Showtime did a really smart thing with Edie Falco’s ‘Nurse Jackie‘ who about the pillpopping nurse and shook the heck out it, and Season 4 is looking like a rebirth for a show that was getting stale faster than Sheree Whitfield’s career path on ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta‘.
Last season I was more disappointed when ‘The United States Of Tara‘ was cancelled over ‘Nurse Jackie‘. Both were fine shows, but while Diablo Cody’s show was branching out into some dark territory, Edie Falco’s drug addled nurse was becoming one note. Falco has been amazing since day one on the show, but she was starting to become like Mary Louise Parker in ‘Weeds‘ where she just kept doing the wrong thing, screwing people over without any repercussions. After awhile, it starts to remind you of certain family members in our own lives and you start to feel resentful to the characters. So the writers, plus David Nevins’ new approach on shows at Showtime have shaken this show up really hard, and I’m so glad to see it. Most shows at this point feel they’ve hit their winning formula and continue pounding it out whether or not the viewers really like it, and I think I can use ‘Weeds’ as a prime example of that.
Season 4 is all about consequences, and while changing things up so drastically can be the demise of many shows, it only gives ‘Nurse Jackie’ new wings and some great character arcs to develop further. When the first episode opens, Jackie and husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) are split up, and she’s still spiraling out of control, and in a great cameo by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Jackie picks up a fellow traveler in a church, takes him home, freebases and before sex can even happens, he drops dead on her. If you don’t know you’ve hit rock bottom by then, you never will and Jackie realizes it’s time for rehab.
Rather than rolling our eyes at her, we’re back to rooting for Jackie to succeed, and thankfully the writers aren’t going to make the road easy. Things have changed at All Saints Hospital too with the arrival of Dr. Mike Cruz, a new boss who is seemingly straightforward and all-business and played perfectly by Bobby Cannavale (this guy has made some pact with the devil as he keeps landing on some really great shows!). He’s someone who has no history with Jackie so this only amps up the tension when she leaves a New York City addiction treatment center early and realizes what the real world is like without painkillers to help make it more bearable.
Friend O’Hara is pregnant, and even after three episodes we still don’t know who the father is, but you can count on another celebrity coming on to assume that role. Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) has been demoted to being a floor nurse again, and fans will be thankful to see her face more. Jackie won’t be making a quick 180 recovery anytime soon, but the road to it will be much more exciting, funny and fun now that the show has breathed some new life into it. I’m making a prediction that green haired rehab kid Charlie will be Dr. Cruz’s son.
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After growing rather stale last season, Nurse Jackie is back with everything being shaken up including Edie Falco’s pill popping nurse. Falco is brilliant as usual, but the new changes on the show will make audiences root for this very flawed character to make it another season. For viewers who’ve abandoned the show, it’s time to come back home.