TV review: Nurse Jackie

From the April 19, 2012 edition

I’ve always had mixed feelings about “Nurse Jackie.” It has some of the funniest supporting characters on all of television — Merritt Wever’s Zoey and Peter Facinelli’s “Coop” make me cry from laughing so hard — but the titular character has frustrated me from both a writing and acting standpoint.

Edie Falco is incredibly talented, but her approach grates on me at times, especially here as an abhorrent drug addict who cheats on her husband and neglects her daughters but always gets away with it. I understand that Jackie is written to be an anti-hero who thinks she can do no wrong, but Falco frequently took her character’s narcissism to absurd levels.

Well, almost all my complaints about “Nurse Jackie” have been addressed in the first two episodes of Season 4. After watching the entire season, I can tell you the show maintains this quality throughout.

Having Jackie finally hit rock bottom and check into rehab while letting her husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) learn of her affair with Eddie (Paul Schulze) means Jackie (and others) must face the consequences of her actions. The central conflict is no longer Jackie scheming to get away with her vile machinations, but her just trying to become a good person. And Falco shines in these quieter, human moments.

While I’m very pleased with the changes made to the central character, the main reason I’m sticking with “Nurse Jackie” is for its wonderful humor — an upcoming extended dance sequence by Zoey might be my favorite moment on TV this year.