The 'Weeds' House is For Sale

By Dave Fratello | June 2nd, 2021

One landmark little beach cottage near town has come to market after somewhat more than 110 years in its current state.

124 8th Street Manhattan Beach CAIt's 124 8th (3br/2ba, 1760 sqft.), a classic cutie on a full walkstreet lot.

Sporting a 1909 build date, at one point owned for 50+ years by the same family, the home boasts one nice distinction: a literal "landmark" designation in 2010 by the Cultural Heritage Conservancy.

Unlike in some areas, here in Manhattan Beach that "landmark" designation does not necessarily mean that there are limits on what a buyer can do with the property, including full and outright demolition and rebuilding. (Buyer, you should verify.)

With an asking price of $5.199M, virtually all of it land value, you would tend to bet on future new development on the site.

But y'know what we see here?

It's the "Weeds" house.

Now, everyone, gather around for a short story.

Y'see, at one point, marijuana was considered to be so dangerous and difficult to control, it was illegal.

If you used it, held it or sold it, you could go to jail. And don't even think of growing it. Hard time.

Problem was, almost no one really agreed with that prohibition, and many flouted it, with a smirk.

This old-fashioned, mixed-up set of circumstances was grist for comedy gold. Specifically, for a pay-cable network show, "Weeds," featuring a suburban mom pot dealer. (Hilarious! She drove her kids to soccer in a minivan and smoked and sold weed! Wacky, right!?!)

The show mocked suburban/exurban communities for their surface-level conformities ("little boxes made of ticky tack... little boxes all the same") with a deep underbelly of dysfunction. The normalization of marijuana was often just the scaffolding for a broader dark-comedy soap opera.

By Season 4, hoping to avoid jumping the shark, they moved the show from a gated community in the San Fernando Valley (fictionally named "Agrestic") to the beach. And this is where Manhattan Beach came in.

One of the show's stars, SNL alum Kevin Nealon, lived on the 100-block of the 8th St. walkstreet here. The show wanted a beach house, and he looked across the street and said something like, "My commute could be walking across the street. That's the house."

Nealon then lived at 125 8th (pictured), and 124 8th was selected as the exterior for the Weeds house. (The old beach cottage at 125 8th was later sold & razed and is now a big modern beach house that sold last year for $7.790M.)

Alas, Manhattan Beach seemed to get neither street cred nor negative publicity for the Weeds house.

The beach town in the show was supposed to be the fictional "Ren Mar," someplace near San Diego. So despite the presence of the 124 8th St. cottage and various exterior shots around Manhattan Beach being featured in the show, few viewers would have known that it was the crown jewel of the South Bay on parade.

Is Weeds part of our "cultural heritage?"

Well, Manhattan Beach did vote handily in favor of Prop. 64 (2016), 61% to 39%, to legalize and regulate marijuana more like alcohol. But (so far) the city has not allowed any dispensaries to open up. So the show must not have had a heavy influence.

The real cultural or heritage value of the home is, obviously, in its status as a nearly original beach cottage, an exemplar of simpler times by the sea. The home radiates a "Martha Stewart" energy (per the listing), not a Harold & Kumar vibe.

As we often do in the case of a charming older house coming to market, we'll be not-so-secretly rooting for a buyer to come along who appreciates the house largely for what it is, and wants to give it a new lease on life.

C'mon, if "Weeds" could make it 8 seasons (yes, a shark was eventually jumped), then 124 8th can make it to 125+ years, right?

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