Nurse Ratched Season 1 Review: Why Are People Hating On This Series So Much? - GMonsterTV

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Nurse Ratched Season 1 Review: Why Are People Hating On This Series So Much?

"Nurse Ratched" is currently available on NetFlix. The series was created by Evan Romansky and developed by Ryan Murphy. This is Murphy's third collaboration with the streaming giant-- the first being "The Politician" and the second "Hollywood". Of course there are lots of other Murphy shows that eventually made it to NetFlix including: "American Horror Story", "Pose", "American Crime Story", "Feud", "Glee", etc. This series features one of Murphy's favorite muses-- Sarah Paulson. Also starring are a number of other actresses of "a certain age"-- Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, Judy Davis and Amanda Plummer. The show is listed on Rotten Tomatoes at 60% by critics and 73% by audiences. MetaCritics has it at 49% by critics and 6 (out of 10) by audiences. I'm going to go out on a limb and say "Nurse Ratched" is not nearly as bad as the haters would have you believe. 

The Nurse Ratched character was made famous in the movie "One Few Over The Cuckoo's Nest". Louise Fletcher won a Best Actress Oscar in 1975 for her portrayal of the terrifying nurse.  Viewers of the new series may be disappointed if they're looking for something that closely aligns with the film. This is NOT the story of Fletcher's role in the medical industrial complex. It also doesnt explore her motivation for mistreating the men in her charge. Instead, think of this as a "Nurse Ratched inspired" melodrama.  

The series opens in 1947. A man (we later learn his name is Edmund Tolleson-- played by Finn Wittrock) brutally attacks four priests. He says one of the priests got his mother (a nun at the time) pregnant and he's there to seek revenge. Of course, Edmund is captured and eventually sent to California's Lucia State Hospital. Mildred Ratchet is able to get on staff there thanks to her ability to manipulate the hospital administrator Dr Hanover. 

We dont know why Mildred is so anxious to work there and her connection to Edmund until later in the series. Mildred immediately tangles with head nurse Betsy Bucket (Judy Davis). There is no love lost between the two (especially after Betsy eats the peach Mildred brought for lunch). Too funny! 

There are a number of other story lines. California governor George Willburn (Vincent D"Onofrio) wants his press secretary/ campaign manager Gwendolyn Briggs (Cynthia Nixon) to advise him on how to deal with Edmund's sentence. Should he push for the death penalty or does he believe that Tollever is mentally ill and can be cured? Willburn really doesnt care which as long as he can use the situation to his political advantage. Despite Dr Hanover (played by Jon Jon Briones) being a drug addict he seems to genuinely care about his patients and does his best to help him. Too bad it's with such misguided treatments as icepick lobotomies and hot/cold baths. 

A rich socialite Lenor Osgood (Sharon Stone) with a pet monkey named Petunia wants Dr Hanover dead. His treatment of her son didnt work so well. She hires a PI/ hit man named Charles Wainwright (Cory Stoll) for the job. He happens to be staying in the same sea side motel as Mildred. The two have a strange (and short lived) relationship. Louise (Amanda Plummer) is a very nosy motel manager. It's hard to get anything past her.  

One of the main focuses of "Nurse Ratched" is the relationship between the main character and Gwen Briggs.  They meet thanks to the governor's visits to Lucia State. Gwendolyn invites Mildred out for a ride and dinner She takes her to a womens bar (which causes Mildred to freak out and run away). It's the 1940s after all. There are several people institutionalized at the hospital for being gay. They are subjected to horrific treatment under the guise of therapy. Mildred and male nurse Huck break the two women out, give them money and send them to the train station so they can escape their oppressive lives. After much soul searching, Mildred eventually confesses that she does have feelings for Gwen. Kudos to Cynthia Nixon for her sensitive and sympathetic portrayal. These two kids are  probably NOT going to live happily ever (but I can always hope). 

Judy Davis is also not getting enough credit for her role as Betsy Bucket. She is delightfully weird. Even the way she stands is funny. I would definitely watch a spinoff with just her and Louis getting into trouble.   

Grade: 4 1/2 Monsters (out of 5). Despite the negative press, "Nurse Ratched" is not as bad as you've heard. The show is not perfect by any stretch but has enough going for it to keep me coming back. There are a number of powerhouse actors in the series-- Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, Judy Davis and Amanda Plummer. I'm glad Paulson got to stretch her acting chops this time around by doing something other that screaming and being tortured (as is typically her fate). Sure the series follows the typical Ryan Murphy "formula". There are times when the eight episodes move pretty slowly but then there are also some truly great scenes. 

My suggestion is to go into the series without any expectations. Those who are looking for a strict interpretation of the character from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Next" will be disappointed. This Nurse Ratchet backstory is more of a soapy melodrama. The series humanizes the character and even makes you root for her--despite the fact that she's done some really horrible things (including a few murders).  

Say what you want about the plot but few can argue with its technical greatness. I think the show is worth watching just for the visuals. The color palette is at times green or red. The costumes are gorgeous. The 1940s set pieces are all beautiful. The show's musical score reminds me of Bernard Hermann's work. It invokes memories of "Psycho" and "Vertigo".  

Murphy and company envisioned the story to unfold over several seasons. There will at least be a season 2 (since NetFlix ordered two up front). I'll definitely be watching. I'm interested to see what happens to Mildred in the next chapter. 

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TV: Heavy On Horror, Sci Fi, Fantasy & Adventure

September 27, 2020  
Nurse Ratched Season 1 Review: Why Are People Hating On This Series So Much? Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 6:31 PM Rating: 5 "Nurse Ratched" is currently available on NetFlix. The series was created by Evan Romansky and developed by Ryan Murphy. This is M...

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