Showtime's Nurse Jackie could be the gayest thing on TV right now. No, star Edie Falco (Carmela on The Sopranos) is not lesbian, although her new haircut is. With two out lesbian executive producers, Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem, another out lesbian writing team, Nancy Fichman and Jennifer Hoppe, and one other writer with a lesbian mom, however, the stage was set for some gay goodness.
Nurse Jackie delivers. Series regular Mo-Mo (Haaz Sleiman) is a gay Muslim nurse and Jackie's close friend. Nurse Thor has a smaller part, but adds some bearish aesthetic to the mix.
In the season's sixth episode, however, they let out all the stops with veteran actors Blythe Danner and Swoosie Kurtz guest starring as the two moms of Dr. Fitch "Coop" Cooper (Peter Facinelli). Yes, that's right, folks. A television depiction of lesbian moms that doesn't involve one of them trying to get pregnant. A refreshing and overdue change. After the jump, a small sample:
That's only the beginning, however. The episode continues with a great conversation between Dr. Cooper and his mom Leslie (Kurtz) about being teased in school and the tensions felt by bio and non-bio moms. I have a longer piece coming out in my regular Mombian newspaper column that dissects the episode, so I won't go into it here. (I'll post a link when available). Suffice it to say they handle it well, staying true to the characters and making their points about lesbian families without being pedantic.
For those of us wanting more of Danner and Kurtz on the show, there may be hope. Writer Jennifer Hoppe mentioned in an early June interview that the series has two regular gay characters (Mo-Mo and Thor) as well as "another two who will be guests and will most likely recur."
Furthermore, Facinelli was asked if Danner and Kurtz would return, and replied: "Not this season, but I only hope that they bring them back because they were so much fun to play off of, and they are great actors and great people."
He also says that one of his character's quirks may relate to his parents, which I think bodes well for them to show up in a future episode: "I think the nervous tick, the sexual Tourette's, comes from my two mothers, and not because they are lesbian moms, but of who the lesbian moms are because of their relationship and because of who those characters are. That's why I think he developed such a nervous tick growing up."
Yes! Lesbianism as only incidental to other character traits and plot points! Children of lesbian parents who grow up with as many odd habits as anyone else, because parenting is parenting and nobody's perfect. That's progress, folks.