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Written by on September 16, 2020

Story by Chuck Tackett


If you are a Baby Boomer or Gen X, you are probably familiar with the 1975 classic movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”

If you are a Millennial or a Gen Z, you may not have heard of this film.

“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” was about a man, Randle McMurphy, played by actor Jack Nicholson. He is moved to a mental hospital after serving a short prison sentence after several assault charges, and statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl. McMurphy is not mentally ill. He is a wise-ass con artist running a scam, hoping that he could serve the rest of his prison term in the confines of this hospital, to escape hard labor at the prison. McMurphy erroneously assumes the environment will be peaceful and relaxing.

The psychiatric ward he is sent to is run by a hard-ass, cruel, domineering, passive-aggressive nurse named Mildred Ratchet. Nurse Ratchet uses her rules and authority to scare & intimidate her patients into a joyless existence at the mental institution.

The main plot of the movie is the mental hopscotch feud between Ratched and McMurphy. McMurphy uses the clueless other patients at his ward as pawns in his battle with Nurse Ratchet. The actress who plays Nurse Ratchet in this 1975 movie is Louise Fletcher who has enjoyed a long and successful acting career. Millennials and Gen Z people might recognize Ms. Fletcher. She played as Doctor Coolidge in “Heroes,” and as Peggy Gallagher in “Shameless.”

“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” won Best Picture at the 1976 Academy Awards. Both Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher won Oscars for Best Actor and Actress. Down through the years in pop culture, the nickname “Nurse Ratchet” is applied as an insult to a person (usually a woman) who has the same monstrous tendencies of being an overbearing perfectionist who rules with an iron fist.  

With all that said, Netflix recently announced that on Friday, September 18, an original series, titled “Ratched,” will premiere. “Ratched” is described as a psychological thriller that is a prequel to “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” “Ratched” describes the origin of Nurse Ratchet. Sarah Paulson, of “American Horror Story” fame, will play the titled role.

Joining Ms. Paulson in this upcoming thriller will be fellow LGBTQ actress/activist Cynthia Nixon. Ms. Nixon is best known for her role as a workaholic lawyer, Miranda Hobbes, of “Sex and The City” fame. Cynthia will be playing the role of Gwendolyn Briggs. As of now, I have no idea who Gwendolyn Briggs is.

Also joining the cast will be actor Corey Stoll. Mr. Stoll is best known for his roles as Congressman Peter Russo in the series, “House of Cards,” and Dr. Ephraim Goodweathe, in the FX horror series, “The Strain.” 

“Ratched” was created by Ryan Murphy and Evan Romansky. So far, Netflix has approved for 2 seasons, with 9 episodes in each season. You may want to check out the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” before you watch Ratched” to get the full effect of the kind of person Nurse Ratchet was.

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