USA, NBC (Witt-Thomas-Harris Productions/Touchstone Television), Sitcom, Colour, 1991
Starring: Stephanie Hodge, Arnetia Walker, Mary Jo Keenen
A female-led ensemble comedy, set in the Miami Community Medical Center - the third sitcom from Susan Harris to be based in this Florida city (the others being The Golden Girls and Empty Nest). The series examined the working lives of a group of nurses-with-attitude and, as with The Golden Girls, made verbal exchanges, rather than physical comedy, the focus of the humour. The five-strong nursing team comprised four women and one man: Sandy, a throaty-voiced, world-weary divorcee; Annie, a wife and mother harassed both at home and at work; Gina, a virginal, sharp-tongued Latin American immigrant; Julie, a naive, multi-phobic new arrival; and Greg, a slightly unhinged, anti-authoritarian male.
The relationship and rapport between this quintet formed the fulcrum of the series, with frank discussions about sex lives (a Susan Harris speciality) providing the basis of much of the humour. The nurses' antagonism towards the arrogant and mostly incompetent staff doctors (with the exception of the hard working Dr Kaplan) was also a constant factor in the storylines. In later seasons the comedy character actors David Rasche (from Sledge Hammer!) and Loni Anderson (WKRP In Cincinnati) were added to the cast, the former as a convicted embezzler, Jack Trenton, performing community service at the Medical Center, the latter as hospital administrator Casey MacAfee.
By Susan Harris's high standards, Nurses was fairly mediocre fare, but it certainly had good moments and, typically for one of her creations, did not shirk from facing up to adult topics. Harris's constant determination to give women a strong yet emotional voice, and allow women space and time to deal with subjects of a sensitive (some may think non-comedic) nature, makes her the US equivalent of the British writer Carla Lane.
Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.
Stephanie Hodge - Nurse Sandy Miller (1991-93)
Arnetia Walker - Nurse Annie Roland
Mary Jo Keenen - Nurse Julie Milbury
Ada Maris - Gina Cuevas
Carlos LaCamara - Paco Ortiz
Jeff Altman - Greg Vincent (1991-92)
Kenneth David Gilman - Dr Hank Kaplan
Markus Flanagan - Nurse Luke
David Rasche - Jack Trenton (1992-94)
Loni Anderson - Casey MacAfee (1993-94)
Susan Harris - Creator
Susan Harris - Writer and others
Terry Hughes - Director and others
Paul Junger Witt - Executive Producer
Tony Thomas - Executive Producer
Susan Harris - Executive Producer
Nina Feinberg - Producer and others
Number of episodes: 68
Length: 30 mins
US dates: 14 Sep 1991-7 May 1994
UK dates: 28 Aug 1992-7 May 1996 (68 episodes) C4 Fri 10pm then Tue around 12 midnight
The information in the bbc.co.uk Guide to Comedy is complied from 'The Radio Times Guide to Television Comedy' by Mark Lewisohn, published by BBC Books. More information about the book is available from the BBC Shop.
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Reviews supplied by Radio Times © 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.
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