LOS ANGELES -- Even after eight years of "Weeds," the marijuana jokes keep on coming.

Fake joints were handed out at a news conference promoting the series, which concludes the adventures of a drug-dealing suburban widow with Sunday's hour-long finale (10 p.m. EDT).

"I used to say that pot took away from my rent, and now it pays it," wisecracked cast member Justin Kirk.

But for Jenji Kohan, creator and executive producer, the legacy of the show starring Mary-Louise Parker is far more substantive than one-liners.

"We had an extraordinary opportunity to do a half-hour where you didn't have to have a joke a page .... We got to do drama slammed right up against comedy, at will," Kohan said. "We sort of piloted a new half-hour form and that was a lovely thing to be able to do."

The approach didn't benefit the show in the awards realm, where hybrids tend to sow confusion. "Weeds" received a handful of Emmy nods, including for Parker, co-star Elizabeth Perkins and as best comedy, but no major awards, although Parker was a Golden Globes winner.

"Weeds" certainly was a champion groundbreaker for Showtime, which became home to other series with a similarly dark bent.

It was "the show that set the tone for the current slate of original programming on Showtime," said David Nevins, the channel's entertainment president. "It redefined the network and paved the way for a new generation of antiheroes" on "Nurse Jackie," "Dexter," "Californication" and more.

It's also among a rare group of cable TV shows that reached 100 episodes, Nevins said at a celebration of the milestone taping.

Doe-eyed troublemaker Nancy Botwin (Parker) is at a critical juncture in the finale.

In the preceding episode, she and brother-in-law Andy (Kirk) and son Silas (Hunter Parrish) returned home to fictional Agrestic, Calif., and to familiar faces. Nancy, Guillermo (Guillermo Diaz) and Conrad (Romany Malco) have teamed up to grow legalized marijuana, and Nancy had an emotional tryst with Andy.

Parker has her character's number, she told reporters in July.

"Generally, as a culture, we've tended to gravitate more towards women who are more, you know, exemplary in a way than she is," she said. "But I like that about (her). And I always wanted her to be bad. I wanted her to be as bad as she could and worse than that."

Nancy's appeal lies in her determination, Parker said: "Her heart's usually in the right place, and she just can't be defeated, and she keeps trying."

Kohan, who describes herself as "wistful" about the show's conclusion, is moving on to several other projects, including a Netflix prison-set series, "Orange is the New Black," based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman.

How will viewers react to the "Weeds" finale?

"I hope they'll feel a sense of satisfaction. I hope they'll appreciate where everyone ended," Kohan said.

The final chapter for Nancy and her circle is fitting, according to Parker.

"I would hate to give away anything about it, but I just cried when I read it. I think it's beautiful," she said. The episode has "hope in it, and there was some sort of benediction."

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  • Nancy got pregnant with Esteban's baby

    After selling out his underling Guillermo (and their drug-smuggling tunnel) to the DEA, Nancy got pregnant with Mexican druglord and politician Esteban Reyes' baby.

  • Andy told Nancy he loved her

    Andy told his sister-in-law Nancy that he's been not-so-secretly in love with her for a long time.

  • Esteban decided not to kill Nancy

    Esteban had some trouble deciding how he wanted to treat Nancy's pregnancy. First he made Nancy prove the baby was his, then he debated killing her, before finally forcing her to live at his compound. Eventually, he asked her to marry him, but his cartel boss Pilar Zuazo wouldn't let it happen.

  • Nancy had her third son

    With the help of Dr. Audra Kitson (played by Alanis Morissette), Nancy gave birth to her third son, Steven Ray Botwin.

  • Andy fell in love ... again

    Andy fell in love with Dr. Kitson and asked her to marry him, but all hell broke loose before she has a chance to answer.

  • Pilar became a problem

    Behind-the-scenes cartel boss-lady Pilar Zuazo became a problem for Nancy and her family. She blackmailed Esteban, hired a hitman to take Nancy out, and when that didn't work, she threatened her sons' lives.

