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Nurse Jackie Season 1 Episode 8: Pupil

Zoey from Nurse Jackie

I don’t have a lot to say about Nurse Jackie at this point. I really like some of the characters, especially MoMo and Zoey. This week, Zoey had her best episode so far with her little Nancy Drew routine. My real problem is that I don’t like Jackie. The key to any great show is that viewers can get behind the lead character, and I just can’t feel compassion for a woman who seems to think she deserves to lead dual lives while maintaining a serious drug habit and acting like she runs the whole hospital.

When Nurse Jackie premiered I had high hopes that Edie Falco would be a fresh female Greg House. Instead, she’s more like a bitchy Tommy Gavin.

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July 30, 2009 Posted by | Drama, New Series, Television | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

House M.D. the Video Game?

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I was catching up on E3 news today and I came across this story at Kotaku. Seriously? A House video game? This sounds like a terrible idea, although based on how fun the Trauma Center series has proved to be on the Nintendo DS, there’s actually a chance (albeit a slim one) this could be awesome. However, I don’t think Legacy Interactive’s upcoming Murder, She Wrote title stands a chance in hell. At least not until my grandmother buys a computer.

Full press release from Legacy Interactive

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June 9, 2009 Posted by | Drama, News, Technology, Television, Video Games | , , , , , | Comments Off on House M.D. the Video Game?

Nurse Jackie Episode 1: Pilot

Thanks to an early preview on DirecTV’s 101 Network, I was able to watch the series premiere of Showtime’s latest half hour dramedy this weekend. Nurse Jackie stars Edie Falco as the title character, an emergency room nurse in a Catholic hospital in New York City.

 

If you don’t want the spoilers, but would like to know what I think of the show, skip to the last paragraph and you’ll be okay.

 

The episode opens with a bright white light and the sounds of a crazy ER, then fades into mellow elevator music as Falco begins a voiceover. The brightness fades as we see Jackie laying flat on the floor, just as the disembodied voice explains our heroine has a bad back. This leads us straight into the first reveal of her painkiller addiction, as she counts out 16 (always 16 she says) grains of Vicodin and snorts them cocaine-style through a straw. Why not pop pills like Dr. House? My younger brother tells me snorting the drug gets it into the bloodstream faster, thus a more immediate benefit.

 

Freshly medicated, Jackie heads to work to find a bruised and broken bike messenger waiting for attention. She examines him along with Dr. Cooper (Peter Facinelli) who ignores her advice to get a CT to rule out a brain bleed. Despite his recent fame as a Twilight cast member, Facinelli excels at playing cocky douchebags, and Cooper seems to be right up his alley. I won’t spoil the great exchange between the doctor and Jackie when she confronts him in the locker room, but the scene definitely shows us what the interaction between these two will be like.

 

Continuing with our introduction to the cast, Jackie’s peer Mo Mo (Haaz Sleiman), a gay male nurse, enters a scene just long enough to show us that Jackie isn’t the only sassy nurse on staff. He also takes the opportunity to dump Zoey (Merritt Wever), a student nurse, in Jackie’s lap, saying he got stuck with the previous three students. Zoey is an obvious contrast to Jackie, both in experience and attitude. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Jackie to break her down. Zoey’s intro is cut short by the appearance of Mrs. Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) who is apparently some kind of administrator, a la Lisa Cuddy. Jackie quickly blows her off and exits. This allows us to meet Eddie (Paul Schulze), the hospital pharmacist that Jackie is having sex with, which isn’t making her back any better. Although that’s nothing a second bump of Vicodin won’t fix.

 

Jackie and Zoey then find themselves attending to a badly cut-up hooker while the paramedics inform them that she was able to get her attacker’s knife and cut his ear off before he got away. Zoey promptly gets sick at the sight of the ear, and Jackie is ready for a break. Jackie goes to dinner with her friend Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) and a very funny exchange takes place in the upscale restaurant where they are dining. After dinner, Jackie returns to treat a young stoner with third degree burns from shooting a Roman Candle out of his ass. After the exam, Jackie does bump number three before getting back to work.

 

The hooker’s assailant arrives for treatment and Jackie find out he won’t be charged because he is a diplomat and has immunity. Once she confirms what a giant asshole the guy is, Jackie takes the law into her own hands a dispenses a little frontier justice. I found myself wondering if this was something Jackie would have done if she hadn’t been flying on all that Vicodin.

 

At the end of a long day, Jackie heads home, but not before Eddie hooks her up with some more Vicodin and she turns down his offer of spending the evening together. I’m not going to spoil the big reveal at the end of the episode, but it certainly confirms that Jackie is not the saint that Zoey think she is.

 

I realize I made more than one comparison to House in my analysis of the Nurse Jackie’s premiere, and that wasn’t an accident. There are some vary obvious parallels between the two shows–both feature a deeply flawed protagonist who make up for their lack of social skills and nasty demeanor by being damn good at their job. Then there is the painkiller addiction. Jackie’s method of consumption is certainly edgier than House’s, but the result is the same, they both go through life in a medicated state that no one really understands the full effects of. I think the key difference between the two is that Jackie does understand she is not a role model, where House often holds himself up as the best example of someone in his profession. That difference is captured best in the prayer Jackie offers during the closing moments of the premiere, “Make me good God, but not yet.” That is the difference that will bring me back next week for episode two.

