5 Reasons Why “Ratched” Rules
The creepy, stylish show is racheting up the tick in time we spend on the (edge of the) sofa. No wonder Netflix just announced a subscription rate hike. You can’t turn away from an evil nurse in an eerie green uniform and crisp, pointy-cornered cap. Can you?
- The story line is all sewn up. Set n 1947 at a psychiatric hospital near the California coast, the chilling tale is the prequel to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and unveils why Nurse Mildred Ratched is such a troubled soul. Master minds Ryan Murphy and Evan Romansky nimbly sew a dark thread from priests to monstrous treatments. Do not enter the Tub Room.
- The precise acting. Hang on every word, and gaze, from Sarah Paulson as Nurse Ratched; Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, suited press secretary to the governor; Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket. Add a murderer and stolen sex through prison bars. Every role in all eight Season 1 episodes is expertly filled. Every.single.one.
- The wardrobe. The two women in charge are costume czars. Lou Eyrich and Rebecca Guzzi followed Murphy’s vivid color vision and dug up Vogue covers from the era. Uniforms, capes, peplum waists, gloves, hats — I dare you to peel your eyes away. (To follow suit, Amazon has a closetful of Nurse Ratched getups.)
- Luxe design. Get lost in the floral wallpapers at Lucia State Hospital, the sofas, the corridors — every inch is spot-on, from the party punch bowl to boatlike cars in high-octane hues (with women at the wheel).
- The history. It’s not just entertainment, but a detailed peek at how America once was. Stay at a seedy motel by the ocean cliffs, lift a leaden phone receiver, fasten a heavy brooch to your lapel, as your grandmother did. See the sad, sordid side of life before mental health advances, #metoo and LGBTQIA+—our world is still scary, but many things were even uglier back then.
Alice Garbarini Hurley writes about beauty creams, dream kitchens and more for websites and magazines, including ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME. At age 5, she was terrified of the Wicked Witch and flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz,” and still is, but somehow loves “Ratched.” She was not afraid of nurses before. Her Great Aunt Peggy, cousins Judi and Annie, friend Debbie and childhood next-door neighbor, Mrs. Evelyn Komlo, all donned uniforms to work in hospitals. Mrs. Komlo left for night shifts in white cap, dress, stockings and shoes and often baked cookies at home in the afternoons.