ByDavid Rodemerk, writer at
Watched HBO and Cinemax as a little kid before "binge-watching" was even a thing! Mom called me a TV Guide with diapers. Twitter @filmigos
David Rodemerk

Just after her Oscar nomination for her role as Dorothy Vaughn in Hidden Figures, Octavia Spencer hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. All I can say is she tickled our hearts during her opening monologue when she give us her brief resume of playing nurses on the big and small screen. She played nurses sixteen times throughout her career. Spencer said:

I did it so many times, that when I played a maid, they gave me an Oscar.

But what made us laugh is when she gave us examples of her now famous "resting nurse face." Spencer then gave us a brief sampling of some her roles as a nurse.

I couldn't believe that she played a nurse sixteen times. So I decided to take a look at some of the other scenes where she played a nurse and looked at how her "resting nurse face" changed over time.

1) A Time to Kill (1996)

If we are going to talk about Octavia Spencer and her famous "resting nurse face", then we have to talk about the first time she played a nurse. You can't have resting nurse face without the nurse. played her first role as nurse in the movie A Time to Kill starring a slew of famous actors: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey just to name a few. Not a bad first movie to kick off your career. And she has to thank for getting her an agent and second gig after yelling out, "Innocent! Innocent! We won! We won!" at the end of the movie.

2) Chicago Hope - Episode: "Oh What a Piece of Work Is Man" (1999)

Nurse Annoyed By Skinny-Bitch Doctor

After a few other minor roles as a nurse, Octavia Spencer started to perfect her "resting nurse face" in her brief appearance in the TV show Chicago Hope as Nurse Jane. In this scene, she is starting to fine-tune her now famous facial expression.

Octavia Spencer became part of a show that did some firsts. Chicago Hope was the first show to use the word "shit", and it was the first TV program to be aired in HDTV. In some ways, Octavia Spencer needs to give a shout-it to HD programming for showcasing her resting nurse face.

3) Roswell - Episode: "Leaving Normal" (1999)

Nurse In A Hurry

I feel like this is what's going through Octavia Spencer's mind during her scene in the television show Roswell. You can tell Octavia is getting more comfortable acting as a nurse. In this role, we start to see Octavia Spencer emote a little more sass in her facial expression. You can tell with all these people hovering around the patient, she wants to step in and create a little more order. Mrs. Spencer is really starting to fill in those nurse's shoes.

What's great about this, is that Octavia Spencer can play a nurse in almost any genre. Roswell is about a town in New Mexico where human/aliens hybrids roam around freely. Watch out aliens, you don't want her to give you the resting nurse face.

4) X-Files - Episode: "Millennium" (1999)

The X-Files [Credit: 20th Century Fox Television]
The X-Files [Credit: 20th Century Fox Television]

Nurse Creeped Out By Old Dude

That's right, Octavia Spencer was even a famous guest on everyone's favorite conspiracy theory show: The X-Files! (Cue creepy music.) You know what is even creepier? Octavia played a nurse named Octavia. (Cue creepy music again.) It's at this point in her career where she fully embodies the role of a nurse. Just look at the way she wears that cute little hat!

5) Halloween 2 (2009)

Nurse Stabbed By Crazy Dude In A Mask

Now Octavia Spencer is taking her resting nurse face up a notch! She's gone from acting as a nurse in science fiction shows to being a creepy nurse in a movie! Not just any horror movie, but part of the franchise: Halloween 2 directed by . It's just sad that she ended up getting stabbed in the movie several times by Michael Myers.

Halloween 2 [Credit: Dimension Films]
Halloween 2 [Credit: Dimension Films]

Luckily for us, this was all just part of a dream. No nurses were harmed in the making of this movie. By the way, Is it me, or is she wearing the same sweater in this movie as she did in her X-Files scene?

6) Just Shoot Me! - Episode: "Finch on Ice" (2000)

Just Shoot Me! [Credit: NBC]
Just Shoot Me! [Credit: NBC]

Nurse Pimping Ed McMahon

This is where she puts it all together and becomes the nurse of all nurses. In Just Shoot Me!, she gets to take care of Johnny Carson's right-hand-man from The Tonight Show, Ed McMahon! Ed is startled by Nina (Wendie Malick) as asks for the nurse (Octavia Spencer) to remove Nina from his room. What an honor Mrs. Spencer!

7) Grounded for Life - Episode: "Johnny's Got a Gun" (2001)

Grounded for Life [Credit: FOX Network]
Grounded for Life [Credit: FOX Network]

Nurse Confused By Child

It was only a matter of time before she had to act in front of a little kid. In the episode from Grounded for Life, you can tell she is just flat out annoyed by one of his comments. You can just see her thinking, "Mmm child, I ain't got time for this!" But every great actor has to work with a kid at some point their career. If anyone can do it, it's Octavia Spencer, TV Nurse Extraordinaire!

8) Worst Week - Episode: "Epidural" (2009)

Worst Week [Credit: CBS]
Worst Week [Credit: CBS]

Nurse Sporting Blue Sweater

I think what's great about Octavia Spencer is not only is her resting nurse face changing with the times, but so is her wardrobe. She decided to toss aside that drab gray sweater for bolder blue sweater. Her resting nurse face may say, "Girl, you gotta give up that bedpan," but her sweater is saying, "Look at how how I make this stethoscope look like bling!" Worst Week was based on the British The Worst Week of My Life. The show ran CBS from September 22, 2008 to June 6, 2009.

9) Lost on Purpose (2013)

Lost on Purpose [Credit: Derango Films]
Lost on Purpose [Credit: Derango Films]

Nurse Not Putting Up With Man Children

Lost on Purpose was a drama about a woman who is running a dairy farm in the San Joaquin Valley. She hires a couple of ranch hands to help her keep the farm afloat. But booze, women, and fistfights stir up some trouble. When the settles clears, Octavia Spencer has her resting nurse face at the ready. Let's face it, Nurse Keller could care less about a bunch of grown men fighting over stupid little things.

10) Red Band Society (2014-2015)

Red Band Society [Credit: ABC Studios]
Red Band Society [Credit: ABC Studios]

Nurse Not Giving A Shit

This is it. The ultimate resting nurse face. Every scene before this TV show was just dress rehearsal. Octavia Spencer nails it. And she gets be one of the main characters of Red Band Society. Octavia plays Dena Jackson, the head nurse who is too busy to care about the little things because she's in charge of keeping it all together. If you get one of these from Octavia Spencer, you better think about what you just did and never do it again!

There you have it. The evolution of Octavia Spencer's resting nurse face. From dealing sick human-hybrid aliens, to getting stab by a maniacal killer, or making sure Sandra Bullock stays healthy, Octavia Spencer and her famous resting nurse has it covered.

Which resting nurse face do you think is best?


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