Screened in

I was going to do a post about how I don’t think I’m gonna make it through this health care debate with my f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s intact because I’m already developing an autonomic eye twitch every time I hear “public option” just a few weeks in. BUT Athenae already wrote that post this morning, eleventy times better than I ever could have so I’m gonna post about teevee instead.

Last week when I shared that I chose to goAC-free this summer, I purposely left out a fact that some might take as proof that my already-questionable priorities are even more skewed. Not only do I happily still pay for internet, I’ve kept the cable, AND I’ve even added back HBO and Showtime for the summer. Plain old sweating I can deal with but the thought of going through the summer missing a new season ofWeeds, not to mention the return ofTrue Blood?

And new TV crush on-the-blockNurse Jackie?

What? Do you people think I’m made of steel?

If you aren’t watching any of them yet, of the three, Nurse Jackie’s probably the easiest to jump into because it’s brand new, plus some of the eps are up at Showtime. I was looking forward to this show before it arrived, and damn, I’m falling harder for it every week. The supporting characters alone make it rock, with the endearing Zoey pulling ahead as an early crowd favorite, but after repeated viewings, I’ve got to say that all of them (and the actors) are just as full of win. I mean, c’mon, Anna Deveare Smith? Brilliant genius legend, right? She’s not even in one of the top tier roles but as Jackie’s main opponent, every syllable of dialogue is delivered to the fullest, and what a delight to see her doing comedy.

Of course, it’s Edie Falco who’s the sun in the middle. LikeJacob says, you just don’t want to take your eyes off her. Jackie has to use her body like a soldier, her heart like a saint, her mind like a computer, and that’s where the whole show flows from — keeping all those superpowers going. In the very first scene of the series, the first crack is revealed: “What do you call a nurse with a bad back? Unemployed.” Cue the bouncing grains of painkillers and “Theme to Valley of the Dolls.” Jackie may be a saint but she’s also a (very high functioning) drug addict. A cynical, snarky, compassionate, wound-up, shut-down, skilled and efficient drug addict. Watch this show.

As forTrue Blood? Love it. Despite the atrocious accents, despite the fact that the show itself will never bring the chilling menace of the amazing opening credit sequence, it’s still a big juicy ripping yarn, an over-the-top bloody comic book. I never read the books the show’s based on so I don’t know if it’s better or worse, but no matter what, it’s always over too soon. Plus, Michelle Forbes as this year’s big bad? Shut up, right? You know when Michelle Forbes shows up naked at the crossroads with a pig after midnight that shit just got real, ya’ll.

Weeds could be a whole other post. Even though a lot of folks don’t seem to have ever caught the bug or have left the fold due to one excess or another, I’m in for the duration. Yeah, it’s swung all over the place, it’s sometimes inconsistent, some narrative holes never got patched, but when it’s locked in and firing on all cylinders, there are very few shows as good atshowing instead of telling as this one.

Four years in and Nancy Botwin is more exasperating andWTF-are-you-thinking? than ever but I recognize that character. She’s messed up and shut down the way real people you know are messed up and sometimes those people get worse, not better. The show’s early seasons were, at the core, not just about this one family but about the whole fucked-up, brittle, anesthetized country. This season, we’re circling in on Nancy finally and there’s not much “there” there. We’re in the dark wood, more casualties are almost certain, and of all people, Nancy’s formerly neurotically slapdash, ethically-challenged brother-in-law Andy has emerged as the show’s moral center. Justin Kirk is breaking my heart this season. Give this man his Emmy, his Golden Globe, whatever, he’s earned it.

10 thoughts on “Screened in

  1. joejoejoe says:

    JD Salinger short story reference! You rock Virgo Tex.

  2. leinie says:

    Virgo, I love love love Weeds – but I don’t have Showtime. I buy the DVDs when they come out, so I’m always just a little bit behind.
    Which, I’ve found, is how I’m watching television anymore. Don’t watch the stuff when it’s broadcast, buy what I want and watch as I wish. House – haven’t seen any this season, will have a marathon when the season is released. Same with Weeds.

  3. virgotex says:

    leinie, my dvd player needs a minor repair so I’ve not watched many discs of late. but I like that immersion style for this type of show, too. The narrative breaks better that way, I think.

  4. pansypoo says:

    i stopped watching hospital shows after scrubs + st. elsewhere. i did not watch 1 minute of ER. but true blood? oh yes. tudors. will check out hung.

  5. virgotex says:

    Hung has potential but too early to tell yet. Hung, Breaking Bad, Weeds- similar stories about life in these united states economic reality

  6. The Other Sarah says:

    Ok, guilty pleasure announcement time:
    I like Psych.
    I can almost tolerate Monk
    I don’t mind Warehouse 13.
    I enjoy Burn Notice.
    I really like HawthoRNe, so far.
    I ought to like Saving Grace but it makes me want to throw up.
    I do like The Closer.
    But I love me some eUrEka!

  7. spocko says:

    “Quite and mean, those are my people.” -Nurse Jackie.
    Love, love, love Edie Falco. This is great part, I’m sorry it’s only 1/2 an hour.
    I’m just finishing up season 7 of “The Shield” it’s not “The Wire” but it’s pretty damn good. The Vic Mackie character reminds me of Tony, James Gandalfini’s character in The Sopranos.
    I too am watching TV this way, DVD of entire seasons. 2-3 episodes a night.
    Great for storylines with arks. I’ve also figured out a way to watch Hulu on the TV using a converted X-box and some software called Playon.
    Pretty amazing when it works, but it is constantly fighting Hulu who make changes to the software and Hulu has to play catch up.

  8. pansypoo says:

    swill have to see on hung. when did it premier? watched it last night.

  9. skippy says:

    i recommend netflix, where you can rent 4 dvds @ once for $23.99 a month, you send one in when you’re done, you get another one almost immediately.
    so what i like to do is power cycle thru 2 or 3 tv shows during the month, one disc @ a time.
    right now i am watching breaking bad & trublood & in treatment & big love…one disc (3 or 4 episodes) of one show, then one disc of the next show, etc etc, then go back to the second disc of the second show.
    this way i don’t od on one series, but the story lines are still fresh by the time i get to the next disc of the series.
    tho one caveat: this week, for the first time ever in my 5 years of netflix service, i have not received my discs in the mail on time. no clue why, i am blaming the post office @ this point.

  10. virgotex says:

    Hey skippy! Good to see ya

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