by pat howard

NURSE JACKIE | 1×06: “Tiny Bubbles”

In Nurse Jackie on July 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

Having recently watched a euthanasia-themed episode of The Golden Girls, it’s interesting to consider how far the envelope-pushers have come in a couple decades.
The family is still plotting Grace’s escape to private school. Bratty Sister of course wants to tag along. And that’s the extent of our family time for the week.

Judith Ivey plays Paula, a veteran nurse dying of cancer who has returned to the hospital in hopes of going out sooner rather than later…and she’s not interested in hospice care. The staff, including Eddie, O’Hara, Mo-Mo and Thor, come together in solidarity to help facilitate their bitter patient friend’s wishes. In the interim, Paula dismisses Zoey’s innocent caretaking noises and attempts to bond with Cat Ball Guy, who’s back after an incident with the garbage disposal. Also, she totally harasses Akalitis every time she wanders through a scene.

Fitch’s two mommies hit the ER for a gall bladder operation. Blythe Danner (or, as O’Hara puts it, “Vagina Mom”) is in need of surgery, and Swoozie Kurtz (“the other one”) is there to keep her partner sane. We get some fun insight into Coop’s childhood, but no real explanation for his behavior that we hadn’t already sussed out. He does grab O’Hara’s breast while assisting on Vagina Mom’s operation, though.

Zoey decides to make Paula’s impending death about her, first hilariously seeking advice on bonding with Jackie from O’Hara, and later bugging Eddie about what everyone else will think of her if she is or isn’t a party to Paula’s final moments. Eddie tells her to get a grip, which she does in time for Paula’s sham-pagne toast: “Here’s to you, and here’s to me. And if we ever disagree, fuck you. Here’s to me.” Jackie’s madcap haul to steal a priest from another patient felt a bit silly to me, one of those notes the show occasionally misses. The hospital portion of our program ends with Akalitis making another empty threat. And then we follow Jackie to Paula’s apartment, which her late no-nonsense colleague has already packed up, ready to go.

Next week: Eddie and Jackie are on the outs when she isn’t appropriately jazzed about their anniversary.

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