New nurses sitcom features Christine Ebersole as a sassy head lady-in-white in a Nebraska hospital, with “Rachel Gunn R.N.” actors flicking their not-so-funny lines to the wings in approved summer stock fashion. Lordy, Ebersole wins applause on her upstage entry; even Julie Andrews didn’t merit that.
Gunn’s able-bodied, attractive and flippant as she plays to subordinates and against divorced Dr. David Dunkle (Kevin Conroy) in what’s bound to be a running feud between them. But writer Kathleen Green arms Gunn and staff with blatant lines and tired situations aimed at reaping laughs; they mostly miss.
Second-string players include Megan Mullally as zippy young nurse Becky Jo; Bryan Brightcloud as an American Indian nurse supposedly the butt of lots of knee-slapping Indian gags; Kathleen Mitchell as Sister Joan, who’s not too bright; Lois Foraker as a dietician who adores junk food; Dane Grey as an orderly who’s involved in something obscene with a potato.
Gunn owns a duplex she rents to nemesis Dunkle before she learns that handsome hunk Thor (Timothy J. Wrightman) is seeking a place to hang his muscles. Trying to renege on her agreement with Dunkle, Gunn finds herself with the short end of the deal.
Innuendoes, muscles and Indian jokes and medical one-liners pass unabashedly through Green’s thin script in which Thor’s banished from the storyline on the weakest of excuses. John Whitesell has directed the determinedly cheerful first of 13 programs with community theater results; for summer, it should earn its own way.