Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius dish on Jackie and O’Hara’s close friendship

On Saturday at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Nurse Jackie creators Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius were present for a panel for the upcoming PBS documentary series America In Prime Time. The four-part series, which airs in October, looks at four different archetypes of television including “Man Of The House,” “The Crusader,” “The Misfit” and “The Independent Woman.”

In the “Independent Woman” segment, Wallem and Brixius talk about how the television housewife has transformed from model housewives (think June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver) to the complex and sometimes controversial women like Rosanne Barr in Roseanne, Candice Bergen in Murphy Brown and, of course, Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.

Post-panel, grabbed a few minutes with Wallem and Brixius to see if there was anything gay included in the documentary and, of course, if they had any scoop on the forthcoming fourth season of Nurse Jackie, which they said they are already working on. I know there are specific archetypes in the documentary but are the gays anywhere in there?
Linda Wallem:
 That’s something I would tell them to do next time and we were also talking about this season and what we’re going to do [on Nurse Jackie] because it is a part of the fabric of our show. How cool if the next time they do this that this will be a part of a special like this. It’s funny, we were just talking about this, how the gay characters have gone to more of a fabric of what we do. We always talk about patient stories and people just being gay but there are a lot of other things going on. That isn’t a part of this but I hope maybe they will do this.

Liz Brixius: Let me tell you something, it’s better than gay and let me tell you what it is. We used to say in various interviews, Linda and I, that this show is really a love triangle between Jackie, O’Hara and Zoey but particularly Jackie and O’Hara. If anything goes wrong between the two of them, we’re heartbroken. We can handle it when she’s fighting with her husband, we can handle it when she’s fighting with Eddie, but we don’t like it when she’s fighting with O’Hara. That’s just completely aside.

In this special, Shonda Rhimes says “This whole series – Grey’s Anatomy – is a love story between Meredith and Sandra Oh’s character [Christina].” It’s love. It’s not gay, straight or anything like that. It’s love. That’s a straight woman talking about the love of two straight women. It’s a love story. Jackie and O’Hara? That’s a love story.

AE: When Jackie and O’Hara were having their issues this past season it really bothered me.
And they’ll have them this year. It’s a real love story. It’s not that it’s a sexualized story. It’s a love story. It’s for real and they talk about that in the documentary.

AE: We went from a Will & Grace-era where things were more gay-centric and now with shows like Nurse Jackie and Modern Family, the gay presence is more blended in with everything. Do you think that’s the progression?
I hope so but I would like to go there and do a show that is even more gay-centric.

AE: Would Jackie ever have a gay relationship, either with O’Hara, who is a lesbian, or with someone else?
Do you know what? We always say that the love story in the show is between O’Hara and Jackie and there’s a couple of lines you’re going to see this season that will make you go “Maybe they’ve never — but there is something…” It’s a good question.

LB: She’s got so many bigger fish to fry right now the last thing she wants is another relationship. That’s a very big, responsible relationship that she’s dealing with right now.

AE: Well, we know Jackie likes to cross every line she comes up to.
And we’re going somewhere interesting this year with some stuff. Stay tuned!

The new season of Nurse Jackie kicks off in 2012.