What I don’t get about “Nurse Jackie”…

One of my pet peeves about television and movies is unrealistic casting of romantic leads. A few years ago, I took a lot of heat on this blog for questioning whether or not it was credible that Dr. John Dorian (Zach Braff) got to date a never-ending series of model-types on “Scrubs,” and as I watched the first season of “Nurse Jackie,” a similar thought ran through my mind.

Don’t get me wrong — I like the show. It’s good (but not great) summer fare, and I’m always a fan of the freedom in language and adult themes that the pay cable networks enjoy. If you’re not familiar with the series, it stars Edie Falco, best known for her role as Carmela on “The Sopranos.” Falco is a terrific actress and she carries the series. My problem is with the casting of her romantic interests on the series.

**SEASON ONE SPOILERS AHEAD**

On the show, Falco sports an unflattering “butch” haircut, which makes her look all of her 46 years (and then some). She has what appears to be a very good marriage with Kevin, who is played by Dominic Fumusa. Fumusa is six years Falco’s junior and looks 10-15 years younger on the show. Normally, this match alone wouldn’t bother me as it’s perfectly possible for true love to occur in all shapes and sizes. But even though her husband has proven to be sweet and considerate (and pretty much out of her league), Jackie is cheating on him with the hospital’s pharmacist, Eddie, played by Paul Schulze. I don’t have a problem with the casting of Eddie, as he seems like a pretty good match for Jackie, but why in the world is she risking her marriage to fool around with this guy? (Edit: i.e. isn’t there a less risky way for her to get her fix?)

To top it all off, there’s a budding romance/crush with the hospital’s young doctor, Fitch (played by 36 year-old Peter Facinelli), who actually breaks up with this girl to pursue Jackie. Really? I’m supposed to buy this?

Look, I get that beauty is more than skin deep, but this series asks its viewers to buy a) that Jackie could land her heartthrob husband, b) that she’d risk her marriage to fool around with a less attractive co-worker (no offense intended, Mr. Shulze, you are a great actor and own the role of Eddie) and c) that another heartthrob co-worker would dump a model so that he could pursue this 46-year-old (bitchy) nurse with a butch haircut. Any one of these plot points by itself would be tough to swallow, but the three combined are completely ridiculous.

The first season is over and, despite these reservations, I’m going to tune in next year. Otherwise, it’s a very good show.

But still, I just don’t get it.

  

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