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"Nurse Jackie" Years of Service (2010)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Season 2: Another very enjoyable season that mixes hospital drama and dark comedy with great characters

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
3 December 2010

The first season of Nurse Jackie ended with her romantic lives starting to clash and threaten one another and so season 2 picks up. The loss of Eddie from the hospital means that Jackie's affair is, if not over, then at least very complicated thanks to Eddie's behaviour, but more urgently it means her easy supply of drugs is also gone as he has been replaced by a machine that counts as it dispenses – so any missing drugs will be noticed. Wisely season 2 does not rush to get everything to a head in the way that the conclusion of season 1 suggested everything was going, but instead it continues a slow build, adding more to the crumbling life of Jackie, with more lies, more desperate behaviour and so on.

It does this with Jackie while also delivering a roundly engaging and entertaining comedy-drama set in a hospital. Patients come and go, the staff interact all dovetailed into the central narrative featuring Jackie. It is hard for me to describe how it works but it just does. The tone is bang on yet again even though you have the gripping drama of the lies crumbling set alongside more comedic scenes and threads. In this season I did find the drama part to be stronger and more effective – particularly in the final few episodes where everything comes to a head. Jackie is played harsher and allowed to be unpleasant – a brave move for the show but one that they pull off without losing the audience, which is impressive for this character. There are some "unlikely" events within the narrative which are used to move things along (as in season 1) but they are few and far between and accepted as part of the rather off-beat, darkly comic tone that the show has.

In terms of the comedy the show does produced lots of funny moments from events, dialogue and performance and it does do it by weaving this through rather than having a clear "drama" scene followed by "funny" scene. The expansion of the supporting characters also really helps this. Coop, Zoey and Thor in particular are very well used in both aspects as supporting characters. With the strong and well-directed material the cast do well, with everyone stronger than they were in the previous season. Falco in particular benefits from the improved drama side and she plays her character really well. She is both sympathetic and desperate but yet the viewer stays with her. Wever is equally great although it is more her comic timing that does it for her – getting a laugh by simply entering and exiting a room is not easy but yet she nails it every time. The supporting cast are also well used and everyone played their parts very well so that, although there is a title character, it did have a real ensemble feel to it.

Overall season 2 of Nurse Jackie is another very strong and enjoyable season. It is consistently engaging, dramatic, funny and quirky but it does it all in a way that feels grown-up and rewarding. I'm not a big one for medical dramas but Nurse Jackie is so much more than its setting. Well written, well directed and well acted – a third season is coming and if all it can do is maintain the standard set here it will be well worth watching.

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