Nurse Jackie began its second season last night with a swift half-hour that reestablishes one of the most original, funny, and unpredictable shows on TV.
Don’t take my word for it? Don’t subscribe to Showtime? Watch the entire episode right here:
It’s great to see how much the entire ensemble, not just superb star Edie Falco, moves this episode along.
I like the way Nurse Jackie takes a realistic, no-nonsense character as its central figure — few actors exude quiet, unadorned authority as well as Falco — who then frees the producers to surround her with people who are, variously, goofy (the marvelous Merritt Weaver as rookie nurse Zoey), romantic (Dominic Fumusa as Jackie’s doting husband), and drama-queeny (Paul Schulze’s Eddie, Jackie’s piece-on-the-side and who’s upset he’s not her only man).
The show also wrings fresh changes on the Handsome Young Doctor cliche by making the handsome Dr. Cooper (clever Peter Facinelli) a good doctor but a vain dumb cluck in his personal life… and now addicted to Twittering as well.
As the season goes on, you’ll see that Nurse Jackie has toned down the slapsticky hospital administrator played by Anna Deavere Smith — this first-rate performer has now been given a more sensible range of emotions.
And unlike a lot of current medical shows I could name (Hou — cough! — se), the cases are also compelling. As you’ll see next week when Zoey and Jackie treat that guy you might recall from last season, who thinks he’s God.
Jackie never thinks she’s God. As good as she is, she’s also, it always bears remembering, an addict (those pills), and the mother of a daughter with serious emotional problems. It’s the way all these elements mesh and clash that gives Nurse Jackie its drama. And its comedy.
So, what do you think of Nurse Jackie?