Thursday, March 17, 2011

Film Yap: Nurse Jackie Season Two

The first season of Nurse Jackie wasn’t bad, but it was never great. It was stuck being part of the Showtime label of DARK QUIRKINESS. Dr. Cooper couldn’t just be an annoying young doctor; he also had to have physical turrets where he grabbed breasts. Despite all that, there was still potential tapped in its core about a grumpy nurse who breaks the rules, is addicted to pills, and is leading a double life.

Edie Falco is the titular nurse and at the beginning of Season Two, she’s stuck with the conflict that has been building up. The pharmacist she’s having an affair with, Eddie (Paul Schulze), has been fired so she can’t get her pills easily. Eddie is now starting to learn more about Jackie’s secret family, which includes a bartender husband and two young daughters.

In this season Eddie is becoming unstable and he befriends Jackie’s husband in a threat to expose her affair. Also Jackie’s best friend Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) has her own romantic troubles with a recovering sex addicted nurse and a world-traveled woman. The episodes move forward with a delicate pace where it doesn’t feel like there are any filler episodes. The world is more grounded and the characters are more relatable.

The season is stronger, but there is still a lack of urgency. It’s never a show I watched weekly, but caught up when the DVDs came out. The show isn’t witty enough and the characters aren’t strong enough to really recommend this show. It’s getting better, but it’s still not challenging enough. Whenever a new conflict appears at the hospital or in the personal lives, Jackie responds just as she always does. It’s entertaining, but never anything new.

Even when things are going wrong, it still seems Jackie knows what to do especially when she says she doesn’t. Due to this familiarity, performances seem stuck. There are a lot of strong people on the cast, especially Falco and Best, but this isn’t a showcase for them…yet.

The show is growing to have a better understanding of its world. What it really needs to do is realize that it isn’t a comedy. Falco was a bit flabbergasted when she was the Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Emmy because she admits she’s not that funny. The show is a drama that does have sprinkles of humor, but it’s not a show where there is consistent laughter. Dramas are not typically 30 minutes long, but just because it is that length doesn’t make it a comedy. The show is learning how to use this format to its advantage and so there is hope for more improvement.

The DVD has a handful of really good features. I was worried that 10 minute featurettes highlighting Best and Peter Facinelli would be tedious, but it really does a good job of shining a light on these two skilled actors and their past roles. They aren’t the best edited, but the content is good. There is also a gag reel and a bunch of lackluster commentaries.

Season: 3.5 Yaps

Extras: 3 Yaps

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