Thursday, June 9, 2011

Edie Falco, Part 1

Photo by David Shankbone

Tomorrow, I am headed off to NYC to visit my sister and her boyfriend and to see The House of Blue Leaves on Broadway. The play got mixed reviews. In the New York Times review, Ben Brantley wrote, "There is little that's transporting here... 'House' is usually described as a black comedy. [Director David] Cromer's revival plunges head first into the blackness, leaving the comedy to sink or swim. Mostly, I'm afraid, it sinks."

So why would I want to go see this play? Well, one reason is that I've taken to heart a few interviews I've read with theater people who complain that the Times critics have too much power. That theater is very subjective, and people who might really like a play are too often put off by one less-than-stellar review.

But my second reason for paying sixty-seven dollars for a ticket is that the play features the astonishing Edie Falco. Nurse Jackie is the only TV show that I watch every week (rather than falling behind and then playing catch-up). Ms. Falco's starring performance as a pill-popping, vigilante nurse is gripping. Few actors are as intense as she is, and no actor I can think of is as convincing.You can see every thought Jackie thinks register unmistakably on her face.

In some respects, Nurse Jackie is maddening. If you visit the show's Facebook page or its IMDb message board, you'll see that many fans have the same complaints that I have. They are as follows:

1) At a (cable) half-hour, the show is too short. It has half a dozen open-ended story lines going at all times, so there is never time for the plot to do more than creep one step forward in any given episode.

2) A subplot concerning an emergency room doctor (played by Peter Facinelli of Twilight fame) who falls apart after his gay moms split up has been over-the-top and unfunny. Even though it was a treat to see Swoosie Kurtz and Judith Light guest-starring as the moms.

3) Season 3 has generally been less compelling than season 2 was.

Still, I am invested in the characters, and I appreciate the show's zany, hectic atmosphere. So I will continue to watch until the season finale in two weeks, and I will probably watch season 4 next spring.

Edie Falco is my favorite screen actor. I hope soon to be able to report that she is my favorite stage actor as well.

Watch What I'm Watching:

Nurse Jackie (Highly Recommended)

@ The Internet Movie Database
@ Amazon Instant Video

Season 3 is airing on Showtime Mondays at 10pm EST

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