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.