Nurse Jackie: High and Mighty or Angry and Whiny?

29 Jul

Edie Falco as Nurse Jackie

Why does the Showtime original half-hour dark comedy work so well when it defies American audience genre expectations of how a medical show should work?  Normally, American medical dramas are traditionally hour-long shows , although there is the success of the irreverent Scrubs! but American television usually doesn’t do medical comedy.  However, Nurse Jackie is a Showtime product – and they have proven that they don’t follow traditional genre expectations – The Big C, Weeds and Californication  illustrate that Showtime is willing to move beyond conventional narratives and take their audience to the edge and beyond of what we might deem morally acceptable.  What works so well for these shows and Nurse Jackie is the compelling characters that are at once human and despicable.

Is Jackie (Edie Falco) a flawed character?  She’s a seasoned New York City nurse who ingests any painkiller or speed pill available but it’s hard to blame her when forced to identify with her life in the hospital, the demands from her husband and kids, and yes, even her lover.  She’s tough-talking but she has a soft side just when you least expect it.  This is what makes her human.  And fallible.  Her best friend is a wealthy female British surgeon, Dr. Eleanor O’Hara (Eve Best), in her own way, just as tough and emotionally distant as Jackie.  They’re the Thelma & Louise of All Saints’ Hospital.

What makes this show work is the level of quality coming from this Showtime production.  Yes, there is drug abuse, adultery, theft and assault to name a few transgressions that occur every week but it’s the way in which these transgressions occur, how they are handled and resolved that makes this show such a pleasure to watch.  For Jackie Peyton, it’s simply all in a day’s work.

Watch my Vlog Review on YouTube.

Season 3 Trailer Promo:

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