Nurse Jackie: Season 1, Episode 12

Health Care and Cinema (24 Aug. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
8.0
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Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

The film critic remains in a coma, and Zoey is in a somber mood. Mrs. Akalitus launches an investigation, but only after she gets stuck in an elevator. Dr. O'Hara flies her sick mother in ... See full summary »

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Title: Health Care and Cinema (24 Aug 2009)

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Storyline

The film critic remains in a coma, and Zoey is in a somber mood. Mrs. Akalitus launches an investigation, but only after she gets stuck in an elevator. Dr. O'Hara flies her sick mother in from London. After following Jackie after work, Eddie goes to her husbands bar to get a drink. Written by Peter Brandt Nielsen

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

24 August 2009 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Gloria Akalitus: [to a coma patient] I've never been a fan of movies where idiots talk to people in comas. Would you consider signing something clearing All Saints of any neglective malfeasance? Just a thought.
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References Showgirls (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Season 1: Not hilarious or dramatic but still funny and engaging with a tone and performances that make it work
14 February 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I have been watching a lot of shows recently where each episode is driven along as part of a season long narrative and, while the characters and their development are a part of this, mostly things are event driven (24, Dexter, things like that). So it took me a minute to figure out Nurse Jackie because it is operating on ground that I wasn't immediately sure of and so I struggled to come to meet it on its own terms. The basic plot is that the Jackie of the title is a woman of secrets – a prescription drug addict, a family at home that nobody at work knows about and a boyfriend (helpfully in the dispensary) that doesn't know about the family. The dynamics of this life plays out against a busy hospital containing many other characters.

It is hard to describe what makes it work but, while I can understand why some will not like this show, I found it to be pitched just right to cover the weaknesses and make each episode good. As others have rightly said, it is nowhere near funny enough to be considered a comedy in the way Scrubs would be; nor is it serious or dramatic enough to be considered a drama in the way that ER would be. The spot it tries to occupy is weirdly in the middle and it is the successful hitting of this odd target that makes it work. Coincidentally also from Showtime, Dexter's first season managed to engage me with this weirdly off-kilter tone and Nurse Jackie (although very different as a show) also manages to pull this off. While none of the characters or scenarios are particularly likable, I was still engaged by them.

Nurse Jackie's season and episode lengths have the same factor in common – they are both short and punchy to sustain the show. Had the season been longer or, more specifically, the episodes been expected to last 45-60 minutes, then a lot more of the problems would have been exposed. These problems would have included the unlikely scenarios that the show is built on, whether it is the central deceit or the specifics of any of the scenarios that make up each episode. Often the narrative is a bit strained or relies on devices that are strained to make things happen (Coop's fictional disorder, his affection for Jackie being a few examples). The length and the tone both help cover these – the tone specifically being the thing that allows the viewer to go along with it, and the performances are a big part of this tone.

Falco may not be as complex here as her Sopranos character but there is still meat for her to work with. Her Jackie may not be the most likable character but she is not unlikeable – rather she is convincing as someone who keeps going thanks to artificial stimuli while also treating so much in life as another task – which one can imagine is the reality for a mother of two working in that job, love is demonstrated in "things done" rather than big gestures. She wears her tiredness well too, making a character that we are engaged by rather than in love with – some of the comments about this show suggest that viewers require the latter, I do not agree. Eve Best provides a sort of comic relief but she is hampered by the feeling that her character is unnecessary in this mould. OK so the narrative needs someone for Jackie to (mostly) confide in, but not this type of character and, while Best does a solid job of it, I never really felt her as part of the show. Wever's Zoey, on the other hand, is perfect – although not used as the viewers' "eyes" very often, she is fresh to the situation (as the viewers are) and is good for the others to play off as a character. As a performance she is brilliant, with perfect comic timing and acting – she can literally steal a scene by walking into the room and walking straight back out of it. Schulze works well with Falco and the two of them "almost" manage to convince in this odd relationship. Sopranos viewers will have to work a little to make them forget the last time they were together (where he was her priest) but otherwise he is good. Support from Sleiman, Fumusa, Facinelli and a few others is good but I felt Smith's Gloria was a bit too obvious and poorly used as a character – she played it how it was written though.

Nurse Jackie is an odd show but one that I quite enjoyed thus far. The blend of comedy and drama means neither is brilliant but both are solidly good and are both helped by the show getting the overall tone of "darkly comic" just right. Falco leads the cast well and is helped by a good supporting cast (Wever in particular) to make a show that, while not hilarious or gripping, is still funny and engaging.


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