Tag Archives: Nurse Jackie

The Emmy Awards: a “meh” telecast with some great surprise winners. And another nutty day in the NFL, as my Jets win an ugly one

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Pretty darn good Sunday, I’d say: The Emmy awards, and a New York Jets win (more on that in a bit).
I always love the Emmys, because there’s so much good TV out there these days, and with Neil Patrick Harris hosting, well, it was sure to be great.
Except…

When the hell did the Emmys become the Tonys? In the vocal tone of Chandler Bing, could there have BEEN more musical numbers in that show? I mean, I know you have Neil Patrick Harris who’s awesome at musical numbers, but good heavens, people, even Harvey Fierstein was probably watching going “OK, that’s enough.”
It’s the Emmys people, we don’t need so much damn music! You’re telling me we needed seven minutes of Elton John instead of a few good Edith Bunker and Tony Soprano clips?
Ugh. I thought it was a so-so telecast and the musical numbers were so unnecessary. Lots of other things I liked and didn’t like, including…

— Loved the surprise winners. Quite a few of them. The awesome Merritt Wever (above) from “Nurse Jackie” was a terrific shocker, as was “The Colbert Report” beating “The Daily Show” twice, and Tony Hale from “Veep” was a well-deserved winner, too (and his bit with Julia Louis-Dreyfus was great when she won, too.) And so happy for Bobby Cannavale, who won for his terrifying season on “Boardwalk Empire.”
But Jeff Daniels winning over Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston and Damien Lewis was a crime.

tony-hale-julia-louis-dreyfus-veep-emmys
— From the wife, when Melissa Leo walked out: “What the F is she wearing? Gold hot pants?” Followed by “she looks like the ringmaster at the circus.”
— Jon Hamm’s beard scared me.
— I’m a huge fan of the death montages, and I loved that they broke out five notable passings for small tributes. The Rob Reiner/Jean Stapleton and Edie Falco/James Gandolfini ones were particularly beautiful and well-done. Bravo.
— Michael Douglas looked like death warmed over.
— Claire Danes: Terrible dress, beautiful speech.
— Finally, the “How I Met Your Mother” cast skit about Excessive Hosting Disease was spot-on and hilarious. If only that show were still funny.

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**OK, now on to the football. The New York Jets, who I said before the season might win four games this season, have now, improbably, won two of their first three.
Sunday’s game was an affront to football in some ways, as both the Jets and the Bills tried their damnedest to give the other team the game.
But Gang Green, despite committing 20 penalties (20!), got a great game from the defensive front seven, and had a better rookie QB than the Bills did.
Geno Smith threw his usual two interceptions per game (definitely not a good habit), but threw a couple of beautiful deep TD passes, including one to Santonio (Big Mouth) Holmes for the game-winner in the fourth.
It was, typically, a tear-your-hair-out kind of Jets win, but this year especially, I ain’t looking for style points. The Jets got a win against a division rival and stunningly, look like they might be good enough for mediocrity this year, maybe 7-9 or even 8-8.
Dare to dream boys, dare to dream.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:
— Good for the Cleveland Browns and their fans, who saw their team idiotically trade away their best player this week, then finally go out and get a win Sunday, beating Minnesota in the final minute. Brian Hoyer, your time is now!
— The Giants. Oh my Lord, the Giants. This is Ray Handley-level putridity, Giants fans. Thirty-eight to zip to Carolina? Wow.
— Anyone who had the 49ers 1-2 after three games, raise your hand. Didn’t think so.
— Finally, I love Marv Albert, we all love Marv Albert. But listening to his call on Jets-Bills was like getting a root canal. He was awful, misidentifying players, five seconds behind the action, and just plain bad. Is this what it was like for you older folks watching Willie Mays stumble around the outfield for the Mets?

“The Big C” completely goes into the toilet, while “Nurse Jackie” shines on; Roger Clemens, not guilty but hardly innocent. And the amazing R.A. Dickey, inspiring all

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.

“Nurse Jackie” ends wonderfully. “Tara,” not so much. And the rage at Elton John

Two of my favorite shows ended on the same night Monday. One ended on a high note. The other, not so much.

(By the way, I’m not ignoring the season finale of “Glee.” I’ll probably have thoughts on it on Thursday. Right now I’m trying to decide if I hated it or loved it. I’m thinking a little of both.)

I’ve been raving about “Nurse Jackie” on Showtime to anyone who’ll listen for a couple of years now, and after some uneven episodes, this year, the writers absolutely gave us a killer season finale.

Edie Falco, as Jackie, was finally caught in all her lies by her husband, and her best friend. The awesome storyline of Zoey and Lenny got even more interesting. Dr. Cooper got punched, always a good thing.

This is a really good show, showing how a drug addict like Jackie can wrap everyone in her life around her finger, and giving us some fantastic acting, especially by Zoey (Merritt Weaver). I wish more people watched this show.

