September 05, 2006 at 05:46 PM EDT

The Armenian Mob has been taking over the tube lately with guest-starring-criminal roles on three of our favorite shows: in a trial of a Mob boss on TNT’s The Closer; in a money-train robbery on FX’s TheShield; and now in Showtime’s comedy Weeds they’re muscling in on the grow house of weed entrepreneur Nancy Botwin, a.k.a. Lacy LaPlante (Mary-Louise Parker). So why the suddenpopularity? “When Armenian mobsters have gunfights, their guns go‘bang-ian,’” jokes Weeds executive producer Jenji Kohan. “Butseriously, I live in a neighborhood with a large Armenian populationand that inspired our choice.” Not that the Armenian community thinksit’s a good one. “There’s so little mention of us in pop culture thatit would be a shame if the primary appearance was in the form oforganized crime,” says Marc A. Mamigonian at the National Associationfor Armenian Studies and Research. “Maybe TV producers are bored withthe traditional Mobs — they’re overexposed.”

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