by pat howard

Making the rounds with ‘Jackie’ before therapy with ‘Tara’

In Nurse Jackie on April 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

I feel like Showtime’s “strong, flawed women” trope is what ten-years-ago Lifetime could never articulate that it wished it could be.

It has taken me a few weeks to get caught up on season two of Nurse Jackie, and despite missing Mo-Mo for a minute at the beginning, I am liking it. Thankfully, hospital administrator Gloria Akalitis has a purpose this season, or is at least directly involved in the goings on. Protege Zoey, on the other hand, is less kookily endearing and more often simply odd. The recovering addict in the ER is blending nicely into the mix, cementing a place in this dysfunctional work family by cheating with Dr. O’Hara on both their girlfriends. I’d say “who knew” but this show seems too eager to play the Lesbian Surprise card (see: Coop’s moms), and at this point I’d almost assume every woman whose sexuality isn’t mentioned will likely turn out to be a lesbian.

The family side of things has been remixed interestingly, and now includes Eddie since he can’t be in the hospital scenes anymore. His friendship with Kevin is a delicious level of duplicity, though ultimately I suspect he has to be the loser if everything eventually combusts. As for Jackie’s world crashing down around her, it feels increasingly less likely to happen. Her more immediate threat is Dr. Cooper’s asshattery, and that is looking as menacing as a cardboard cutout by now. On the plus side: next week, Barbara Barrie guest stars!

Meanwhile, there is that multifaceted Tara Gregson. My slow roll of the first season of United States of Tara gave me an appreciation for the alters and the otherwise authentically mundane family matters in the Gregson home. I do wonder about Tara’s parents, who seem bound for an inevitable return. Kate’s liaisons with her seafood restaurant supervisor were spectacular, as was her evolution from bratty teen to supportive sibling. Marshall is representing for the regular gay high school kids, and his story in season two seems like it has potential to quietly break further ground.

Max should win a TV Dad of the Decade Award, even if his marital relationship is in peril. Charmaine reminds me of someone I once knew, and beyond that her whiny tendencies are tempered by those around her. As for Toni Collette, she completely deserved that Emmy, and it is fascinating to watch her performances. As my roommate pointed out when we first met Shoshanna, it’s not expensive to add new characters to a show where they’re played by the same person. Last night’s tornado episode felt like a short play, and the icing on the cake was Kate in the Princess Valhalla costume. The therapy angle Shoshanna has been working feels like a breakthrough is on the horizon, and either way I am hooked on this functional, fictional family of weirdos.

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