Credits where Credits Are (or Aren’t) Due: Why Nurse Jackie has the Worst Credits Sequence in Television

Credits where Credits Are (or Aren’t) Due:

Why Nurse Jackie has the Worst Credits Sequence in Television

January 3rd, 2010

When you write about television as much as I do, there are always ideas for posts floating around in your head – you get to the point where you can’t watch something without constructing a post around it, which can be somewhat daunting when you watch as much television as I do. However, through episode reviews and Twitter, most of those ideas get to the surface, which is usually enough to satiate my critical appetite enough to keep them from overpowering the rest of my life.

However, I don’t think I’ve ever quite said enough about one particular subject, because every time I think about it my blood figuratively boils. And so when Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall prompted a discussion on Twitter this afternoon about opening credits sequences (in particular the apparently quite good opening to FOX’s Human Target, debuting later this month), I knew it was finally the chance to discuss in further detail the degree to which I despise and loathe the opening credits sequence to Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.

And how, while I understand why Alan would lament the loss of the credits sequence to both supposed audience impatience and shorter running times, there are some shows where all the opening credits do is hearken back to an identity that the show is either no longer associated with or, worse yet, was never associated with to begin with.

Before I get to why Nurse Jackie’s opening credits are so categorically awful, I want to give you my criteria for a good title sequence. In my mind, opening credits should do one of three things (and, preferably, as many as possible within reason).

  • Set Mood or Tone
  • Provide a glimpse into the show’s world
  • Introduce characters

Now, it’s important to acknowledge that this is not an exact science where you need to do all three of these things in order to be successful – after all, some opening sequences (like Alias, for example) do none of these things but have such a catchy theme song that they become part of the show’s identity. Six Feet Under’s award-winning title sequence didn’t introduce a single character, but it so embodied the show’s dark and sombre world of death and dying that it remains imminently watchable as a chance for the viewer to prepare themselves emotionally for the episode that will follow.

Credits Sequence: Six Feet Under

Alan Ball is particularly strong with opening credits sequences, as the opening for True Blood (a great analysis of which went up late last year at Flow TV) sells its world so well that I desperately want him to abandon the characters he currently has and make a show that sticks more closely to the credits’ journey through the rise of vampires in the American South.

Credits Sequence: True Blood

There are no characters in the credits directly, but the credits so define the overall character of the show and its world that they become part of the text in and of themselves – Weeds is another example of this, where in its first three seasons the various covers of “Little Boxes” and the images of Suburbia became part of the show’s cultural phenomenon (although more on that in a bit).

Credits are, of course, capable of introducing characters. I think United States of Tara is an example of a credits sequence which, in its depiction of a pop-up version of Tara’s various personalities, manages to capture both each individual character which Toni Colette plays along with the sort of psychological examination that the show often focuses on (with the final shot being Tara returning to herself and waking up from what seems like a dream).

Credits Sequence: United States of Tara

It says a lot about who Tara is as a character, and what the show is interested in investigating. Similarly, Dexter has perhaps the most memorable credits sequence of the past five years, managing to set the mood and tone of the series while perfectly capturing Dexter’s character by finding the bloody and visceral in everyday rituals.

Credits Sequence: Dexter

But when we look at Nurse Jackie’s opening credits sequence, we see none of these things.

Credits Sequence: Nurse Jackie

You could technically argue that Nurse Jackie’s credits are almost identical to United States of Tara’s – they focus on the position of the show’s lead character, capturing Edie Falco’s Jackie as a woman who works as a nurse, who’s addicted to painkillers, who has a weird relationship with religion, and who is an adulteress. However, the problem is that the show is actually at its worst when it is about pretty much any of these things. The show is at its best when it finds the humanity beneath the adultery, or when it probes her addiction to painkillers more carefully. As opposed to showing any of those moments, the opening goes for blatant iconography: “Wedding Ring! Religious Paraphernalia! Pills!” And all the while, Edie Falco stands there looking bemused, lacking any sort of emotional connection with the symbols of her character’s most basic qualities floating around her.

The worst thing a credits sequence can do is feel like a plot reminder, as if it exists purely for the purpose of exposition. Once you’ve seen this introduction once, there is nothing more to see: no nuances to pick out, no emotional connection to make, and no mood that defines the show. Before watching the show’s pilot, the introduction might work in terms of raising questions about who Jackie is and what defines her. However, after the pilot our image of Jackie goes far beyond flying pills and wedding rings, and yet the credits sequence remains as a basic, bland pigeon-holing of her character. And considering that Jackie contains a heavy procedural component in terms of patients of the week and a wide range of supporting characters, it seems odd to so heavily focus on a single character (whereas Tara, by comparison, investigates all of its characters in terms of how their lives have been directly or indirectly influenced by her condition).

