard question to answer.
How do you explain it? “The world is full of lonely freaks?”
I just said, “She was being hyperbolic, honey. Sometimes when people see someone from television, they feel like that person has come to life and they’re not just inside the TV box. They get very excited and don’t understand personal boundaries.”
And sometimes they like to give mommy pot brownies.
Precisely. But thankfully, they haven’t really done that in view of my children. Although my kids have started to hear about it. They know that my character on Weeds does something with drugs. So now I get questions like, “What are drugs?” And I’m like, “Well, it’s something that … people do.” It’s so hard! Sometimes it’s just easier to say, “She does things that are really, really naughty.” Kids love to hear that. “Oooh, like what?”
Well, like sometimes she has unprotected sex with Mexican mobsters and ends up having their baby.
That’s right. And sometimes men spank her in the back of limousines.
Jennifer Aniston got some flack recently from Bill O’Reilly because she said it’s O.K. to be a single mother. O’Reilly went so far as to call her opinions “destructive to society.” I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this already, but as a single mother who plays a single mother on TV, do you disagree?
I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Why is being a single mother destructive?
I’m not sure I follow his argument. Something about the nuclear family and fathers being disrespected.
Give me a break. He sounds like an idiot. Who is he again?
He’s got a show on Fox News.
That’s the right-wing channel? Well, there you go. Maybe he’s right, I don’t know. I don’t think you necessarily have to be part of a traditional nuclear family to be a good mother. A lot of children from traditional nuclear families have really unhappy childhoods, and they have dysfunctional, distant parents who don’t pay attention to them. Also, some people don’t plan on being single parents. It’s not like you’re sitting at home and thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to do this by myself. I’d love to wake up six times a night and change diapers and have nobody to help me. That’d be great!” I certainly didn’t do that.
So you’re not buying O’Reilly’s theory that single mothers are destroying the fabric of society?
I think that opinion is pretty narrow-minded. People like him—and I don’t even know who he is, so this is just a guess—they usually just say sh-t like that for attention. He probably comes from a nuclear family and didn’t get enough attention as a child.
[From Vanity Fair]
Oh, snap. I love her, and yes, she is hardcore, and no, she’s not interested in being America’s Sweetheart, and isn’t that refreshing? I also love this: “Also, some people don’t plan on being single parents. It’s not like you’re sitting at home and thinking, ‘Wow, I’d really like to do this by myself. I’d love to wake up six times a night and change diapers and have nobody to help me. That’d be great!’ I certainly didn’t do that.” THIS. This is the closest she’s ever come to bitching about Billy Crudup ever, I think. He left her when she was eight months pregnant, so being a single mom wasn’t her plan, but she embraced it and had fun with it and never played the “I’m so wronged, love me!” card. And that is why MLP is the Queen.
One last thing: this is the photo VF used… how crazy is this? I realize she has a killer figure, but the ’Shopping must stop.
VF photo courtesy of VF online. Header photo courtesy of WENN.