In the mid-90s, Viacom majority owner Sumner Redstone coined the phrase “Content is king.” Though his commitment to this ideal is questionable in some arenas (*ahem* Jersey Shore), when it comes to Viacom’s pay channel Showtime, Redstone’s absolutely correct. Nurse Jackie is Showtime’s crack at the medical drama genre, but this ain’t no Grey’s Anatomy. Jackie (Edie Falco) is a fast-talking, drug snorting, adulterous nurse who you can’t help but fall in love with. Find out why this show deserves your attention after the jump.
As in any good character-driven piece, Jackie, our protagonist, engages in a sort of juggling act. She is a lover both to her husband and to her hospital’s pharmacist (her dealer). She is a role model both for her daughters and for Zoey (Merritt Wever), the nurse-in-training beneath her. And she is a friend and confident both for gay/hispanic/middle eastern fellow nurse Mohammed de la Cruz (Haaz Sleiman) and for BFF Dr. Eleanor O’Hara (Eve Best). She spins so many plates that they all threaten to fall all the time.
And yet, in spite of her vices (the whole druggy adulterer thing) and her high levels of stress, there’s something endearing about her. Maybe it’s simply Edie Falco’s pitch-perfect performance, or a strong, multi-faceted, impeccably realized female role crafted by writers Liz Brixius, Evan Dunsky and Linda Wallem. Either way, Nurse Jackie makes for a fascinating character study of a woman ever on the brink of collapse.
The box set contains your standard bonus features. The commentary tracks with Edie Falco and producers Liz Brixius, Linda Wallem and Richie Jackson are very insightful, particularly for aspiring show runners. The featurettes, unfortunately, a largely fluff: “All About Edie” has the cast and crew waxing poetic about the show’s star, “Unsung Heroes” has them waxing poetic about nurses in general, “Prepping Nurse Jackie” is your standard making-of, and “Nurse Stories” is, well, quite literally stories told by nurses (not ones that inspired episodes of the show, however).
Ultimately, season one is really only a “buy” if you love the show, but it’s hard not to love; the acting is stellar, it’s shot more like a movie than a TV series, and the writing is unparalleled. I will admit, the season’s end is a little unsatisfying, but I attribute its lack of a cliffhanger to the show’s uncertain renewal. Besides, I’ll take closure over uncertainty any day.
Nurse Jackie season one is on DVD now, and season two begins March 22nd.
-“All About Edie”
-“Prepping Nurse Jackie”