I’ve been saying for a while now that Showtime has, pound for pound, much better shows than HBO.
Two of my favorites on the network finished off their seasons on Sunday. Sadly, one show I’m now crossing off the list, while the other is better than ever.
Since I subscribe to Don Corleone’s credo from “The Godfather”(“he insists on hearing bad news immediately”), I’ll start with the bad.
“The Big C” had such a fantastic first season, and a really good second season, too. If you’ve never seen it, Laura Linney plays Cathy, a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we watch as she and her family (Oliver Platt is her husband) go through all the different feelings and emotions the cancer causes.
I had really high hopes going into Season 3, but man, it was some kind of awful. They went in 47 different directions, many that made no sense (Paul as a motivational speaker? A woman who’s dying adopting a baby?), and basically completely forgot that Cathy is supposed to be dead soon.
Then in the finale, they just totally made no sense with character choices and motivations. Sad to see such a terrific show go into the toilet, but it’s just turned into a terrible show.
How-evah (channeling my inner Stephen A. Smith there), “Nurse Jackie,” the other awesome Showtime show that just ended its season, is as good as ever. Edie Falco completely rules as an ER nurse who’s a cheating spouse and a drug addict (pills), and until this season pretty much got away with everything dirty that she did.
Finally this year she was forced to face some consequences, and her life (predictably) began to fall apart.
But the show was SO much more interesting, watching her go through rehab, fight to get custody of her kids, and try really hard to stay clean.
“Nurse Jackie” is wickedly funny, with a great supporting cast (thank God they toned-down the obnoxious Coop a little this year), and has a lot of heart. The season finale was gut-wrenching in the end, but so worth watching.
So my official verdict: If you’re not yet, start watching “Nurse Jackie.” And if you wanna watch great TV, watch the first two years of “The Big C.” That’s all that’s worth your time.
**So Roger Clemens, who everyone in the civilized world knows used and abused steroids late in his career (and allow me to plug my man Pearlman’s excellent book on Rocket, which I helped edit), was acquitted Monday on charges of perjury in front of Congress.
Of course, ole’ Roj and his lawyers take this to mean he’s been exonerated from the charge of ever having juiced. Not quite the same thing.
I personally don’t care that Clemens got off, though I feel quite certain he’s a scumbag (though I thought that long, long before the steroid thing).
I just hope that more than any jail sentence, the permanent punishment for him remains that most baseball fans know he cheated. He cheated his talent, he cheated the game, and the last 5-6 years of his career will be forever tainted.
Like Barry Bonds before him, Roger Clemens was going to the Hall of Fame before he touched one needle. But like Bonds before him, because of hubris and ego, Roger Clemens may now never get into Cooperstown. (Although the feds may have turned him into a martyr; check out this excellent Jeff Passan article here).
**Finally, a much more uplifting baseball story. Have you seen what the Mets’ ace knuckleball pitcher, R.A. Dickey, is doing? Dude was a career journeyman, nothing more, and this season he’s the best pitcher in the sport. Monday night he threw his second consecutive one-hitter, and now hasn’t allowed an earned run in like 40 innings.
Dickey’s backstory is pretty remarkable, too; his new book (discussed, with his life, in a great story here) talks about how he suffered two separate instances (and abusers) of child molestation. I wonder if, in some small way, unburdening himself of his past in the book has made him a better, more confident pitcher.
So great to see a man who seems to finally, truly have some peace in his life doing so well.