Since “Nurse Jackie” debuted in 2009, there has been quite a bit of talk about the decision by Showtime to categorize the program as a comedy. Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neill has been more vocal than most that the show is not a comedy and and says that Showtime only categorizes it thus so that it can win awards.
It’s time someone rise up and defend this poor helpless show and prove that “Nurse Jackie” is, without a doubt, a comedy.
One of the strongest influences of my opinion on this matter is that my mother is a nurse. As I grew up, I came to understand many of the crazy things that one encounters when working in the medical field and the type of mindset that is required to be a productive person in that field. You have to have a kind of warped sense of the world in order to succeed in a profession where you deal with people’s lives being on the line almost everyday.
When looking at Jackie (Edie Falco) on her own, she is not the kind of character about whom a comedy would be centered. But in this show, she is the straight character, usually serious and stone-faced, who has to deal with the craziness of everyone around her.
These characters are central to what makes the show a comedy — the vain Dr. Cooper (Peter Facinelli), the naïve new nurse Zooey (Emmy nominee Merritt Wever), the bearish gay nurse Thor (Stephen Wallem), her fabulously dressed best friend Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) and the hospital’s current uptight administrator and former nurse Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith).
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Their approach to situations and how they put Jackie in the middle of them are very funny whether it be Zoey showing affection and idolizing Jackie, Dr. Cooper being childish about the fact that his two moms are splitting up or Thor pretending to be menacing in order to get a beligerent ER patient to leave her alone.
When Falco won the Emmy in 2010, she said this was ridiculous because, “I’m not funny.” While some have taken this as an admission that her show is not a comedy, it’s obvious that Falco is referring to herself being thought of as a comedic actress. (Watch her acceptance speech below.)
However, she did say backstage that the thought of being nominated for a comedy made her, “laugh my head off, because I thought that was funny.”
Regardless of what Falco thinks, the show is still a comedy. Her nomination this year, as well as Weaver’s nod in the supporting category, are welcome recognition for this hilarious show.
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