 

Nurse Jackie airs at 10:30/9:30c starting Monday, June 8th.

 

And yes, people actually stick Roman Candles in their asses.

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, New Series, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mental Episode 1: Pilot

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As I mentioned the other day, I had extremely low expectations as I sat back to watch the premiere episode of Mental. It was close, but there was enough meat on the bone to draw me back for at least one more episode. The detailed breakdown is included below.

I have seen many reviews calling Mental a straight-up House clone. In many ways they were absolutely right. Unconventional doctor – Check. Straight-laced female administrator – Check. Breaking and Entering – Check. For crying out loud, even the sets and background music seemed like they had been lifted directly from Princeton Plainsboro.

Unfortunately, some of the really great elements of House were not present in the first episode. A Wilson-like ally was absent, as was any kind of strong link or symmetry between the patient’s case and the lives of the doctors. This is where I’m willing to cut some slack since it’s very hard to make all this happen in a pilot episode.

My main beef as the episode started to wrap up was the biggest missing element – a flaw in our main character, Dr. Jack Gallagher. I think the key to the success of House is that as brilliant and god-like as Dr. Greg House is, he is ultimately made human by his physical limitations and his debilitating addiction to painkillers. We finally got a brief preview of Dr. Jack’s Achilles’ heel in the closing moments of the episode–although I hope it is more than just a woman who got away.

This may seem trivial, but I really thought the clipboard patient file graphic was silly and unnecessary. We don’t need a stupid graphic to realize the guy who thought everyone in the hospital was a lizard was in fact delusional.

Speaking of the ‘patient files’, I checked and Dead Cat Syndrome has nothing to do with freezing your deceased feline friends. It is commonly used to describe two things:

  1. False Logic – Even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a high enough height. It doesn’t mean it has come back to life.
  2. Unwelcome – Corporate IT often describes projects as suffering from Dead Cat Syndrome. In other words, the business is as excited about the project as your neighbor would be if you flung your dead cat over the fence.

I would also like to see a few visual tweaks like making the patient visions less obvious–we don’t need the slow motion/blurry cam visual to realize the old lady isn’t actually having sex with Dr. Jack. Also on the graphics front, I can do without the zipper sound and forehead graphic going into every single commercial break.

Overall, I think the show has potential as long as they aren’t afraid to ditch a few things that didn’t work and move forward. I won’t hold out much hope though since it appears Fox is only looking for Mental to fill a time slot until the big boys are back in the fall. Mental could at least serve as an entertaining diversion this summer if you’re like me and hate being outside in the hot weather.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Drama, New Series, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mental Episode 1: Pilot

Summer TV Preview Part 2: Tuesday

Here is part two of my five part summer preview. 

 

Tuesday

 

ABC – Not much for us on Tuesdays, but on June 23rd at 8/7c, The Superstars will premiere. It looks like ABC is trying to capitalize on the success (and low production costs) of Wipeout by giving us more regular people trying to be athletic. The twist here is that each person will be paired with a pro athlete. One team will be eliminated each week with a winner being crowned in late July.

 

CBS – All repeats here, but if you haven’t gotten on board The Mentalist yet, now is the time to catch up. I think this show is good enough to stick around for a few years so get on board now while it’s still fresh. Repeats air at 9/8c.

 

NBC – I have zero interest in watching C-list celebs trying to get out of the jungle, but I am planning to check out the second show that will be filling the 8/7c timeslot this summer. The Great American Road Trip is like a family edition of Road Rules, although I’m assuming it will have a lot less drinking and sex. Premieres July 7th.

 

FOX – More House repeats, paired with summer series Mental, which appears to be a watered down version of Dr. House working in a looney bin. Early reviews are terrible, but I recorded it tonight anyway. The premiere episode will re-air this Friday, May 29th if you want to check it out. Mental is filling the 9/8c slot through June 23rd. Then on July 21st at 8/7c we will be treated with the sixth season of Hell’s Kitchen. I can tell you for sure that I won’t be watching at 9/8c on July 28th when More to Love premieres–simply put, it’s The Bachelor for the hyper-obese set.

 

FXRescue Me started its fifth season in April, and it continues at 10/9c through September 8th. You can catch up on Hulu if you’ve been missing out. And believe me, it’s worth the catch up to see some great guest appearances by Michael J. Fox.

 

Science – New series Science of the Movies premiered tonight and will be filling the 9/8c position. It appears to be a fun behind-the-scenes look at how some of our favorite films are made. Don’t fret if you missed the premiere though–like everything else on the Discovery family of networks, it will be repeated a dozen or so times this week.

 

SyFy – As much as I loathe SciFi’s new marketing scheme, the have good chance at keeping me entertained on Tuesdays at 9/8c based on the trailer for Warehouse 13. Premiering July 7th, the show looks like a less depressing version of Sanctuary, this time set in a secret government warehouse full of supernatural goodies that reminds me of the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 3 of the preview–head’s up though, ABC is premiering Wipeout and new animated show The Goode Family tomorrow night, so set your DVRs.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, Game Shows, Movies, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Science, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Summer TV Preview Part 2: Tuesday