Monday, Showtime presents the return of two dark comedies, led by strong dramatic and comedic actresses. Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara both premiered last year to critical praise and are rightly getting new 12-episode seasons, and now air together Monday nights starting at 10/9c. Here are my thought’s on both show’s new cycles.
I got the chance to see first 8 episodes out of 12, and the show picks up a couple months after we last left Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco), on the ground, addicted as ever to pills, after here family life is dying, and her affair is thrown for a loop when Eddie (Paul Schulze) is fired. She is nowhappy, spending time with her husband and kids, sort-of forgetting about Eddie, and still working at the hospital.
The shows strength is in the cast, mostly by the wonderful work of the supporting cast. Jackie’s BFF O’hara (delicious Eve Best) gets more and more screen time in season 2 as we met and old and intimate pal Sarah, a journalist, played by Julia Ormand in a lengthy arc mid-season. The no-longer newbie Zoey (Merritt Weaver) is still innocent and gullible. She has the best lines of anybody and is just so-so likeable. Coop (Peter Facinelli) is even more in disgust with Jackie’s ways, and Jackie is thrown for a loop when Coop gets more and more attention with something that the wonderful Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) puts together as she gets worried with the hospital’s health.
Nurse Jackie‘s season starts off slow with the first two episodes mostly setting up the main problems Jackie will have this year, but the next six are just so addictive. Funny, dark, and most of all shows us a deeply flawed woman that is just trying to make life normal.
UNITED STATES OF TARA
Toni Collette is going to do it again. After winning the Best Actress award at last year’s Emmys for playing the title character, she continues in the knockout role from the 6 episodes of the new season I saw. United States of Tara was a little gem for me last year, as I usually watched the show in chunks on a weekend. Getting behind then watching a group of episodes all together and getting to know the Gregsons, and was happy to get back in their lives.
In last year’s finale, Tara was finally getting help and confront her trauma that led her to Dissociative identity Disorder. We found a fifth alter in Gimme, and her kids Kate and Max getting sick of all the trouble the family is having. The best part of the new season of Tara for me as in the early episodes Tara is finally normal. She is feeling good about herself, and it just makes me happy to see that, as well as getting along with her sister Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt) and her husband (John Corbett).
Changes in the new year are mostly for Max, played so well by Keir Gilchrist, who is grappling with his sexuality and final facing it after sitting with the gay kids at school who are a hoot. Other changes, include recurring characters played by Viola Davis, an eclectic acquaintance of Tara and Kate’s plus Joey Lauren Adams, as a bartender in love with a major played.
Tara is a beautifully drawn out family drama in a comedic tone, that presents stories, that are real, emotional, and funny. The new season rocks on all levels and well worth the wait.
Both comedies air Monday on 10/9c on Showtime.