It doesn’t help that the theme song, while technically proficient as a piece of music (if not quite my taste), is ludicrously inappropriate for the show. When it’s quiet and contemplative I think it could potentially capture the way Jackie often exists in her own head to escape the madness around her (often through the use of drugs, of course), but when it suddenly turns into 70s porn music I don’t know what they’re trying to portray. The jazzy sort of sound seems totally misplaced unless we choose to accept it as a meta-commentary on the show’s tonal inconsistencies (mostly caused by the slapstick of Anna Deavere Smith’s character), but I don’t think they were quite that self-aware going into things, and more importantly I think that’s something the show should be downplaying.

Nurse Jackie’s opening credits capture a single character at a single point in time, ignoring any further development that character might have and failing to place her traits into any sort of context both in terms of mood (ruined by the theme music) and world (ruined by the white void which she inhabits which is never physically connected to home or hospital despite those two locations being so easily connect). It implies that Nurse Jackie is, and always will be, a show about a nurse with a drug addiction and an adultery problem, which is so reductive that it makes me dislike the show more every time I see it. Admittedly, I don’t particularly care for parts of the show to begin with, but I truly believe that a great theme song that better defined the show’s world would go far to giving me some confidence that the writers/creators understand their own show.

According to critics who have seen the first episodes of Season Two, this opening remains part of the show, which is such a terrible idea that I don’t entirely know where to begin. Shows have changed opening credits in the past, both for very complex reasons (like The Wire’s unique credit sequences for each season with different versions of the theme song and different images that would gain relevance as the season progressed – Andrew Dignan wrote a great analysis of those at The House Next Door) and for very practical reasons (like Weeds abandoning its Suburban credits when it, you know, left the suburbs). It’s one thing to seem like a plot reminder, but it’s another to seem like a plot reminder of parts of the show which have been moved past in the subsequent episodes. I feel as if Nurse Jackie should be past “drug-addicted adulterer” by this point, and yet the credits will continue to exist as a boring, unappealing reminder of a logline used to sell the network on the series but which fails to represent the series itself.

Not every opening title sequence needs to be complex. Mad Men’s credits sequence is a stylistic evocation of 1960s art and advertising depicting Don Draper falling into the cultural chaos that defined the decade, and it is both visually arresting and compelling; meanwhile, sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother have short theme song/image combinations which capture the basic premise of the show (Nerdy Sitcom and Friends Hanging Out Sitcom, respectively). And there are some sequences which have some of Nurse Jackie’s problems (I think Big Love’s is similarly a bit too “on the nose,” and I got lots of Twitter responses of people who have issues with Sex and the City, Entourage, and a few others), so I’m not suggesting that it’s the only opening credits sequence which needs some help.

However, I think it might be the only opening title sequence that I wish didn’t exist at all, and that I believe actively damages the show’s reputation every time I see it. I don’t think it’s a problem with the visual effects (according to the Youtube page, they shot the effects practically which is pretty cool) or the theme song composers themselves (who created something wrong, not something terrible, and likely based on what the producers wanted), but rather the producers who thought that it was ever a good idea to saddle a show that has the potential to offer a complex investigation of the human condition with an opening credits sequence without a hint of non-technical complexity.

Cultural Observations

  • It didn’t really fit into the focus of the piece, but the lack of credits (for the most part) on networks – where title cards are king – is always intriguing. As Alan pointed out on Twitter, Grey’s Anatomy used to have a full theme song and title credits, but it’s since evolved to a title card largely based on time restrictions (which don’t exist to the same extent on cable). The question is whether these sequences are part of what defines cable as “different” now when compared to networks, one component of a growing gap of quality in the eyes of many viewers. There’s a certain prestige to be found in a lengthy opening sequence, I think, and networks are missing that.
  • Entourage’s credits are thematically fine (a trip through L.A.’s night life), but their age is getting to the point of ridiculous: every time I see the billboard promoting the upcoming release of The Killer’s Hot Fuss, I have to wonder why they haven’t taken the time to reshoot them (considering the show is a big success and all, as much as that pains me).
  • It’s worth remarking that HBO, with its enormously long credits sequences, almost always places a chapter break after the opening on their DVDs, which indicates that they’re aware how often those sequences are skipped. And yet, despite this, I usually ended up watching the Six Feet Under openings when I went through on DVD, and the same goes for The Wire.
  • The Emmys actually have a category for this (Main Title Design), and past winners include United States of Tara, Mad Men, Dexter, and Six Feet Under – yet another Emmy The Wire should have won at some point.
  • As Noel points out on Twitter, other genres outside of comedy and drama (in particular anime) often switch up their titles more often to reflect more substantial changes. The same goes for reality series – Survivor uses different templates each and every season in order to keep fresh, while The Amazing Race changes up only the teams while keeping its imminently danceable theme song to inspire rewatches.
  • As always, I’m very curious to know your thoughts, so if you have any opinions regarding Nurse Jackie’s titles, or any other show’s titles (good or bad), please level them below!

