Monday, June 17, 2013

Nurse Jackie Leaves Us Thinking at Season 5 end

I must preface by saying a few things. And folks who are not up to speed on the show, please TAKE THIS AS YOUR OFFICIAL SPOILER ALERT. Hopefully those caps relay the point? Carrying on. Last night was somehow already the season premiere of Season 5 of Showtime's drug-addict-turned-way-too-normal Nurse Jackie. I truly do not know how or why these premium cable shows, ahem, the best type of show around, last for about a minute flat. Or in real time, the overly short stint of one quarter / three months / twelve episodes. I put forth that time period three different ways for the faint of mathematical heart. But I digress with my intro... per usual.

So, in any normal situation in which events were actually taking place to real humans (vs. fictional TV characters that is), I wouldn't dare to feel any trace of joy at someone falling off of the proverbial sobriety wagon. Here's that SPOILER ALERT again. (Red lights flash). But surely you must believe me. Why would anyone in their right mind wish the curse of addiction to again befall one who has overcome the ailment? They wouldn't. However, since we are speaking in the context of a fictional world inhabited by fictional characters (sorry Zoe, Jackie and Prentiss, you're real to me), I feel I may venture to a place that I would not in "real life"... a place of relief. Relief for bringing back some drama. Yeah, I said it. Seriously, Showtime. I'm now going to endeavor to give you an honest opinion from a critical-eyed-premium-cable-loving gal. So here goes. Did I overall find the season finale of NJ's Season 5 entertaining? I suppose so, moderately... minus the maudlin tear-ridden emotional outbursts both in the ER and otherwise, and the overly melodramatic saccharin love scenes. I mean, I guess it was nice to know that Frank forgave Jackie *tear* and now the two of them can gracefully waltz off into newly-found-lover bliss? (Cue the underwritten sarcasm.) But my opinion aside, clearly that totally boring and overdone Friends-esque (UGH) plotline was never going to last. And thank G-d for that.

I always quite enjoyed dream-sequence scenes in TV dramas... those scenes in which things seemingly slow down. Characters' actions takes on a deeper, more purposeful feel, and the viewer is invariably uncertain whether the events on screen are actually taking place or being dreamt. The use of dream sequences can be so-so or it can be absolutely fucking brilliant. (Read, Tony Soprano meets Dr. Melfi). Okay so. While Jackie prepared for her one year anniversary of sobriety, migrating first from lover's lane to the shower, there was a clear aura of intentional dream-sequence-ism. There is, to me, no doubt that this was done on the part of the producers to screw around with NJ viewers' minds. Was she fantasizing? Dreaming? Did she sleep with Frank or not? And ultimately and most importantly, did she really pop that solitary pill so meticulously saved in her ring box? You know, just for a proverbial rainy day... or perhaps for a sobriety-celebratory day in this case? Seemingly so, yes -- while preparing for her sober celebration, the "I'm-clean-and-sober-now-Miss Peyton" betrays her seeming squeaky new title and pops that pill. Then just like that, there ends Season 5.

I believe that, as I mentioned, that was-it-a-dream-sequence-or-was-it-real scene, was an act on the part of NJ's writers, of intentional deception. And boy, was it ever strategic. Viewers were left unanswered, pondering whether they will meet a sober or less-than-so Jackie at Season 6's inception. And therein lies the strategy. Any loyal NJ fan will now unquestionably return, if for no other reason than to learn the outcome of Miss Peyton's "action". Allow me now to say this in conclusion. Life is precious and sobriety golden. But when it comes to TV drama, please, allow it to remain as such. If I wished to watch Friends or (insert lame sitcom du jour), I would do so. No thanks. So please, Showtime, bring back the stretched-too-thin-for-her-own-good-I-have-reckless-sex-and-an-affinity-for-prescription-pills Jackie. She was infinitely more entertaining, more passionate and most of all, more addicting than the boringly sober Jackie we got to know this season. Bring the drama back into drama. 

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