Eve Best





Jackie Peyton can fool an administrator (Ann Deveare Smith, above).  She can fool a weird, clingy boyfriend.  And a husband.  She can even keep the secret of her affair with that weird, clingy boyfriend (Eddie, played by Paul Schulze) from her husband, even after Eddie starts hanging out in her husband’s bar and they become fast friends who go to Mets games together.  She can even fool almost an entire nurse staff who work in close proximity, all day, every day–except for one holdout–Sam (Arjun Gupta), the addict who told her way back last season, that “it takes one to know one.”

Jackie is keeping it together, despite her daughter Grace’s (Ruby Jerins) proclivity to yank out clumps of hair–the latest doomsday sign for the child, who now sees a psychiatrist, and who likes to watch shows about nuclear holocausts and wash her hands incessantly for fun.  Nurse Peyton even seemed to know her way around that evil Pill-O-Matix machine, the mechanical replacement to her Dr. Feelgood boyfriend Eddie, what we thought was surely set up to be an achiles heel for Jackie this season.  Then we see Jackie pull out a list of employee D.O.B.s, and bang–she’s got the right codes to make the machine pop open at will so she can get the goodies she needs.

As it would turn out though, only some of them.  Jackie has a P.O. Box, we have learned, where she has her secret credit card bill sent, and when we got a chance to give a glance at the itemized bill, we saw lots of charges she was going to have trouble meeting financially, and they were all from shady online drug stores.  Jackie is obviously not getting all the opiates she needs, but she is getting a lot of opiates, which has to make one wonder if she’s popping/snorting 30-50 pills a day, the way a heroin addict would who could only get his hands on Vicodin. 

Still, Jackie worked some of her hall of fame deception skills in getting Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) to write her checks directly for her kid’s schooling, something that O’Hara has pressured Jackie for, for some time.  Well, actually the doc wanted to set up an education trust for the girls, but Jackie smoothly guided Dr. O’Hara’s hand to endorse the check to her–despite her husband Kevin’s (Dominic Fumusa) absolute refusal to take the doctor’s money, even if it was for the girl’s education.  So Jackie was able to pay the piper, for the time being.  but she is addicted to Oxycontin, and prefers the route of nasal ingestion, the true crackhead’s preference, because as she mentioned off hand, like a good little nurse, that it isn’t good to let too many of those OC’s pass through the digestive tract.

Dr. O’Hara with best bud Jacks (above).

Tthough Eddie is back in the saddle as the ward’s pharmacist, Jackie, reluctant to fall back into old habits with Eddie, re-instated as keeper of the Oxy.  But it seems that Jackie might have gone to the well too many times with Dr. O’Hara, who she convinced to write her an OC script based on a really fucked up spinal MRI–of someone else’s.  Dr. O’Hara, distraught over Jackie’s condition, burst into the radiology department, practically in tears, demanding to know why no one is “helping her friend.”  But there is no MRI on file or in the computer for any Jackie Peyton, and Dr. O’Hara wasn’t born yesterday.  She’s a little too smart for Jackie’s game, and we’re going to predict, a bit too caring as a friend, and dead serious when it comes to her medical license, to be scripting up a crackhead.

Jacks, as O’Hara calls her, looks as though she might be getting called on the carpet this week, with no excuses befitting the grandeur of this grave situation.  Jackie, who never seems out of options, may have played her last drug card, and as we see in the coming attractions, she is making a crying confession to a disappointed Kevin.  Is her drug problem the thing she comes clean about, we are left to wonder, is it something innocuous and misleading, or is she finally going to get pegged for whoring herself for pills to Kevin’s new found, and only friend, Eddie?

While Zoe (Merrit Wever) and Lenny (Lenny Jacobsen) continue their flirtation, and while Coop (Peter Facinelli) seems to be flirting a bit with Sam’s girlfriend, Jackie has the really real problems who we doubt Dr. O’Hara will allow her to get away without addressing.  And while we are looking into our crystal ball, what might we say about the fate of Grace, who, in a show defined by its main characters misery or not, is headed down a dangerous path?

I could see rehab in Jackie’s future, and relapse, much worse than anything we’ve seen yet, when what looks like the inevitable happens to that sweet but disturbed little girl.

We’d happily be wrong on this one.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

So I’ve been going to town on television lately, and with good reason, for much good TV is either set to premiere or rerun.  Two Showtime favorites, if imperfect, that return tomorrow (3/22/10) are The  United  States of Tara and Nurse Jackie, a Lionsgate TV production.  Lionsgate’s masterpiece, Mad Men, also returns tomorrow/tonight in reruns (12 AM), as AMC looks to capitalize and piggyback on the success of Breaking Bad, in its season 3 premiere, which will be aired at 10 PM and repeated at 11 PM, leading into Mad Men at 12:03.

We have learned that tonight’s Breaking Bad deals with the aftermath of the plane crash, which is an indicator that there will not be any real time lag between the season 2 finale and the season 3 premiere.  We have no idea where Nurse Jackie will pick up, but it was certainly unsettling where she left off–locked inside a hospital room, about to pass out on the floor after drinking 3 bottles of morphine–and with good reason.  Her boyfriend, Eddie (Paul Schulze, who you might remember best as Father Intintola from The Sopranos), lets Jackie (Edie Falco) know that he has just met her husband, who she had concealed from everyone except Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best).