Edit: As always, you forget some things with pieces like this, and multiple people (including Noel below) have pointed out how great Chuck’s credits are. Catchy Cake song, great cartoon version of James Bond scenarios – what’s not to love?

Opening Credits: Chuck

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “Credits where Credits Are (or Aren’t) Due: Why Nurse Jackie has the Worst Credits Sequence in Television

  1. renton

    Thanks for mentioning the Hot Fuss billboard in Entourage. That drives me up the wall.

    I like the opening credits for “Hung,” too… may be the first ever with nudity.

    • Sally Ho

      Have you ever had an addiction to pills? I bet not but sadly I have. I am not crazy about the music or her hair for that matter, but I think what they were going for was to let the viewer into the mind of the addict. Drugs have become the most important pert of her life ( which looks pretty great based on her husband).but I digress. She looks to me in a drug hazed stupor that she now needs to just feel “normal”. Her wedding ring, pearls, etc are floating representing how she sees them now that pills are most important. They are floating around and fine and they will be there for her to grab when she needs the. At the close of the sequence what do you see? A bottle of pills nice and neat and in order again as most important and she knows she can count on them so they need to be always available and she probably exactly how many are in the bottle too. Just another way to look at it thru the mind of a recovering addict.

  2. Well done, Myles. Note that Nurse Jackie’s sequence was produced by Imaginary Forces, which also made Mad Men and the excellent Chuck credits. Everyone has an off-day…

    • If I had to take a guess at it, I’d suggest they were either dealing with particularly restrictive notes from the network/producers or else they were so enraptured with the technical elements (the idea that everything was practical IS, as noted, impressive) that the content itself fell by the wayside.

  3. Amy

    Yet another reason I’m still bummed Journeyman got cancelled. I really loved the credits sequence, and that is pretty rare for me.

  4. I was kind of surprised that Chuck’s opening titles (http://is.gd/5L4fx) didn’t make your list of good ones. I’m tickled by its pop art approach to James Bond and would be sad to see them go.

    Also: What do you think about BSG’s title sequence? I know many people don’t like the mini-preview each episode (I’m not among those, considering it an amuse-bouche (or, I suppose, amuse-oeil) to the episode).

    • Fixing Chuck error now (it’s been so long since it was on the air, I forget about it – that won’t happen in a week’s time).

      As for BSG, I always skipped (or, more accurately, shut my eyes and went “La La La”) during the flashes – I don’t entirely dislike the idea of them, but they were never purposeful enough to feel like a dramatic technique, and thus seemed more like tiny spoilers that asked the audience to form premature expectations of the episode that could vary wildly based on each viewer and thus complicate the experience of each episode.

      • Joel

        Man, I hated the BSG credits for that exact reason – they always ruined the episode for me (Oh, Starbuck pulls a gun on the president. Twist now not-so-shocking).

        I have the same problem with most movie trailers that they show split-second fragments set to dramatic music. I always rearrange them in my head and piece together the individual scenes, thus constructing a loose plot outline and revealing many of the key scenes.

    • My main problem with BSG wasn’t with the Space: 1999-ing of the rest of the episode. It was with the music itself.

      McCreary’s score was so smart and adaptive, it was the rare score that evolved as much a show does. And so for Season One that song worked, every year after it just felt almost anachronistic.

  5. I think my favourite credits are Durham County – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6fovX5bvAo

    Has this wonderfully creepy atmosphere, I love the use of colour on black and white, and some of the clips are either taken directly from future episodes or they’re artistically or thematically re-shot versions of what happens, like the opening titles have their own interpretation of events. I may be looking more into it than what’s there, but I’ve always loved them.

