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"I'm a nurse. And Tony was a waste management consultant." - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
"I'm a nurse. And Tony was a waste management consultant."
When we started watching Nurse Jackie six seasons ago, it was striking how different a character Edie Falco was playing compared to her saintly, supportive Carmela Soprano over on that OTHER premium cable network. Jacks was tough. Independent. Resourceful. Funny. An anti-hero that still won the hearts of everybody both in her fictional world and out here on the other side of the fourth wall.

Last night, after watching next Sunday's rough halfway point of the sixth season (it's an On-Demand thing), I finally realized the extent to which Edie has left Carm in the dust:

Jackie Peyton is Tony Soprano.

Both, first and foremost, are criminals. Jacks has never whacked anyone that I can remember, but then Tone did very little of that, either, during his run on the air.  (He's got people to do that for him- and, arguably, so does she, with the likes of Dr. Roman around.) But both flout the bounds of the law with near-complete impunity, getting what they want, when and how they want it, with little risk of repercussion. Tony, because of their tony address in the Jersey burbs and the Family lawyers on retainer; Jackie, the same result, through the near-saintly status of her scrubs.

Both commit adultery on a regularly scheduled basis, and suffer few consequences for these affairs, in their own minds or with others. (Ironically, the only time Carm even came close to cuckholding Tony was her dalliance with a New Jersey priest, played by the same actor that does Eddie- who has more than once done Jackie- on her new show.)  Both, in her case as recently as next Sunday night (this does get confusing), can roll out of the rack and head right into the next real-life relationship without blinking an eye.

Each has an entourage of loyal, quirky consiglieres and soldiers. Zoey is Jackie's Sil (as O'Hara kinda was before the actress's departure). Gloria, her Paulie.  Coop provides the comic relief of Bobby and Uncle Jun.  Villains from corporate ownership replace villains from rival families, but the dynamics are largely the same.

Each features an emotional valve for the true feelings of the principals. For Tony, it's the near-weekly sessions with Shrink Melfi. Jacks does it through the almost-as-frequent scenes of her meetings, and rehabs, and solitary sittings in the All Saints Chapel.  Half the time I check to see if the Buddy Christ statue in the hospital hallway is wearing a Members Only jacket and getting ready to whack her.

Both have two basically dysfunctional but prescient kids. Grace sees through the mirage just like Meadow did, but I bet she can't parallel park for shit, either.

The Sopranos lasted six seasons before ending, in the minds of most viewers (including this one) in an utterly unsatisfactory manner. Nurse Jackie is in the clubhouse turn of its Season Six and has already been renewed for a seventh. If this ends with a poker game at the Peyton house where everything suddenly goes black, I will be seriously displeased.
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