 Jackie is a very different role for Falco than Carmella Soprano, and I find her good in both, though Carmella Soprano was more of a scrutable character.  It is very hard to understand Jackie’s deviousness, and how she betrays her husband so easily (Dominic Fumusa).  Though she is a drug addict, and Eddie who was until recently the hospital’s pharmacist and her supplier, as well as her noon time  lover, which makes total sense from the outside, but not from within. Inside the text, Jackie is a lot more complex than that.  To crack her behavior up to the pressure’s of running a nursing unit in an ER in a busy Manhattan hospital is overly simplistic as well.

I find myself comparing Falco in this role more and more to her former fictional husband, Tony Soprano.  She gets off on being able to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and now we finally get to see her deal with some consequences.  While the audience, I assume, hopes she gets off easy, as we always hoped for Tony, I’m not sure we quite find ourselves rooting for her in the same way as we rooted for Tony, a veritable super hero of television–even though she has gone to great lengths to help children, steal from the rich and give to the poor.  Perhaps that’s a societal double standard at play.  At any rate, Jackie, like Tony Soprano, is a premeditated murder (she euthanized a friend and former colleague who was dying a slow and painful death), and that is a little different than killing one’s own nephew, the way Tony killed Christopher by pinching his nostrils while he choked on his own blood.  Jackie may have even more of a God complex than Tony S., and that means the show can literally take us anywhere, and I must say I am apprehensive about this powder keg.

I just saw spots for Tara and Jackie on Showtime, and Anne Deavere Smith, who plays Nurse Akolitas, talked on the ad about how at the end of the day, Jackie will do anything to help those in need.  Like snorting the little round contents of these unnamed capsules?  By the way, how do those little round balls stay up her nose?  She doesn’t even crush them up or anything!  I guess Jackie is a bit of a superhero too.

At the end of the day, I am left to wonder if she will do anything to help people because of the bad stuff she is atoning for, and not out of her “humanitarian” disposition.  Either way, season 2 should be the tits.  We’ve seen what she’s done, and now we have to see the repurcussions, and though Jackie isn’t all good, I, for one, am very scared for her.  But I have this feeling it aint gonna be no thing for this dope fiend.  And we would be remiss if we did not also mention the outstanding performances turned in by nurse in training, Zoe (Merrit Weaver), and by Haaz Sleiman, playing Mohammed, Jackie’s closest nurse friend.

As for Tara, her and I got off on the wrong foot.  When a scientific premise is not accurate, I have trouble falling into that sort of plot.  I’m not gonna go crazy about it, but I had a problem with the medication that Tara was prescribed for her M.P.D.  Not to be too specific, but they were talking about anti anxiety meds and she was in need of some serious anti psychotics.  If the much ballyhooed creator and lead writer, Diablo Cody, is too lazy to get that right, then the show stands on shaky footing.

But then you see the cast–truly stellar–led by Toni Collette, who burst on to the scene almost 20 years ago in the Indie classic Muriel’s Wedding, her husband, played by the affable John Corbett, who played Carrrie’s love Aiden on Sex and the City, and who I always preferred for her to Big.  By the way, how bad are they dragging Sex and the City out?  I mean, I thought the movie was over 2 separate times when there was still one and a half hours, and 45 minutes left, respectively.  Kill me already.  And that my wife will force me to watch the sequel, about 4 women who were never hot in the first place and are now 10-15 years removed from their glory days, is already making my stomach turn.

Tara’s children probably make the show.  Her daughter, played by Brie Larson (not Bree Olsen!), totally nails the free spirited hot teenage daughter of a seriously mentally ill mother.  Tara’s son, Marshall, played by Keir Gilchest, is considered by some to be the show, a young adolescent, openly homosexual, living in Kansas, who has enough to deal with, as you can imagine, without one of Tara’s alters hooking up with his first boyfriend.  But Marshall dealt with that rather decisively, by setting a large fire in the family’s backyard, now didn’t he?

And we must also mention Tara’s sister, Charmaine (Rosemarie Dewitt, also known for her role on Mad Men as the hippy chick that Don was fucking in season 1).

Speaking of Mad Men, as we have mentioned, reruns begin at 12:03, with season 3, episode 1, “Out of Town”, in which Don (Jon Hamm)and the aforementioned in these pages, Sal Romano (Bryan Batt) must take a business trip on which Don discovers that Sal is gay.  To his credit, Don is cool with it, perhaps identifying with Sal on account of his own secrets.  This pivotal episode involving Sal makes us all the more sad that he will not be returning to the cast to reprise his role.

But we are stoked that Christina Hendricks will be featured on the little screen for the next thirteen Monday mornings, in her role as office manager Joannie Holloway.  While January Jones and Elisabeth Moss come bearing bigger names, Joannie does more than hold her own, which isn’t easy, considering the size of her breasts and her alien like measurements.  Hendricks was recently featured in New York Magazine, and you should all check it out.  The 34 year old is about to become a breakout star.  And because I like you guys so much, I will leave you with a few photos of her to contemplate.

Obviously, Esquire was hot for her too…

Here’s a shot of Joan looking all hot over at Sterling Cooper.

Ahh, the women of Showtime and Lionsgate, their secret lives, multiple identities, and of Joannie–I don’t know what to say, other than I’m so glad she’s back, if only in reruns.  Enjoy.