Every great story is driven by a powerful, unforgettable character. The success of the unforgettable character is to leave the audience asking questions, hoping there will be a sequel, or determined to binge-watch through the weekend.
Nurse Ratched Step-by-Step
“Ratched” reveals too much of Ratched. We want to know who she is, but better to be spoon-fed with the dopamine of “it’ll be clearer in the next scene — just keep watching…”, than to have it all coldly and clinically laid out for us in the first episode.
“One Who Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”, the 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson, left audiences gasping and begging for more — of Nurse Ratched. Then portrayed by Louise Fletcher who nearly stole the show, but rather complimented the powerful acting of Jack Nicholson.
Will We Watch the Next Episode?
Now, with the first episode of “Ratched” under our belts, we are left mumbling, confused and asking if something else is on TV tonight.
Now we Know
Sarah Paulson does a great job of being Nurse Mildred Ratched. She is convincing as a character, she is a terrible person who we too quickly get to know; her character is being revealed to us as we bounce along on a fast trip into the Hopper coloured corridors of the Oregon State Mental Hospital.
Her ways and means of manipulating the other nurses and doctors, and the hospital manager, seem plausible — for a psychopath. In the book and the film of “One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Nurse Ratched was not a psychopath, she was an unbelievably mean, sadistic person.
The original Nurse Ratched’s actions during the story show us that something terrible must have happened in her past to make her this way. The real Nurse Ratched creates so much tension for us, it’s unbearable. Even though we have no idea who she really is.
“Ratched” just spoils it for us; we quickly find out everything about her backstory, and the mystery that keeps an audience intrigued is ruined.
There are so many missed opportunities for great story telling in “Ratched”. To master the mystery of the audience’s “Why”, helps a writer drive a story on without telling them anything — and still keep them watching.
Please, Turn that Music Off!
Netflix’ Ratched, heavy on the melodramatic background music which soon becomes irritating, the garish attempt at creating modern art room sets. Bright green colours, squeaky clean passageways throughout the hospital, and each table, desk, and counter perfectly set to create a sense of a clinically dead environment.
It’s too much visual information and it’s constantly in shot. Our eyes become tired as they search every scene for some relaxing hidden chaos. It’s not there.
Conflict — the Heart of a Good Story
Conflicts abound between Ratched and each nurse, doctor or manager. She deals with each obstacle as it comes. A plan is clearly at hand as Ratched manipulates the hospital manager into doing and saying anything she wants him too.
Putting the Screws on
A chance discovery of misconduct of another nurse allows Ratched to bolster her position of strength and force her way into getting, more or less, anyone concerned to do her bidding. She immediately tightens the thumb screws, all round.
All too fast and unbelievable by now. As an audience, we are losing interest in any chance of a story as the inner critic and the itchy finger wants to change channels.
This first episode is definitely a decider for most viewers — probably to be careful about dedicating 55 Minutes of valuable lifetime to another garish display of hospital rooms and corridors dressed up in modern art, caricatures with puppet strings who jump when tugged at, and as we now know, a psychopathic nurse who will predictably do what we know she will do; manipulate people.