PluggedIn Staff

TV Series Review

It’s a drag to be a nurse at Mercy Hospital. Madness and mayhem follow these people around like shadows. Even to their favorite corner coffee shop. Can’t a girl get a morning cuppa joe without car crash victims needing her help? Name any horrifying accident or crime and it’s probably happened to some hapless bystander right around the time a Mercy nurse shows up.

To cope with such stress, nurses turn to significant others. But let me rephrase that: They turn to others’ significant others. Because if you’re tired of your partner, just cheat! The steamy, intoxicating chemicals of new romance will wash every problem away. And if they don’t, well, then there’s always binge drinking to fill the void. At the end of a long, violent, make out session-filled day, the corner dive awaits each Mercy staffer.

Did I say violent? There’s enough blood here to rival R-rated movies. Gunshot wounds and murders. Burglaries. And crazed ER patients making kindling of waiting room furniture and security guards alike.

It’s all in a day’s work, apparently, in Jersey City.

Within these negatives, of course, lurk a few positives. These nurses have grit. Veronica, a patient favorite, did a stint in Iraq and risks her life to save others. Sonia also tenderly cares for her charges, standing with them during the most challenging moments of their lives. Chloe grieves when she loses someone on her rounds. And these three friends have each other’s backs when things get tough professionally or romantically—which they always do.

Which brings me back to part of the reason they always do. The male doctors at Mercy seem too distracted and self-important to care much about patients or nurses. Is that because they’re just arrogant jerks? Or might it have something to do with the fact that it’s the female nurses who really rule the roost? The doctors supposedly have the training and the responsibility, but the nurses—especially Veronica—seem to know far more and end up calling most of the shots.

And I can only begin to hint at the damage these characters’ dissatisfaction with “average” does. An example: Sonia whines, “I’m living with this really great guy, and it’s like, ‘Game over.’ We’re gonna get married, have a bunch of babies, live on a cop and nurse’s salary for the rest of our lives, shopping at Costco, taking vacations at the shore, and then, finally, after 30 years, pay off the mortgage! Hooray!”

When did middle class domesticity become such a heinous fate? And when did TV medical dramas turn into such salacious soap operas? Oh yeah. About 16 years ago.

Episode Reviews

Mercy: 2102010

“I Have a Date”

Veronica has a first date with a new (cheating) doctor. Sonia cheats on her live-in by making out with a virtual stranger who does little more than tell her, “I think you’re great.”

Chloe is called the “butt whisperer” after she extracts a bowling pin from a patient’s anal cavity. (We see X-rays and the pin.) A paranoid parolee drinks his own urine when he finds out it’s going to toxicology. We see someone else’s stool sample. A transvestite prostitute talks about his “trade.” And a crazed man attacks everyone and everything in the ER, stabbing a security guard and leaving behind a gaping wound.

Beyond the genre’s now-prerequisite blood-soaked operation scenes, armed robbery triggers two deaths at a donut shop. (The robber shoots a clerk and Veronica shoots the robber—then leaves the scene of the crime.) We see gory bullet entrance and exit wounds which generate pools of blood.

Chloe gets seriously drunk and throws herself on a stranger at a bar. God’s name is misused a handful of times. There are several uses each of “b‑‑ch” and “a‑‑.” “H‑‑‑” and “d‑‑k” are each used once. “Freakin'” stands in for the f-word.

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