I wasn’t sure what to expect with the second season of Nurse Jackie as I’d never seen the first season, but I was pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of medical dramas out there, and is even already one about a drug addicted healthcare provider. (House, in case you were wondering.) So, I thought, do we really need another?
When it’s starring Edie Falco, though, the answer is yes. Yes we do.
Falco is great in the lead role on Nurse Jackie, but she’s not the only reason to watch the show. As a half hour dark comedy, the series brings something new to the table that other medical series haven’t. It’s twisted and quirky and morally ambiguous. On the surface, Falco’s Jackie Peyton is a lot like Dr. Gregory House. She’s no-nonsense, tough as nails, lives and works by her own set of rules and is almost always right. And then there’s that little pill popping (and in this case, snorting – ick) habit. And yes, you root for her.
When I began the first episode of season two, I found myself wondering if I’d be able to care about or like Jackie at all. She does drugs. She cheats on her gorgeous, and seemingly wonderful and adoring husband. She’s a total hypocrite in the workplace, admonishing others for their errors while simultaneously swiping a little Vicodin for herself. But by the end of the season, I was actively wishing that her habit would not get outed. The difference between Jackie and House is that Jackie cares. She cares about her marriage, even though she treats it with disrespect. She cares about her children. She deeply cares about her patients. So you overlook the rest. Without giving too much away, Jackie’s world starts to come crashing down around her as season two comes to a close. It should make for a very interesting third season.
The supporting case on the series is fantastic. Eve Best is delightfully complicated as Jackie’s suave best friend, Dr. O’Hara. Merrit Weaver is lovably kooky as Zoey Barkow, a strange but very competent student nurse. Peter Facinelli plays Dr. Fitch “Coop” Cooper, who is egotistical, arrogant and so easy to hate, but also very layered. Yeah, he’s unlikable. But mostly you feel bad for him.
I’m a little OCD when it comes to watching television, and the idea of starting a series midway through usually gives me a pop culture panic attack. But I have to say, I got into Nurse Jackie right away. That’s not to say the characters, their relationships, or the storylines aren’t complex – they are. But a few “Previously on Nurse Jackie” clips caught me up on the gist of it, and I filled in the rest as I went along. And I’m glad I did. Otherwise, I may never have gotten around to watching this series, and that would have been a shame. Now I’ll go back and watch the first season, and I can’t wait for season three to begin on March 28.
The box says “Widescreen Presentation” and “English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX Audio”, and I took their word for it. You know, it looked and sounded good.
I really enjoyed the DVD’s extras, although I wish the Featurettes had all been on the final disc rather than distributed amongst them. I hate interrupting the flow of a series to watch special features, which meant I had to put discs one and two back in afterward just to watch a few little clips.
The “All About Eve” Featurette was a great addition, as it detailed the career of Eve Best before she came to do Nurse Jackie (she was a well known British stage actress) and provided a lot of interesting insights on the character from the actress herself. Likewise for the Featurette “Perfecting an Inappropriate Touch”, which shed light on Peter Facinelli’s thoughts on his character, and how he prepared for Coop’s struggle with Tourette Syndrome.
There’s also a gag reel, a main title music montage and several cast and crew commentaries.
If you’re a casual TV viewer, I can’t say I’d put Nurse Jackie at the top of your TV to do list. It’s one of many fantastic TV shows out there right now, and I’d still recommend something like Mad Men first. But if you’re like me and consume quality television like oxygen, then it’s a must. I don’t know about you, but there is definitely room for a wickedly twisted half hour comedy in my TV viewing schedule.
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