I just completed Season 5 of Nurse Jackie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a seven season TV series originally aired on Showtime from 2009 to 2015. Jackie is an ER nurse in New York City who is addicted to pharmaceutical drugs. I stream it from Netflix on my iPad or computer, or even on a TV when Ray isn’t around. I have 10 more episodes to go.
I didn’t watch the show when it was airing in real time. I read a review calling it a great series for online streaming, and liked the fact that it had a real (somewhat controversial) ending. I estimate that it has taken me a couple of months to get through five seasons. I’ve interspersed something else in the mix from time to time … an Amazon original series called Mozart in the Jungle. Interesting, but it hasn’t hooked me like Nurse Jackie.
Which is the point of this blog post.
I’m hooked – on the characters and on the story line. It is funny and not so funny at the same time. There are serious life and death moments, comic relief in the form of several doctors, nurses and patients, family problems, teenage angst, sex, friendship and weird ER emergencies.
I admit it. I want to see what happens to drug addict Jackie. Does this make me an addict, too?
I should confess that Nurse Jackie is not my first binge. (Does that sound like I’m in a 12 step program?). My very first was The West Wing. I watched all seven seasons over several months and had a great time. I had always liked the show when it aired from 1999 to 2006, but I was busy with work and travel and didn’t get to see it often. There weren’t any recording options back in those ancient times, remember?
I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the series and still think it’s one of the best ever produced on TV.
And then there was The Good Wife, which was a great binge option. I watched 6 seasons and am waiting for the seventh to hit Amazon streaming.
I’ve watched Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Doc Martin, all of which have additional episodes coming soon. I couldn’t get into Breaking Bad (too violent), but I’m investigating a couple of others right now so that I’m ready when Nurse Jackie ends.
By the way, there is some controversy about what constitutes “binge-watching.” Some say that watching two episodes or more at a time is bingeing. Others say that at least 4 episodes in a row is the magic number.
I think if you’re intently following a series and watch it at least a few times a week, you can probably be accused of bingeing. Mea culpa.
But am I a full-fledged addict?
There is a fairly common theme running through the articles and blogs about TV series bingeing. They say that it can interfere with real life, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. It can cut down on time with friends or family, isolate you from others, interfere with work productivity and generate feelings of guilt.
And, although it probably doesn’t lead to depression, it can be one of the warning signs.
I’m not depressed, and bingeing doesn’t seem to be keeping me from doing other things like spending time with Ray, playing golf, going out with friends or writing blogs. So, I don’t think I’m addicted – but of course, that’s what Nurse Jackie says!
I do, however, have one big guilt trip hanging over me related to my new habit.
I am reading fewer books.
I have always loved to read, especially fiction and biographies. Right now, I’m reading one of each, but it is taking me longer to finish them because of Netflix and Amazon.
Video bingeing is kind of seductive, but I definitely want to continue reading. Any suggestions, fabulous readers?