Daily Archives: January 19, 2010

Nurse Jackie: Waiting for Comedy

Episode 7, Steak knife

Given that Beckett could make great drama out of a set up where nothing happens (twice) and thereby revolutionise 20th Century theatre, maybe Nurse Jackie can do the same for TV comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t not enjoy it. It was compelling – it just wasn’t comedic. Correction.  It had one great moment of comedy – like the diamond on the otherwise apparently subfusc bracelet gift from boyfriend Eddie:  the scene when Nurse Jackie’s trainee nurse is bored just staunching a wound and is sorely tempted to remove the knife from the comatose stab victim (Nurse Jackie explains ‘We don’t remove foreign objects that are protruding from the patient – that is the surgeon’s job’).

Otherwise, this was all about relationships – a complex web of relationships to be sure. But not relationships as a foil for comedy. Relationships as a foil for relationships. Perhaps the most intriguing was Nurse Jackie’s relationship with comic possibility. Maybe I’d misread (or imagined) all the pre-Nurse Jackie hype, and this was the first episode I had seen, but I was expecting her to be a smart-talking, wise-cracking, no nonsense, pill-popping … you get the picture.

But in the face of comic opportunity, she was most often compellingly silent or calmly compassionate. Lots of set-ups, no punchlines.  Example. Mrs Akilitus, the administrator – who has seemingly made a brave career switch from being White House Security Adviser (and I would have bet big on Obama keeping her on) – spends most of the episode carrying round an abandoned baby seeking its parents. Lines ready for Nurse Jackie?  Zip.  She simply spots and casually removes a paperclip from its nose.

The Estragon to her Vladimir here turns out to be an English doctor who is happily awash with booze and pills, which Nurse Jackie again watches with benign passivity. A supportive friend listening to her troubles and putting her up in her apartment for the night.

And the arc of the other threads all seem designed…

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Celebrity Big Brother: Ain’t no lady

The artist known as Lady Sovereign has become the latest person to leave the Celebrity Big Brother house, after viewers decided that her amusing beans-hiding antics, sulking and pretend toothache were less than entertaining.

If she hadn’t gone yesterday, I’m not sure I could have still watched CBB. She is just so rude, arrogant and unpleasant, lazy, selfish… the list goes on. “I washed up me own plate,” she whined at Davina, who didn’t think to point out that the food didn’t get onto the plate by magic, so what about washing a bloody pan now and then? You can see how cross I’m getting. When my elderly neighbour yesterday started going into one of his National Service rants, I found myself thinking “It would do that Sov some good, at least.”

Deep breath. Ok, sorry, I’ve calmed down again now. I enjoyed the speed nominations yesterday, and particularly Stephen Baldwin counting the seconds that Nicola took to nominate, and concluding that since it only took her 15 seconds, this is proof positive that she’s in league with the devil. Conversely, someone (was it Dane?) nominated Stephen on the grounds that you could grow old waiting for him to finish a sentence. Obviously there is a close correlation between speaking speed and saintliness.

I also enjoyed seeing the celebrities get sprayed with assorted horrible fluids as a result of Sisqo’s failure to perform an adequate karaoke version of ‘Living on a Prayer’ and the Whigfield classic ‘Saturday Night.’ The only song he made a good attempt at was – and this came as a shock – ‘The Thong Song.’ Bless him, he’s wringing every last scrap out of that one, isn’t he?

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