  6. Great analysis! Although I disagree with you about Dexter (way too long and indulgent), I do agree with you about Nurse Jackie.

    True Blood is my favorite right now.

    On the networks, I wish they would of done more with House. I like the theme song (“Teardrop” by Massive Attack), the visuals aren’t great.

    • I actually rather like the visuals for it, but the nerd in me wishes they did pictures that matched up to the character’s medical specialty (I also wish Jacobson and Wilde would get their own title card already).

  7. inthemainstream

    You know, I loved watching Nurse Jackie last summer, but the title sequence bothered the crap out of me, though I didn’t know why. Thanks for putting that into words.

    What I really miss? (My friends and I discuss this often.) Awesome theme songs. Family Guy has one, but that’s about it. When I think about old sitcoms – Alice, One Day at a Time, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. forever – they all have fabulous songs attached. Just something I’ve noticed.

    Thanks again for this entry!

    -Amy

  8. Thepuffytaco

    I am love opening sequences. Even when watching shows on DVD, the entire sequence must be viewed.

    The title sequence gets me excited for the show and on the case of anime you had a series of images that give you a peak into the season that while the show progresses you are enlighted by their meaning. With anime each 25 or so episodes get a new theme… It is a shame that some shows never have one.

  9. I agree about Nurse Jackie, but I actually don’t like the True Blood opening credits. Not because they’re bad, but because they depict a different show than what True Blood is actually like. I’m not a fan of the show, but I would probably watch the show within those credits.

    On the network side, I think the music and images for the Bones opening credits are horribly mismatched with the show. Same with the Dollhouse music.

    • Yeah – I like the True Blood credits as an aesthetic piece, but they sell a fundamentally different (and better) show than what it actually is. Hence, they do too good a job.

      • I would watch the hell out of the show advertised in True Blood’s opening credits. Indeed, it looks like my favorite show of all time. I don’t like Six Feet Under as much as a lot of people, but at least that show’s credits (also exemplary) fit the show that followed.

  10. MNIS

    For me, Psych still has the best opening of any show. Perfect song, perfect clips.

    Sopranos, Parks and Rec, Fringe, and Dollhouse are also my favorites.

  11. thedemonhog

    The credits sequences for House and The Office are good or at least adequate, but why have they not updated them?

    Jennifer Morrison is not even on the show any more and the two new regulars are shafted every week.

    The Office is not as outdated, but it could use some tuning up, so that we do not have to see B.J. Novak’s long hair. Why do they not use the one that was produced for the Super Bowl, which featured the complete main cast in the same timeframe?

  12. Travis

    Great post. And I think it helps me understand why I dislike the Big Love credits as much as I do. They are very plot-tastic (four wives, cracks in the foundation, God [only knows]). They misrepresent the tone of the series. And the characters really don’t reveal anything about themselves at all in that sequence.

    Every time I watch the credits for The Wire or True Blood or even 30 Rock, I notice something new. That is NOT the case for Big Love — everything in the credits is on the surface.

    • I think my issue with the Big Love credits is that while they’re very pretty, and evocative of some key themes, they have no rewatch value: outside of a great song, it’s going to be the same thing every time. They’re not a bad credits sequence, but its longevity is extremely limited.

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  14. nigeltde

    Great post; credit sequences are one of my favourite things and a bad one* can be surprisingly frustrating.

    I’d say credit sequences need to:
    1. Link episodes across time and space to create a moment of recognition and expectation. (Location, location, location!)
    2. Introduce theme.
    3. Introduce tone.

    The dullest credits, to my mind, are those that attempt your third criterion, introducing character, and I wish people’d stop trying. It’s an expositional demand that would seem perfectly suited to montage but simply isn’t; you do a great job of dissecting just how NJ’s credits fall so disappointingly flat in this regard, and if I think of my favourite sequences, none of them even bother. Our favourite characters can’t be summed up by a couple of things, but our favourite shows can be summed up by a couple of themes.

    *Rome is my particular bug bear at the moment, but I don’t think Rome is as good as NJ, so it’s not as disappointing. Sons of Anarchy is another one, but I think that’s mostly because I don’t like the song.

    • I think a good introduction can capture character in small ways, offering not necessarily an introduction in the sense of NEW viewers but rather a brief reminder of who the characters are. I think The Office, for example, says a lot about Michael Scott’s character in that small little moment as he straightens his Dundee – it doesn’t feel like a big neon sign reminding us that Michael is extremely attached to his job, but it’s a nice subtle character beat that reminds you of one of Michael’s most important qualities. You’re right that it can be overdone, but I do think some strong openings offer a window into a particular character (Dexter is a good example of this – stylized, abstract, but nonetheless character-driven).

