September 14, 2009

Abumchuk on Weeds

I just finished watching Season 2 of Weeds, the Showtime comedy about a suburban mom who becomes a marijuana dealer. The last three episodes include an Inuit character.

Here's the introduction to him in Episode 10:

Mile Deep And A Foot Wide

By Wing ChunDiner. Kat is showing Andy a manuscript of her book: Permafuck: A Journal of Spirit Rape. I'd still rather read that than A Million Little Pieces. Kat explains that it's a memoir of their time in Alaska. Andy won't like everything in it, and Abumchuk was pretty upset about it, and wants to kill Andy--that's her boyfriend. Kat ditched him in Bakersfield; she's pretty sure he didn't follow her. Andy asks whether Abumchuk is a "big Eskimo dude," and Kat corrects him that the proper term is "Inuit," but yes. Andy: "Is that him?" Cut to a big First Nations guy sitting at the bar in an orange parka with the hood up. Ha! Kat, laughing, says no. Double ha! She adds that Abumchuk is much bigger than that guy. Andy brings her attention back to the manuscript, and she says that she needs him to sign a letter attesting that everything in the book really happened. Andy confirms that if he does, she'll leave, and Kat, coming around to his side of the booth and licking his cheek, agrees, saying that he can read it in the van, after he fucks her: "Abumchuk is an old soul, and he beats people up for me, but he's a premature ejaculator. You're the last man who made me come!" Andy tries to beg off, but Kat reminds him of some legendarily awesome occasion in Ketchican, and Andy quickly calls for the cheque. Crazy girls need love too!In the penultimate episode, Yeah, Just Like Tomatoes, a huge man waves at Nancy from across the street. A tribal-style drumbeat punctuates his presence. Later, he appears in a store window where Andy, Kat, and the boys are shopping.

Back at home, Kat admits Abumchuk is more of a bounty hunter than a boyfriend. He's pursuing her because, as she puts it, "I did something illegal." It seems she stole $1.3 million in casino chips.

In the final episode, Pittsburgh, Abumchuk shows up at Shane's graduation party, where he encounters Celia:Celia ... runs into Abumchuk--who is easily two feet taller than she is. Celia: "Get. The fuck. Out of my way." Abumchuk is no less terrified of Celia by virtue of his height, and stands aside, huffing, "Jesus, people are so rude in the south!"Kat flees with Shane, which forces Uncle Andy to join forces with Abumchuk:We see that Abumchuk is tailing them in his truck, though this pair of traveling companions is a lot less suited to each other: Andy's sitting shotgun. "Step on it, Geronimo!" yelps Andy frantically. Abumchuk does not care for his slur.Background on the actor

Abumchuk is played by Robert "Bonecrusher" Mukes:Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Mukes always had the goal of acting professionally in mind.

A sports scholarship for basketball was his ticket out to the west coast.
Mukes took the drive and determination he acquired from professionally playing basketball and applied those qualities into his acting.

Robert has spent an extensive amount of time receiving professional training in the field of acting.

Standing at 6'10", Mukes uniquely stands out from his fellow actors. His light, charasmatic presence lends to the humorous side of his characters, while the slight darkness that lingers in his physicality lends to the darker more serious side of his characters.
Rob's review

Weeds gets a mixed grade for the character Abumchuk. On the one hand, his name sounds like a stupid joke, the tribal drums aren't necessary, and the actor playing him isn't Native. (I'm not sure what Mukes's background is. He looks vaguely ethnic, like he might be half-something.)

On the other hand, he's wearing regular clothes, not a parka with a harpoon. He's much bigger than the typical Inuit man. And he's a bounty hunter. All these traits are worthwhile for challenging the viewers' expectations.

True, a bounty hunter is a type of hunter, which is a Native cliché. But so far we haven't seen Abumchuk use his "tracking skills" or brandish a weapon. He seems more original than stereotypical.

Abumchuk appears in one more episode: the Season 3 opener, which I haven't seen yet. I'll let you know how it goes when I see it.

As for Weeds overall, it's entertaining. Season 2 is actually better than Season 1 because the plots and characters thicken. Fans of edgy cable shows like Six Feet Under should give it a try.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

Below:  Robert Mukes as somebody other than Abumchuk.

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