Update: A Press Release has confirmed a debut Date! GETTING ON launches its six-episode second season SUNDAY, NOV. 9 (10:30-11:00 p.m.). From creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, the series follows the daily lives of nurses and doctors as they struggle with the darkly comic realities of caring for the elderly in an overwhelmed healthcare system, skewering the petty bureaucracies of modern medical practice in America. Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash and Mel Rodriguez star. This HBOWatch writer will review Season Two.
From creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, co-creators of the acclaimed BIG LOVE series, GETTING ON returns for its six-episode second season this November on HBO. For those not familiar with GETTING ON seek it out on HBOGo; hit the link and get caught up and/or read the following.
A recent Press Release reminds us about the plot and cast.
At the Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit of Mt. Palms Hospital in Long Beach, Cal., the staff attends to the needs of female patients who are often “getting on” in years, while dealing with the challenges of a health-care bureaucracy in need of an overhaul. Even as they attempt to serve their charges under less-than-ideal circumstances, the lives of this ragtag crew are complicated by conflicting agendas, both professional and personal. Blending outrageous humor with unexpected moments of tenderness, the critically-acclaimed show follows the daily lives of nurses and doctors as they struggle with the darkly comic realities of caring for the elderly in an overwhelmed healthcare system, skewering the petty bureaucracies of modern medical practice in America.
Cast regulars on the show include: Laurie Metcalf (three Emmys for Roseanne) as Dr. Jenna James, who once hoped to become a medical-research star, but has instead been sentenced to purgatory at the facility; Alex Borstein (Family Guy) as Nurse Dawn, whose personal shortcomings and obsession with finding a boyfriend undermine her need to excel in her job; Niecy Nash (Reno 911!) as Nurse DiDi, whose easy rapport with patients should be an example to her superiors, but isn’t; and Mel Rodriguez (Community) as Patsy De La Serda, a reform-minded supervising nurse of ambiguous sexuality.
GETTING ON is executive produced by Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer under their Anima Sola Productions Banner, Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner of BBC Worldwide Productions and others. Olsen (pictured on far left) and Scheffer (second from right on panel), during the recent Televison Critic Association event, were asked about their show and HBO’s lackadaisical approach to the series. Deadline had a good take on it. They quote Olsen as saying that it did look like the lack of promotion for the show “created a narrative we were being dumped there. We’re a … tiny show, unlike any other show on HBO; a guerrilla show. We were always going to come in under the radar.”
That explains why it wasn’t renewed for a Season Two right away. HBO was not treating the show seriously enough. DOLL & EM was treated the same way. Well, in November the sophomore season does come to fruition. Here is a quick glance of the plot lines for the show’s return:
Season two finds Dr. James on a research binge, measuring anal-genital distances of her geriatric population, as well as of lab rats, while promoting the ward’s hospice program to bring in extra cash. Nurse Didi wants a raise, which ultimately sweeps her up into Dr. James’ mad, mad research world. Nurse Dawn is spinning ever onward toward being the best not-so-good nurse in the history of television as she continues to try and bag co-worker Patsy. Meanwhile, Patsy has a new lean, green program to save money and make the ward more energy-efficient, which is driving everyone crazy.
One person quite happy to promote the show is Niecy Nash. She did so recently with the TVLINE site. Head over there for the full interview, but here are some excerpts.
TVLINE: You had the very first line of the pilot, about the “feces” in the lounge. That was quite a way to meet Didi.
Niecy Nash: “There’s a turd on the chair in the lounge,” yes. [Laughs] It was a very interesting way to meet Didi. Because she stands so fully in her truth, and because she’s so utterly simple and can be taken at face value, I just thought it was delicious.
TL: Was that in any way a relief for you, getting to tone down your look and focus on the work?
NN: Not at first. We were all horrified. They take you out of your makeup, they put you — my character, at least — in a pink bag, they put you under the worst lighting God ever created and they put a camera right to your face. So I was a little nervous, and I was very much in my head about how horrible I thought I looked. Then we were joking around on set, saying, “If we’re lucky, we’ll all be on the cover of a magazine, and the caption will read, ‘These brave women.’” [Laughs] In Hollywood, they tell you you have to look pretty and you have to be dolled up, and this is everything but that. So after I wrapped my mind around this being such an unglamorous thing to do, I became a lot more comfortable. HBO put us through a two-week boot camp where we served the elderly and followed nurses around their shifts. Some of it was very unpretty, so it made sense.
TL: Speaking of “unpretty” situations, did you ever imagine Oscar nominee June Squibb would be puking on you and calling you a “fat dyke”?
NN: Did I ever imagine it? No. Did I love every minute of it? Yes. I told her, “You are the meanest, nicest lady I’ve ever met.” She plays mean so very well, but is the sweetest. … And she’s absolutely brilliant, so I wasn’t surprised at all [when she was nominated for an Oscar.] Some of that stuff she said to me, she said, “I’ve never had a conversation with another human being in which those words were ever spoken.” It was just delicious to be a part of something where everyone was so committed. She was just an absolute joy to work with and to watch. There was no one take that was like another.
TL: I find myself re-watching the “Language Barrier” scene surprisingly often. Did you have a favorite moment like that?
NN: You know what, that has to be one of my favorite moments. And what’s interesting about that scene is that it’s the first scene we shot. And what I think is equally delicious is that we didn’t know what the woman, who was speaking Cambodian, was going to say. So I didn’t know how Alex was going to interpret what she said, and she didn’t know how I was going to relay that message to the man on the phone. It was, to me, comedy at its finest. You have these women, and neither of them know what the other one is going to say or how they’re going to say it, but you’re trusting that they’ll deliver it in a way that’s not only believable, but funny as well. That was just a gift.
For me she’s the best part of the show and I look forward to seeing her and all her cohorts again in Season Two. As I did with Season One I will be reviewing all the episodes of GETTING ON for HBOWatch coming in November. It is one of the hidden gems on HBO!