Twisted Hollywood and its twisted parade of tastemakers known as television critics are forever in search of another "black comedy," and if audiences don't embrace one, then they can always make another one. Showtime didn't succeed with "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," so now they're trying a different brand of prostitute. "Nurse Jackie" is an addict who has daily sex at noon with her hospital pharmacist in exchange for Oxycontin and other drugs. She's married and a mother of two little girls. She is a filthy degenerate.
And the critics love it. Matt Roush of TV Guide calls it "a perfect companion piece to the increasingly twisted ‘Weeds,'" as it "straddles the worlds of drama and comedy with confidence and gutsy gusto." For those who don't waste their money on Showtime, "Weeds" is a "comedy" where a suburban housewife is a drug dealer pushing marijuana instead of Avon.
There is no doubt these two shows are a match in blackness.
Nancy Franklin of the New Yorker claimed the new show "feels truer to life than the zillions of one-dimensional (or no-dimensional) nurses on television. It's not just corrective medicine, though -- it actually tastes good."
Let me tell you what The New Yorker thinks "tastes good." In the first episode, Jackie and her gay Muslim male nurse friend are laying in the pews of the chapel of All Saints Hospital where they work, looking at a painting of a beheaded John the Baptist. The male nurse says, "What does one offer as a side dish when serving John the Baptist's head on a platter?" Jackie plays along: "Coleslaw. No -- mac and cheese. No -- potato salad."
If that "actually tastes good" to you, then you should be a TV critic.
Religious themes -- actually anti-religious themes -- surface routinely. In the show's debut, Nurse Jackie lays on the floor, recalling that her schoolteacher Sister Jane du Chantal taught her that those with the greatest capacity for good also have the greatest capacity for evil. "Smart f--ing nun," Jackie says. Viewers will be treated to both sides of Jackie, but the good stuff that emerges only salves the conscience so the viewer can enjoy the evil parts.
Later, a nursing student following Jackie wonders if God is some kind of sadist who wants a certain finite amount of suffering to be spread around the world, that in every place where pain has been alleviated, God imposes it somewhere else. Then she tells drug-addicted, adulterous Jackie, "I think you're a saint."