      And as I was discussing on Twitter, the Rome opening is one that I always, always skipped. However, I don’t think it’s so much a “bad” opening than it is a boring one: we are so familiar with the Ancient Roman setting from other pop cultural representations that the show’s attempt to find something new in that iconography proves pointless. I don’t think it’s poorly made, and it captures the setting in an adequate fashion, but it’s way too long to sit through when we could have effectively imagined it before the show even started.

      • nigeltde

        Yeah, I think I ran harder with “introduction” when reading your criteria than perhaps you intended, picturing at the dire end of the continuum the endless succession of headshot-actor’s name credits, rather than those sequences that employ moments of character that prompt our memory and empathy.

        I think Dexter and Dollhouse are good bedmates when trying to draw some lines here. Dexter as a character-focussed sequence works because it’s about who he (and by extension the show) is: the location of the gruesome in the sub/urban everyday, the violence of meticulous order, etc. Dollhouse is similarly character-focussed but tries to tell us a lot about itself via shots of Echo doing her thing, telling us not who she is but what she does, and these credits are, I would argue, pretty bad.

        I have technical as well as aesthetic and thematic issues with the Rome opening so I would argue it’s bad on all levels 😀

  15. Sam

    The Sons of Anarchy credits are pretty awful. Bad song, bad graphics…ugh. Bad enough that if I hadn’t heard so much praise for the program I probably would have switched it off before they were over.

    I’m a huge Wire (and Tom Waits) fan, but have never liked their opening credits. Maybe because music and quick cuts are used so sparingly in the actual show, the credit sequence just doesn’t set the tone at all for program, as far as I’m concerned. Something about it feels very 80’s cop drama to me. I appreciate Andrew Dignan’s argument that the images gain significance as the season goes on…but so what? I don’t want or need a CliffNotes slideshow summarizing the season’s themes at the top of each episode. The greatness of The Wire is that it respects the viewer enough to let us put those things together for ourselves.

    • nigeltde

      The Wire has one of my favourite series of edits ever, in the season 4 title sequence where it cuts from that push in on Snoop in the dark to all those circles spinning. Perfect.

      As much as I love SOA, “Ridin through this woooorld…” has become a shorthand signifier for cheese in my circle of friends.

    • I dunno, I really like the song chosen for Sons of Anarchy, it evokes a lot of the spirit of the show. The credits themselves are so-so, a lot longer than they need to be imo.

      • I like the song too (and it was actually the song *written* for the show by Kurt Sutter), but agree the credits could perhaps be a bit shorter. However, I like the way each individual actor gets an iconic image without seeming too blatant, and while it’s impossible to avoid a twangy accent when saying the song’s first line I think it’s something that we REMEMBER the first line like we do.

        • Sam

          songs (with lyrics) written expressly for a show are ALWAYS cheesy. that’s ok in a comedy (e.g. the awesome fresh prince of bel air theme, and even in shows like friends or boy meets world, the lameness of the custom theme is at least matched by the content of the program), but it just seems silly for a serious show.

          i’m having a hard time thinking of a drama besides SoA that has even tried to pull off a theme with lyrics written about the show itself. even M*A*S*H* (not really a drama, but at least a comedy with some dramatic elements) had the sense to use an instrumental version of the song written for the movie.

          are there any other drama themes with lyrics written for the show? are any of them good?

          • Kales

            Firefly…. not that it lasted very long unfortunately. I’m a huge fan but I will admit that the opening credits are really, really cheesy. Joss Whedon wrote the lyrics for the show.

  16. Very good analysis, I love all the Showtime openings except for Nurse Jackie’s. I don’t know how it came out so badly.
    Another one I really loved was The Riches opening.
    And although at first I loved it, the Rome opening started to really annoy me after a while, same with the Carnivale credits.
    I’m only on season one of The Wire, but I tend to skip it every time. It’s just too long and dull. I’m glad to hear that they change it a little in the other seasons.

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  18. mck

    Unaware of the conversation between Sepinwall and Fienber, I tweeted last night about the god awful credit sequence belonging to Firefly. I’m sure some would compare it to Battlestar Galactica’s, but the music and preview of the episode (I didn’t realize how much I liked the preview until they temporarily took it away) is what makes me love it. Firefly’s opening is just so corny.