Here’s a clip of the season finale, when Jackie’s friend Dr. O’Hara discovers she faked an MRI to obtain more pain pills:

Then there was “United States of Tara,” a show that I discovered last year and was blown away by its fabulousness. Toni Collette is amazing as a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder, and we see how her behavior affects her family.

Last year the show was brilliant. This year, it took a significant nose-dive. They introduced way too many new “alter-egos,” let the storylines drift so far away from any sort of reality, and never really got into a groove with the writing. (My friend Brian Hickey, a fellow devotee, also wondered what the hell happened between Seasons 1 and 2).

I kept hoping it would turn around, but Monday’s finale was as strange and disjointed as the rest. We got no real answers, characters acted very strangely (all of a sudden daughter Kate wants to stay in this house with these crazies, instead of living on her own?), and it just sort of ended.

Ugh. Not good. I’m willing to give “Tara” a few episodes of Season 3 to win me back, just because Toni Collette is so freaking brilliant.

**It’s been a couple of days since I heard about it, and I’m still quite puzzled.

Elton John, music icon, and for decades one of the most powerful voices speaking out on behalf of gay rights, performed at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding last weekend.

Rush, of course, is among other things on the record hundreds of times as being bigoted against gay people, believing they shouldn’t have the right to marry, they’re immoral heathens, etc.

So why? Why would Elton John do it? Money? He certainly can’t need the dough (word is he got $1 million for it). Personal friendship? Unlikely.  He’s stirred up an awful lot of anger in the gay community, and I can’t really blame them.

Look, I’m not asking Elton John to be a role model. But performing at the wedding of a man so clearly at odds with what you believe, and who has said so many hateful things about those like you, seems like a very, very bad move.

A move that will likely cost Sir Elton some fans.

Talking some TV: Two great Showtime shows return, Parenthood rules, and Reggie Miller vs. the Knicks

**If you’re an NCAA Tournament junkie like me, follow my live blog tonight

starting at 7 here.

So I know Showtime has always been the poor, neglected stepkid compared to HBO, but in the last few years, if you haven’t noticed, Showtime has totally been kicking HBO’s butt with quality shows.

It started with “Weeds,” and then “Dexter” and “Californication,” and last season I discovered two awesome and totally subversive programs that Showtime started airing.

Lucky for me, they both started Season 2 on Monday. “United States of Tara,” starring the fabulous Toni Collette as Tara, is about a woman with multiple personality disorder and her attempts to cope with life. She’s marrying to Aidan from “Sex in the City” (John Corbett), and they have two delightfully weird kids, the out-there gay Marshall and the blonde, sarcastic Kate.

Then there’s Tara’s  crazy sister, too. The show does take a serious disorder and make it funny, but it’s brilliantly wicked and it does have some serious moments. Highly, highly recommend.

“Nurse Jackie” started back up this week, too. It’s also terrific. Edie Falco is a totally different woman from Carmela Soprano; she’s an ER nurse who was cheating on her husband with a pharmacist. There’s the usual weird cast of characters (though they seemed to have dropped the gay male black nurse this year, which is a shame), but this is totally Edie Falco’s show.

“Nurse Jackie” isn’t as good as “Tara,” but it’s still pretty damn entertaining. If you have Showtime, check them out. If you don’t, well, it’s worth the 8 bucks a month just for these two shows.

**So “Parenthood” continues to get better and better, as does “Modern Family.” Watched both Wednesday night; I’m so glad “Parenthood” is starting to give its characters dimensions and layers, though Craig T. Nelson still seems to have nothing do do as the Grandpa. I love that Adam Braverman and his wife break into their daughter’s laptop, then go over to her secret boyfriend’s house.

They’re doing a really good job with Erika Christensen’s character; the totally conflicted working mom, but Lauren Graham’s Sarah is kind of over the top. I want her barista boyfriend to come back.

Anyway, I thought this week’s episode was the best one yet, especially when so many people keep trying to talk to the teenage boy and his “showering” problem.

I SO don’t miss being a male teenager.

***Finally, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series has picked back up again, and picked up right where it left off in being awesome. Last week was the premiere of “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks.”

As fantastic as I remember those playoff wars between the Knicks and Mr. Alien (Miller) were, the movie brings the feelings back even stronger. Really well-done film, with great interviews and memories from all the key players.

Couple thoughts after watching the movie:

1, Spike Lee really was a perfect foil for Miller.

2. Anthony Mason was truly one of the dumbest basketball players of all time. Seriously.

3. Mark Jackson had the funniest stuff in the movie, talking about how he used to fire Miller up by telling him all the terrible things the NY media was saying about him. Also, Mark Jackson was a damn good player, and I tend to forget that.

4. Patrick Ewing = choker. Always will.

Anyway, it’s a terrific movie, running on ESPN and all its 47 channels throughout the month.

If you’re a Knicks fan, here’s a nice little memory (ha).