There was a time when I honestly thought Nurse Jackie was one of the finest shows I've ever seen--- a true dramedy. But over the last couple of seasons, as Jackie has wrestled with sobriety, and more importantly as the series has changed creators, it has fallen victim to same dinginess and dry rot that seems to pervade--- well, let's face it--- almost every series on Showtime.
Life has been on a downward arc for Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco) for the last year, but she doesn't seem capable of learning anything from it. Even as Grace, her eldest daughter has become closer to a mirror image of her--- they even snort Oxy the same way---- she has decided to throw her year of sobriety out the window, and has practically returned to her old Season One ways. The problem is, much as Showtime has tried to illustrate otherwise in series such as Weeds and Californication, there really isn't anything funny about addiction. And it's not funny watching Jackie going to NA meetings and ignoring the talk that's going on, it's just sad.
It's also incredibly frustrating watching the same characters make no real signs of growth in their lives. Coop has turned 40, and seems unable to break out of the snare that the (still) incompetent Dr. Roman demonstrates in trying to seduce him--- or maybe it's just a ploy to make her life easier. Akalitus still seems to be fighting the same battle she's been fighting since the start, and frankly I liked it better when this was happening on St. Elsewhere. The only characters that show any kind of vitality are the always ebullient Zoey (Merritt Weaver, demonstrating why she deserved her Emmy) Thor (Stephen Wallem) and the still fighting Prentiss (Morris Chestnut).
But really, Nurse Jackie, much like it's title character, is so emmeshed with the darkness and pain that pervades every element of the show. When Jackie's boyfriend takes her out square dancing, the club is so dark and dingy that we're not surprised when a junkie shows up and Jackie ends up snorting in the men's room. The darkness may have okay for Dexter (and as we all know, that eventually got tired). I rooted for Jackie to get sober the last couple of seasons; now I'm having a hard time caring if she ever recovers. Jackie is becoming less of a formidable woman, and more into just another addict. And unless you're serious, you can't build a show around that.