We’re back to real nurses talking about TV nurses. Last month a bunch of local nurses complained about Edie Falco’s new show Nurse Jackie, mainly because the character takes a lot of drugs and they thought it bad for their image. Today a real R.N. talks about the show at the Times and, while Theresa Brown is generally more thoughtful than the pressure-groupers, she also disapproves Jackie’s drug use and bad behavior, ostensibly for aesthetic reasons (“I hope the show abandons its dip into melodrama and returns to its roots in the drama of the hospital”) but really, we suspect, because Jackie’s nursing insufficiently reminds her of her own — an expert syndrome familiar to anyone who has watched war movies with veterans.
“Jackie’s choices struck me as too risky to be realistic,” says Brown. We doubt she would so stringently assess the believability of, say, William Shatner’s behavior on Boston Legal. She even asks, “if Jackie’s going to live out a soap opera — albeit one that is well written, with compelling personal stories — why make Jackie a nurse?” Probably because nurses are a TV staple, or were till recently.
We know people don’t like to see their own profession put in a bad light, but a nurse who just helps people and has a great attitude isn’t that interesting. These days, not even our TV cops and movie super-heroes are unconflicted. The world doesn’t give any of us enough respect, but hoping to get it from a TV show is a fool’s errand. If Nurse Brown really needs it, though, there’s always NurseTV.
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