characterized by higher levels of martial satisfaction, better life
satisfaction, and mastery than is found among younger individuals
(Keyes and Ryff 719-727), and midlife is also associated with
overall good health (Merrill and Verbrugge 78). Midlife is
significant because it offers the ideal timeframe for achieving a
balance between work and home. In contrast, popular media texts
are built around conflict, which is the classical narrative paradigm
dating back at least to Aristotle. This being the case, it is not
surprising that women in situation comedies often must
continually negotiate between containment in the home and their
own independence (Mellencamp 80-95). When taking the
characteristics of midlife at face value, Jackie would appear to be
positioned for the ideal representation of midlife. As Jackie’s
addiction affects how she manages her compartments, however, a
chain reaction occurs that starts to destroy her overall stability (not
to mention damaging all of the people close to her). Viewers
observe this instability begin to root with the attempt at
intervention undertaken by Kevin and Dr. O’Hara. Instead of
trying to achieve a traditional work and home binary, Jackie
continues to negotiate and manage the challenges of her two
entirely different worlds. She tries her hardest to keep her family a
secret from her coworkers, her affair a secret from her family and
coworkers, and her drug addiction a secret from every person in
her life. Of course, given the demands of traditional narrative
structure the saying “drama is conflict” is overarching and refers
to comedy as well it is not surprising that collisions of Jackie’s
private and public spheres begin to take place with increasing
regularity. One such collision occurs when Kevin comes to the
hospital for the first time. He is greeted by Jackie’s student nurse,
Zoey Barkow (Merritt Wever), and asks to see Jackie Peyton. When
Kevin says he is her husband, Zoey says that is impossible because
Jackie is not married. Other of Jackie’s spheres collide when Eddie
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