‘Nurse Jackie’ premieres in New York


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On Tuesday night, Showtime threw a premiere and a party for ‘Nurse Jackie,’ its new half-hour comedy-drama-medical thing. They showed two episodes, and it was good! But first let us take note of something exciting. Here is a show carried by a 45-year-old woman. Its two showrunners are women. It is executive-produced by those two women plus another. Oh, yes, there are ladies: It is even scored by the wonderful Wendy and Lisa.

Even in the age of Shonda Rhimes, this is as weird and rare and as exciting as it would have been in, say, 1985, the year that ‘Lady Blue’ premiered on ABC (for just one season; the show was canceled because it starred a chick too violent for TV), which is also the year that ‘The Golden Girls’ first aired. You know, back in the prehistory not long before ‘Murphy Brown’ and about a decade before ‘Cybill.’ Ha, remember ‘Cybill’? I certainly don’t. Even Christine Baranski probably doesn’t!


‘Nurse Jackie,’ as you may know, is about a foul-mouthed nurse who works with some troubled people and has some troubles of her own. Dig it. Showtime head Matthew Blank said ‘We are always trying to create programming that educates and gives back to the community’ and everyone tittered, because all their shows are about drugs and hookers and stabbing people. What is up with that? It’s getting a little weird up in there. Then he thanked their sponsor Audi, who drove him the ‘long and treacherous five blocks’ from the office. LOL, um, I took a cab uptown myself, but whatever! It’s fair though. He has a really fabulous lady-partner -- I don’t mean that ironically, she’s super-cool, with excellent taste in jewelry -- so, she deserves it. Here’s to being driven around by your sponsors. (Though it’s so ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ or something, what with the recession, and we were on 57th Street, after all, where basically retail stores were going out of business all around us, Christian Lacroix is on the same side of the street and the company just filed for bankruptcy, but don’t worry about Louis Vuitton, which is doing just fine, as it is the home of the world’s most expensive pet carrier, and by the way, no reference intended to the now long-gone HBO show ‘Rome,’ which was too expensive for Albrecht even during the recent boom years!)

Anyway, one thing that was of interest at the premiere was that Victor Garber, who I unfairly think of as the poor man’s/Canadian’s John Slattery, which is also odd and unfair because Garber is a full 14 years older than Slattery and is therefore clearly aging fantastically -- was sitting in the cheap seats up in the balcony. The cheap seats, I tell you! Can’t a brother get any respect? Anyway, I love him, don’t you? Hello, ‘Alias!’ Speaking of shows with strong women!

And one very interesting thing about ‘Nurse Jackie’ itself is that it is very New Yorkey and is actually shot in New York. The exteriors are particularly good -- the characters get out of the correct subway stations, they go to restaurants in the correct neighborhoods, and this sounds like a simple thing but you cannot imagine, or possibly you can, how endlessly wrong TV shows get New York. So that is extremely gratifying.

There was an after-party at the fancy Le Parker Meridien hotel, where they had laid out a nice doctor’s waiting room in the corner and an oxygen bar and stuff, which I stayed at for like 10 minutes because it was like crashing someone’s wedding and you didn’t really know anybody there nor did you really want to particularly. It wasn’t like Anna Deavere Smith was swinging on a trapeze or anything (she is pretty hilarious on the show, though her comedy part is slightly broad, no pun intended). Mostly people were just eating passed samosas and you were like, ‘OK, another party, another show!’ So much security. So many publicists. So many people who were employed as that weird thing between publicist and security. But mostly it made you think of all the premiere parties carefully and expensively constructed for shows that no longer exist. How long will this puppy be on the air?

-- Choire Sicha