Chalk it up to another case of there simply not being enough hours in the day, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve never watched a single episode of “Nip/Tuck” until now…and since this is the second half of the show’s next-to-last season, it’s probably not exactly the best time for me to decide to get involved in the adventures of Drs. Sean McNamara and Christian Troy. The decision, however, came as a result of two simultaneous events: Ross Ruediger’s review of the first half of the 5th season, which was just released on DVD, and the arrival of a screener of the first episode of the second half of the 5th season. Stupid ol’ Ross. If his positive review of “Criminal Minds: Season 2” hadn’t introduced me to that show, then I wouldn’t be trusting his opinion of “Nip/Tuck,” but when the guy describes it as “tasteless, vulgar, trashy, over-the-top fare that most people probably don’t care to admit they enjoy,” then I’m left wondering why I never took a chance on it before now.
And with that, let us hit “play” on “Ronnie Chase,” the first new “Nip/Tuck” of 2009.
The use of the O’Jays’ “Backstabber” within the opening sequence is inspired, as is the Mark Ronson cover of “Stop Me If You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before,” since what we’re watching is, after all, more or less an expanded flashback to events which occurred during the last episode of the season’s first half. After we catch up to the cliffhanging moment where Sean was lying in a pool of his own blood, things move pretty fast. Christian and Liz manage to keep Annie from crashing, and even after being dragged from the operating room into his office by Colleen, Sean successfully extracts revenge on his crazed assailant and keeps the show from becoming “Misery: The Series.” But poor Doc McNamara is in bad shape: as Christian arrives and tells his partner to hold on, Sean groans, “I can’t feel my legs.”
Suddenly, it’s four months later…and Sean’s doing his best Ironside impression, making his appearance by rolling out of an elevator in a wheelchair.
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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”