Tag: Joely Richardson

Nip/Tuck: The Sixth and Final Season

Only on “Nip/Tuck” can a character utter a line like “Dildo sales are down. It’s the goddamn economy,” and make it sound a perfectly reasonable thing to say. There are aspects I will miss about “Nip/Tuck,” and one of them is its ability to take the most outlandishly offensive situation and make it seem relatively normal, at least within the context of the show. But all good and bad things must come to an end, and “Nip/Tuck,” from Season Three onwards, was equal parts of both. The Sixth Season aired in two parts (with a month break in the middle), which at the time were marketed as Seasons Six and Seven. There is no Season Seven, but there is a 19-episode sixth season, and all those episodes are collected in this set. Through watching this block, however, it certainly seems like two different seasons. Confused? Annoyed? Allow me to elaborate and pontificate.

The first ten episodes are all but unwatchable in their awfulness. Not merely content to disturb viewers, these episodes largely depress as well, although it seems unlikely that was the goal. The flaccid economy, and its effect on the plastic surgery business, is stressed in the first episode, but what does it say about a show when such a topic is one of the bright spots? Sean (Dylan Walsh) is still dating anesthesiologist Teddy Rowe, who used to be played by Katee Sackhoff, but now resides in the body of Rose McGowan, which is a true “what the fuck?” soap opera switch, given that it’s hard to think of two actresses that are any less alike in both their method and appearance. Teddy slowly begins revealing her true, black widow colors as the narrative progresses, and on the camping trip from hell, Teddy’s shit hits the fan and splatters all over the place.

Meanwhile, Christian (Julian McMahon), who is not dying of cancer after all, must contend with a seriously pissed off Liz (Roma Maffia), since now that he’s not dying he doesn’t want to stay married to her. Liz’s reaction is understandable, but that doesn’t make her character arc any more palatable, since Liz is the only person on the show we’ve come to believe is truly decent. Kimber (Kelly Carlson) begins dating Dr. Mike Hamoui (Mario Lopez), a development nobody was asking to see, and if ever you wanted to see Lopez dressed in a corset, garter belt, and stockings, well, now’s your chance. Stills from the episode in which Christian talks him into this get-up are bound to haunt Lopez for the rest of his life, which amuses me to no end. Maybe he can put the scene on his reel should the “Rocky Horror” remake ever get off the ground?

Matt (John Hensley) has taken up miming, only to discover there’s more money to be found in robbing convenience stores in whiteface. As per usual with Matt, things go south with his plans, but never as far as here, where he ends up going to prison, and the episode “Alexis Stone II” is surely one of the most self-loathing episodes of any TV series, ever. And Julia (Joely Richardson)? Well, I think she’s in there somewhere, but as has been par for the course in recent times, Richardson’s mind is obviously anywhere but on her character. The patient storylines, too, are revolting. Characters like The Enigma, Jenny Juggs, and Lola Wlodkowski are amongst the most tasteless the show has ever showcased (which is saying something), and the aforementioned Alexis Stone, who manages a two-episode arc, simply gives transgendered people a bad name. It’s a credit to the series that they didn’t have her whip out a knife and slit Christian’s throat at the end of her tale. These ten episodes are some of the worst the show has ever unleashed, and as tough as it was watching them on broadcast, it was twice as tough sitting through them a second time on DVD. Even the most die-hard fans of the show surely knew that it was time to close up shop when these aired last year.

And one must wonder how many viewers the show lost in that block. How many people failed to come back to the show in January for the final nine episodes? I’m willing to bet plenty, which is a shame because, believe it or not, after years of excess, “Nip/Tuck” managed to deliver a nicely restrained, oftentimes poignant batch of episodes to close out the series. The story picks up a few months after the first ten in the set, and Sean and Christian are going to pick up a lifetime achievement award. Only after they receive the award does Sean discover that Christian bought it via a hefty donation, at which point Sean goes ballistic. And from there, the season peels one layer of the onion away after the next, dissecting McNamara and Troy’s friendship and partnership, all while providing endings for every other character on the show as well (most are surprisingly happy, some a little warped, and in one case we lose a character altogether).

One excellent episode, “Dr. Griffin,” is set almost entirely in a psychiatrist’s office, with Sean and Christian unloading their grievances on one another. Even the patient stories have a great deal of heft to them, and take viewers back to a time when the show was as much about the surgeries as it was the main characters. And then there’s fan favorite villainess Ava Moore (Famke Janssen), who returns to wreak some havoc one last time, for the final two episodes of the series.

I once wrote that when “Nip/Tuck” ended, I wanted to have to “scrape my jaw up off the floor and make an appointment for some reconstructive surgery.” I can’t honestly say that happens here, but I wrote that way back when this show and I were still doing a lovely little dance together week in and out. That dance ended some time ago, and yet I was pretty bowled over by the mature series of notes the show went out on. I think that’s how it needed to be, given that it’s been mercilessly and vacuously titillating viewers for far too long now. Given how controversial many series finales are these days, perhaps the biggest surprise “Nip/Tuck” could’ve given us is a finale that wasn’t controversial at all. Well, mostly not. There is that one last thing with Ava and Matt that might just make your blood boil, but I thought it was just right.