  • Shane took care of it

    After Pilar finished threatening Nancy and her sons, Shane appeared from behind her and whacked her in the head with a croquet mallet. She fell into the pool and died from the head trauma.

  • The Botwins fled North

    The Botwins fled Esteban's compound in Mexico for Canada, running from the cartel and the law. They embarked on a road trip that would take them back to California and through Colorado, Montana, Seattle and Nancy's hometown in Michigan.

  • Andy left Audra behind

    A cross-bow wielding anti-abortion zealot held Audra hostage, but Nancy figured out a way to free her. Still, Audra freaked out at Andy for not defending her, denied his marriage proposal and broke up with him. Rather than fight to save the relationship, he decided to leave her behind and head North with the Botwins.

  • Nancy had sex with Mark-Paul Gosselaar

    While stopping over in a small town called Pioneer City, Nancy got drunk at a bar and had rough, doggy-style sex with the bartender Jack, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

  • Silas discovered Judah wasn't his biological father

    In Michigan, Silas discovered that Judah wasn't his biological father after meeting Nancy's high school boyfriend Lars, who looks just like him.

  • Nancy, Andy and Silas sold pot in a Seattle hotel

    The family briefly re-settled in Seattle, calling themselves the Newmans. Silas, Nancy and Andy got odd-jobs at a hotel, which they quickly turned into a weed-selling operation. (Also, her hair looked like that.)

  • Nancy went public ... sort of

    Nancy agreed to tell her life story to an investigative journalist in exchange for enough money to buy her family fake passports so they could move to Copenhagen. Unfortunately, Guillermo and Esteban killed the journalist before he could write the story.

  • Guillermo and Esteban tracked Nancy down

    Guillermo and Esteban tracked Nancy and her family down, and held Silas hostage, trying to trade him for baby Stevie. Nancy put "Plan C" into effect and agreed to go with them as they threatened to kill her. Suddenly, FBI agents swarmed them at the airport and Nancy confessed to the murder of Pilar Zuazo. Guillermo, Esteban and Nancy were arrested while Silas, Shane and Andy got on a plane to Denmark.

  • Life in Copenhagen

    "Weeds" jumped three years ahead at the start of Season 7. Doug, Andy, Silas and Shane made themselves nice lives in Copenhagen. Shane became a puppeteer, Silas worked as a male model while Andy and Doug led stoner bicycle tours through the city.

  • Nancy got out of jail

    After serving three years in prison, Nancy got out on parole and was ordered to live in a half-way house in New York. Stevie had been living under the legal custody of her sister Jill, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. The guys reluctantly left Copenhagen to fly to New York when they got word Nancy had been released.

  • Nancy got a girlfriend

    When she was in jail, Nancy hooked up with her cellmate Zoya, who gave her a key to a cache of grenades that Nancy traded with Zoya's brother Demetri for some Afghan weed when she got out. She also had an affair with Demetri.

  • Shane joined the cadets

    Channeling his interest in crime into something positive, Shane joined a New York City police cadet training program, where he used his police connections for inside information, and worked with Nancy to take down a rival weed delivery service.

  • Silas got mad

    Unfortunately, Silas had been hooking up with and talking about merging with Emma (Michelle Trachtenberg), the boss of that rival delivery service, Pouncy House. When he realized Nancy orchestrated her bust, he got angry and tried to break off from Nancy and start his own business, but it didn't go too well.

  • Nancy sold pot in the Hamptons

    Doug got promoted to CFO of a Ponzi-scheme hedge fund that his college buddies started, and took Nancy out to the Hamptons, where they sold insanely overpriced "luxury" weed to wealthy unsuspecting customers.

  • Nancy bought the family a compound in Connecticut

    Using the profits from her luxury weed operation and some cash from Doug's hedge fund, Nancy bought a family compound in Connecticut ... complete with a grow-room for Silas. Her sister Jill moved in with Stevie and her two kids. Andy and Jill also started having sex again.

  • Nancy got shot?

    As Nancy gave a toast to new beginnings at a family dinner, a gunman lurking in the bushes got Nancy in his sights. He fired a shot and the screen went dark, ending Season 7 on a major cliffhanger.