  19. I have to say one thing I adore about the Chuck theme. The full song from Cake (Short Skirt/Long Jacket) just seems to speak out about one of the themes in show – wanting
    “that” girl.

    For those of you who haven’t heard it:

    And man, that guitar hook, it’s amazing – it just screams SPY MOVIE!

  20. The opening credits (credit?) to Lost are almost a perfect distillation of the show’s spooky mysterious vibe. Even if there hadn’t been a push towards ten-second credits sequences, I get the feeling Lost’s might not have been any different.

  21. Kate

    I have despised these credits from the first time I saw the show and am pleased to see that I’m not alone. After reading this, I can put reason to my feelings.

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  23. jackie

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I LOVE Nurse Jackie credits. I find them serene and beautiful, exactly what she wishes her life were, and filmed in a slo-mo dreamlike (stoned) state. I think they’re great.

  24. morda898

    Firefly has the BEST theme song. All of Joss Whedon’s themes are awesome (IMO) although Dollhouse’s is certainly the least effective. But who can argue with the Buffy theme. Come on.

    On a similar note, what about The X-Files. Or Twin Peaks. Or The Sopranos. Or even the West Wing. They were all awesome.

    And don’t forget Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier and pretty much all the animated sit-coms.

  25. Pingback: 5 Shows That Need New Opening Credits « Staying In

  26. e

    I actually love the opening credits for nurse jackie! I was looking for the composer of the music when I found this site. I think it conveys perfectly how she’s sort of detached from real life…I know it may be too literal for some but I like it’s simplicity. C’mon, is it the worst opening sequence? I love the music…it totally sets the tone and then gets bad-ass into the funk which is totally Jackie’s character as well; unexpected. It’s halcyon dreams and (surprise!) tough as shit.

  27. Jackie Fan

    Bravo!!! A fantastic drilling down into Nurse Jackie’s opening sequence.
    I LOVE the show but the opening sequence is just AWFUL. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that it feels like the titles to the pilot episode – trying to sell the basic concept to the network bigwigs – that then just got left in there. DRUGS, ADULTERY, NURSES, GOD!!! It always feels like it should end “Coming soon on The WB!”.
    The music is just wrong & there is one part with the chime sounds where we always sing along “Why are the titles SO BAAAAAAD!!!!?”.
    We are currently suffering through the 5th season of these credits.
    As Bunk from ‘The Wire’ would say, “Thats some shameful sh*t!”.

  28. Fireweed

    I need to respectfully disagree. I see the opening sequence as Jackie’s fantasy of how her addiction will help her. She just opens the medicine cabinet and all the separate elements of her life just float into place right where she needs them. Coffee spills but flies right back into the cup. Her necklace fastens itself around her neck, and her stethoscope, without her having to work for her work, her faith. This is the illusion that pills make possible for her, and all she has to do is stand in that illusion and love it.

    • Jen

      Yes! This is how I feel. I even just made a comment very similar to yours, so I wrote mine with the wordiness of a dang novel. LOL… thank you for your Insight, as I feel very similarly about the topic! Nurse Jackie opening scene makes perfect sense to me too. The most honest opening credits I’ve ever seen.

  29. Jennifer

    I love the opening sequence to Nurse Jackie. I think the reason that they “zoom in,” so to speak, on the flaws of the character – while she has a smile on her face – is to show that she goes about these negative activities and behaviors in her life without necessarily seeing them as negative. She’s just trying to get by, to survive, to enjoy something — anything. She thinks she’s happy, but that’s the pills talking. She thinks she has everything under control, but that’s the pills talking. Anyone who’s ever been addicted can totally identify with how nonchalantly the credits highlight these aspects of this character. But you’re right that there’s much more to the show… much deeper messages to be absorbed… But I have to say that the opening credits to ‘Nurse Jackie’ are probably my favorite opening credits to any series in the last 20 years. In fact, Netflix prefers to start each episode after the credits, when its viewer is binging (as I am!), but I manually “rewind” each episode to the beginning of the opening sequence. It’s THAT important to me.

    From the dreamy musical intro and lighting… and the seemingly blissful appearance of Jackie (thanks, opiates!) amidst all her downfalls… to the then-funky-trippy musical progression… as everything “falls into place” on her person….

    This is as honest an opening scene can get. I do appreciate your overall view points, but I don’t think you have seen the opening credits from the perspective of someone who has been through most (or even some) of the things that our “heroine” has.

    Just my 2 cents. No disrespect!

    Jen

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