Posted by: Paul | January 19, 2010

Nurse Jackie

Just when I don’t need another TV series to be a time-sink for me, along comes one more I can’t ignore. A couple of weeks ago BBC2 started showing the new Edie Falco series, Nurse Jackie. Falco is very famous as Carmella Soprano in the show which shares her surname (something which also passed me by first time and I am only just catching up with on DVD).

I read an article at the weekend where the reviewer said that an actor is lucky to have one career-defining role, and now Falco has two. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not keen on medical shows at all normally, especially US ones. The appeal of the nineties obsession with ER (admittedly mostly female), then later Gray’s Anatomy, House, Nip/Tuck and so on all escaped me – but then I am horribly squeamish – so I was a little sceptical that Nurse Jackie would engage me, but I have been very pleasantly (and also unpleasantly, but in a pleasant way) surprised by this new import.

I think this is for two reasons. One is the format – half an hour just suits me so much better right now. It’s hard to clear a whole hour to sit down and concentrate on something like The Sopranos, but I don’t feel quite so much guilt about being a couch potato for just half an hour with Nurse Jackie.

The second is the tone. I think the whole show is pitched just right – it’s Scrubs for grown-ups. Less zany comedy, more comment on both the US medical system and the state of the States in general. It doesn’t get too heavy – just heavy enough – and the characters are rounded and flawed and likeable and hateable, sometimes all wrapped up in the same person. But with all that it is still very funny, and hits the “dark comedy” label right in the middle. It reminds me of no other show more than Dexter – perhaps fittingly since they originate from the same US network, Showtime.

So, half way through the series and enjoying it very much – series 2 is about to air in the US and a third has been comissioned, so will be in treatment with Edie Falco for some time to come…


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