Nurses” begins its third season with two former regulars missing in action and a new topliner who’s been getting an inordinate amount of publicity unrelated to the show. Still, fans shouldn’t have any problem recognizing the program.
When the episode opens, original cast member Stephanie Hodge and last year’s Marcus Flanagan have hit the road without explanation, and the Community Medical Center has been purchased by a conglomerate. Otherwise, things seem to be proceeding as normal when patient Casey McAfee (Loni Anderson) appears. Cranky and picky, she accuses most of the staff of malingering, and arouses the lust of Jack Trenton (David Rasche), whom she immediately spots as an inside-trader fulfilling a community service sentence.
In the meantime, nurse Gina Cuevas (Ada Maris) is extremely pregnant, courtesy of Dr. Hank Kaplan (Kip Gilman), who’s less than enthusiastic about owning up to the situation.
McAfee turns out to be an inspector for the hospital’s new owner, which throws the nurses — many of whom are malingering, from all appearances — into a tizzy. And then — will the hilarity ever stop? — McAfee, who was planning to leave in two days, is named hospital administrator by corporate topper Cooley Waits (Leslie Jordan). Show is played broadly under Gilbert Junger’s direction, and Anderson fits in nicely as the prim McAfee, who (like Jennifer Marlowe in “WKRP in Cincinnati”) can spot a prospective sugar daddy from a mile away.
Into that category falls Dr. Harry Weston (Richard Mulligan, stepping over from “Empty Nest”), whose first reaction to the stupefying Anderson is, “Wow! That’s some nose!”
Jordan’s portrayal of Ross Perot-like Waits may be the episode’s high spot, and vet comic actor Sid Melton contributes a funny two-line bit as an aging patient who stumbles into McAfee.