I’ve mentioned before that I have a need to escape from the mundane nature of much of life into a world more interesting. That’s why I like videogames, books, films, and TV so much. Whilst my partner for life is happy to watch fly-on-the-wall documentaries or celebrity shows or anything with real stuff in it, I tend to gravitate towards the fiction. I want the unreal, not the real.
This weekend we settled down to watch our newly acquired box set, Nurse Jackie. I didn’t know what to expect, but assumed it would be a typical USA TV affair, that is approximately 22 episodes, each of which would be approximately 42 minutes in length. Yes, I like to press the Display button on my PS3 Blu-ray remote to find out such information. I also like to count lights and curtain tabs, but that’s for another day. Nurse Jackie was more bite-sized than anticipated, weighing in at around 25 minutes an episode, and at only 12 episodes for the whole of season one it meant than in under 48 hours we’d watched the whole thing.
I wasn’t done with my preconceptions though, and the first episode – the pilot – successfully rewired my brain with what to expect. Because I wasn’t expecting a character so deeply rich, so malevolent and benign, with edges you could slit your wrists on. This wasn’t anything like the romantic staples of Grey’s Anatomy or the drama of ER. It was more like the staggering character work of House, distilled into 25 minutes of darkly comic events, with an overarching story so bittersweet it’s like eating a lemon and sugar pancake. If I really like a TV show then the pause-rewind-play combo gets heavy use, because I just have to watch a scene again or hear that piece of dialogue one more time. It was only because each episode of Nurse Jackie was so short – so beautifully, exquisitely short – that I’ve still got a functioning remote.
I urge you all to give Nurse Jackie a try. Watch the pilot, chat about how odd it was, then watch episode two. By then you’ll be as addicted as Jackie and popping episodes like sweets.