The three stars given to this set are merely an average: Two stars for the first ten episodes, and four stars for the last nine. I don’t know exactly how to tell people to avoid one half of a season box set, whilst highly recommending its second half. You’ll have to figure the rest out on your own.

Special Features: There’s just one measly featurette entitled “Tell Me What You Don’t Like About Yourself: The Psychology Behind Plastic Surgery,” which is just as throwaway as it sounds. No celebration for the end of the show, no commentaries, no deleted scenes, no nothing.

Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Pt. 2

The press release for this set finishes up with two sentences: “And Liz says ‘I do’ to the last person you’d imagine. Time to stretch your imagination, fans.” When even the marketing department can no longer take a show seriously, it must be “Nip/Tuck.” As a fan since day one, I’m past resenting the show for failing to be as good as it once was, and have moved on to embracing “Nip/Tuck” for the freakshow it’s become. How freaky you ask? Well, in one episode, when Dr. Troy (Julian McMahon) refuses to give a woman an unnecessary mastectomy, she performs the surgery on herself – in the lobby of McNamara/Troy – with an electric carving knife.

Never a show to be too far behind the times, another installment features a pair of lovers who’ve taken their vampiric bloodlust a bit too far. You’ve seen these folks at goth clubs, I’m sure, but have secretly hoped it was all an act. “Nip/Tuck” is here to show you that the freakshow never ends, and that people do indeed partake in mutual bloodsucking. Surely the most outrageous display of hedonistic debasement comes in the form of the guy who likes to fuck furniture. If I hadn’t been laughing so hard, I might have turned away. What’s most noteworthy about this block of episodes, is that there isn’t a villain in the traditional “Nip/Tuck” sense – no Carver, or Escobar – although Eden (AnnaLynne McCord) does show up a couple times to fan a few flames.

In other news, Kimber (Kelly Carlson) wants to inject collagen into her baby daughter’s lips so she can get a head start on a successful modeling career. Sean (Dylan Walsh) is babied by a girl when he pretends to be an invalid. Later on in the half season, he dates Dr. Teddy Rowe (Katee Sackhoff), and they experiment with hallucinogens in the desert when they aren’t having sex in strange houses. Julia (Joely Richardson) heads back to New York after a tragedy, and Matt (John Hensley) does a huge favor for a McNamara/Troy intern (Adhir Kalyan), after the boy is asked to perform his father’s penis lengthening surgery. In another episode, a patient asks that his member be decreased, as he can’t stop fellating himself; Bradley Cooper’s Aidan returns for this installment, pitching Sean a movie based on his life. And in the biggest news of all, Christian dates Liz (Roma Maffia) in a storyline that by no means should work, and yet miraculously does.

You’ll hate the final moments of the season, and accuse the show of selling out, but hey, haven’t we been making this accusation for several years now? “Nip/Tuck” hasn’t sold out as much as it’s bought into its own trashy hype. It’s ambling toward the finish line of 100 episodes for syndication purposes, and the writers are having a field day unleashing an enormous amount of tasteless depravity along the way. It’s become very much of a drug in that respect. When it’s good, it’s really, really good; when it’s bad, it’s still there for the doing, and I, for one, choose to continue jabbing the needle deep into my arm.

Click to buy Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Pt. 2

Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part One

At the conclusion of Season Four, plastic surgeons Drs. McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Troy (Julian McMahon) had packed up their scalpels and headed for sunny Beverly Hills – after all, what better place for two amoral surgeons than Hollywood – so Season Five is something of a new start for the offices of McNamara/Troy. At season’s start, however, business isn’t so hot, so they agree to join a crappy TV series called “Hearts ‘N Scalpels” as technical advisors who will also briefly appear onscreen during the surgery sequences. At first, Christian is certain that this is his ticket to fame, while Sean is reluctant about the entire affair, but the tables quickly turn when the camera favors Sean, and Christian sulks away to soothe his bruised ego in all manner of seedy ways. Sean becomes the toast of the town, begins dating the show’s leading lady, Kate (Paula Marshall), and becomes party buds with the vacuous leading man, Aidan (Bradley Cooper). Then Sean’s ex Julia (Joely Richardson) shows up with kids Annie and Connor in tow, and mama’s got a new brand new bag: a girlfriend, Olivia, played by none other than Portia de Rossi! Olivia’s got a kid, too: Eden (Annalynne McCord, “90210”), a twisted little teen who sets her sights on destroying everything in her path. But an even greater evil lurks in the shadows, waiting to pounce, and perhaps there are worse things waiting in Hollywood than an attention-starved teenager.

Oddly, when this batch of episodes played on FX, I really didn’t care for them and saw a show struggling for air. If you felt at all the same, I urge you to give this set a spin, because I saw the season in a whole new light this time around and actually found myself having a lot of fun with the series, something I hadn’t really done in a couple years. As far as the whole “Season Five, Part One” thing goes, the series is gearing up another round of eight episodes which technically will finish up Season Five, although creator Ryan Murphy has said that the labeling is more of an internal thing, and that the new episodes probably won’t have much to do with what’s on this set. In other words, just think of this as Season Five and be done with it.

Click to buy “Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part One”

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