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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character in this mature medical dramedy is a complex anti-heroine who grapples daily with her addicton to prescription painkillers and is having an affair with a colleague -- even though, on the surface, she's happily married with two young children. Conversations are riddled with strong language, including unbleeped words like "f--k," "c--t," and "s--t," and the emergency room setting produces plenty of blood and guts. Some brand names are mentioned, too, mostly in the form of specific prescription drugs and upscale merchants.
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What's the story?
Emergency room nurse Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco) struggles to manage her high-stress job -- and her addiction to prescription painkillers -- in NURSE JACKIE, a dramedy set in the shadows of New York City's fictitious All Saints Hospital. Her co-workers include a materialistic British physician (Eve Best), a brash young doctor (Peter Facinelli), a street-smart gay nurse (Haaz Sleiman), a socially awkward nursing student (Merritt Wever), and an attentive pharmacist (Paul Schulze) she's also sleeping with. But thanks to Jackie's habit of slipping off her wedding ring when she's at work, few of the other characters know that she's married with two children at home...
Is it any good?
On the surface, Nurse Jackie is just another hospital drama, albeit a good one -- kind of like ER with a lot more swearing. But at a deeper level, it's actually a show about pain management of all types, emotional as well as physical. Thanks to strong writing and a fully realized supporting cast, viewers learn more and more about Jackie and her demons as the series unfolds.
And whether you love her or hate her, you can't deny that she's one heck of a woman, a complex character who's both bad and good, wrong and right, sinner and saint.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about Jackie's iffy decisions when it comes to her personal and professional life. In what ways do you admire her? What about her behavior do you find less than admirable? Would you consider her a role model? When Jackie acts dishonestly to achieve what she sees as a beneficial outcome -- for example, forging a dead patient's signature to make him an organ donor -- do the ends justify the means? Do you view her behavior as ethical or unethical?