Nothing ever really happens on Nurse Jackie. The show’s second season ended with drug-addicted Jackie’s husband and best friend staging an intervention, offering hope that the show might actually move the story forward. Season 3 (premiering Monday, March 28 at 10pm on Showtime) destroys that hope and puts everything back to where it was before.
Jackie’s entire life is built on lies, whether it’s about her drug use, her affair with Eddie or the fact that her co-workers don’t even know she’s married. When the show dares to try and expose one of these lies, another one just pops up in its place.
Don’t have Showtime? You can watch the full Nurse Jackie season 3 premiere here, starting Monday, March 28 at 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT:
The writing has always been my problem with Nurse Jackie, and one that worsens in season 3: Nothing happens. Every season is virtually indistinguishable from the others and the order of the episodes could easily be shuffled and changed with no impact. The acting is uniformly excellent, but they’re given nothing to do.
This may be true of most comedies, but not the ones on Showtime. United States of Tara, The Big C and especially Weeds have a way of constantly moving the plot forward. Nurse Jackie, however, is happy to keep repeating the same story over and over again.
While Edie Falco is great in the lead role, the real stars are the actual comedic relief. The show is billed as a comedy, but Jackie and her storylines are as dramatic as The Sopranos. Instead, I find myself waiting for the little crumbs the show gives to its hilarious supporting cast.
Merritt Wever is an endless supply of bubbly energy as over-eager nurse Zoey, who is becoming more confident in her desire to become best friends with Jackie. Peter Facinelli is ridiculously over the top as Dr. Fitch Cooper, a man so desperate to be liked yet so clueless as to how everyone really perceives him.
However, the real breakout star of season 3 is Anna Deavere Smith as hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus. For some reason she develops an intense obsession with First Lady Michelle Obama and her desire to be just like Lady O. becomes a running joke for the entire season. Smith is one of those actresses who can make even the smallest role shine, and here she does just that, stealing the show every moment she’s on screen, no matter how insignificant.
Unfortunately, this cavalcade of supporting characters gets short-shrift and their storylines, if you can call them that, seem to go nowhere. They show up for a little bit, get a few lines, then leave while the show spends far too much time with Jackie’s personal drama. The most egregious example is Thor, the male nurse who is so underused that it’s easy to forget he’s even there.
Nurse Jackie is certainly a well-acted and well-produced show, but the writing is its downfall. There is no character or story development, which I let slide for the first two seasons because I assumed the writers were still figuring it out. But by season 3, if the writing and stories are still painfully underdeveloped, it’s obvious that a pattern is forming. It’s become clear that Jackie isn’t the only one in need of an intervention.
(Image courtesy of Showtime)