disease and decay aren’t necessarily the stuff of comedy, but the new pay- TV series Getting On pulls off the miraculous feat of mining a fair few blackly funny laughs from the material nevertheless.
An American adaptation of the acclaimed BBC series, it follows the daily lives of the rag- tag staff tending to the elderly patients of a California hospital’s extended- care ward, with bed pans, bad attitudes and bureaucratic red tape just some of the obstacles the ward’s nurses and administrators must overcome.
Among the staff is veteran nurse Dawn Forchette, whose dedication to her patients is matched only by her dysfunctional approach to relationships of all kinds. She’s played by Alex Borstein, perhaps best known to viewers as the voice of Family Guy’s long- suffering Lois Griffin, and she spoke about the show and her character.
Alex, how would you describe Dawn Forchette?
She is so complicated she’s hard to describe. She is very capable in the workplace and likes to be the queen of her domain.
Her heart is completely in her job, partly because she is terrified of ending up like a lot of them. But when it comes to dating or looking for a man, she is somewhat mental – she has never really blossomed in those areas of life.
Were you familiar with the UK version of
before getting on board the American one?
Getting Yes, and I loved it. It was this weird, winding road that led me to getting to play Dawn Forchette. I was writing on the US version of Shameless, and I met the creator of the show, Paul Abbott, with whom I then started to develop a US version of another British show of his, Linda Green. Because of that, I got to know the people at BBC America too. It really was this amazing turn of events: because of my meeting Paul, because of my knowing the folks at the BBC, they wanted me for this.
Does the US version of the show delve into any issues facing America’s healthcare system?
It is one of the things that creeps into the show. Even if we say we don’t want it to be political, it’s impossible to avoid. The red tape that goes on in hospitals and the healthcare system is ridiculous, and people really do slip through the cracks. A lot of these nurses and doctors are left in a position of knowing how they can care for someone but having their hands tied financially. Getting On, Monday, December 9, Showcase ( pay- TV), 7.10pm