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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 712 Minutes
- Unaired Scenes
- Casting Featurette
- The Cutting Edge: How Real-Life Dramas Are Incorporated into the Show
- Sizzle: The Sexuality of Nip/Tuck
- Clever Casting: The Seasons Guest Stars
"They’ve endured serial killers, transexual succubi, criminal overlords, and their own dysfunction. Now what?"
Julian McMahon. Dylan Walsh. John Hensley. Joely Richardson. Sanaa Lathan. Roma Maffia. Jaqueline Bisset. Larry Hagman. Peter Dinklage.
This was what I was afraid of…
The first three seasons of Nip/Tuck were ludicrous, over the top, nutty, and seemed to revel in their wanton acts of betrayal and debauchery without ever feeling the need to apologize for it. The bar kept getting higher and higher to the point where the only way to make the series any more sensational would be to have an alien craft land in Miami and have the occupants demand a sternum lift from the doctors, but only after putting down a deposit of energy coins and the skinbags of Nightbeasts from Kuatorr-19. That might be considered a step up in insanity and in the context of the show it might be just another Tuesday as opposed to shark-jumping reality.
In fact, can we put the whole "jumping the shark" thing to bed once and for all? Shows going to shit aren’t a surprise or cause for attention, it’s as inevitable as death, taxes, and the Razzies being useless.
The lost teaser poster from Cannes before ol’ Martin was replaced with Brad Pitt.
With that said, this is by far the least engaging season of Nip/Tuck yet, one which ends in a manner which seems to say "yeah, we’re bored too, let’s shake this bitch up".
Why? Read on.
Although this show has often has fun juxtaposing the roles and responsibilities of its leading men, there was always that moment where Julian McMahon’s Dr. Troy went back into his lecherous sex-addled ways and Dylan Walsh’s Dr. McNamara awakened his morals in time to pull his shattered family unit together. If season four of Nip/Tuck has a saving grace it’s that the evolution of the characters actually took forward momentum without finding the same rut. Not to say that this season doesn’t get mired in ruts aplenty, but the two leading men really get to evolve their characters enough so that the show still has its rewards as two very good actors hone their roles even further. Especially Walsh, who this season has to deal with another affair [handled with expected and somewhat silly Final Destination-esque abruptness] as well as his wife finding solace in the custom-fitted bed of one Mr. Peter Dinklage. As the nanny for the couple’s lobster-clawed infant son, the amazing star of The Station Agent gets to add a very deft and needed dose of reality and Dinklage wisely doesn’t play the game by Nip/Tuck rules, instead allowing his naturalistic and resonant style to counteract the cheese effectively. Walsh, who is looking more and more like Kurt Russell, gets to be more restrained here and I’m anxious to see if this continues into next season’s Los Angeles arc. As an aside, hopefully the move to Los Angeles doesn’t affect the show like it did The X-Files…
"Remind me to think longer before deciding to share a torso and tits, alright?"
I typically praise Julian McMahon’s work on the show endlessly but I feel here that his character seems to be on shuffle mode, being reptilian for a few scenes and then being ineplicably sweet and reliable the next as the scene demands it. There are a few scenes this season where characters are at odds and then the next time we see them, everything’s fine. A lot of these moments are geared around Dr. Troy’s relationship with Sanaa Lathan’s gold digging/reluctant whore character Michelle. It’s a shame, because Lathan is the hotness and a good addition to the show. By the end of the season, I had no interest in the pair because of scenes where you think they’ve split up and then are suddenly looking at fabric patterns. Then again, she arrives on the scene as the trophy wife of Larry Hagman as they shop for a large set of plastic manballs for him. As is the case with moments like that, the rest if often downhill from there. I was longing for Hagman and his nuts once I got to disc four of the set.
Troy deals with quite a bit this season, whether it be red herrings about a possible homosexual streak, a conniving therapist [a wholly useless subplot involving Brooke Shields], custody of a little boy who isn’t even his son, and the realization that his partying ways have to eventually come to an end. Speaking of useless subplots, how’s about the one with the buff Mario Lopez? Lopez plays a surgeon who idolizes Dr. Troy and is kind of Dr. Troy 2.0, but the idea is never developed as more than a chance to show off his bulging pectorals and to indicate that McMahon’s character is aging. He just doesn’t seem to be having as much fun as an actor either, which is saddening because after seeing his Dr. Doom I envision a long future for the actor on this show. Anything to prevent more bad Fantastic Four shenanigans, please.
"Why are you looking at me like the Asian Stargate just appeared behind me?"
I do appreciate the show’s odd Scientology subplot. The once focal character, Kelly Carlson’s buxom Kimber Henry, has been given the shaft in the form of a lame ‘romance’ involving Dr. McNamara’s elfin son [the show’s whipping boy] and an inexplicable descent into Scientology. The big surprise is that they don’t treat it too badly, having Kimber at times being the most grounded person on the show. Thankfully, it doesn’t give a "thumbs up" to the religion/cult/ad for Ladder 49 thanks to a really creepy Mia Farrow-alike auditor and the way Kimber becomes an even bigger wacko as the season progresses. I think Ryan Murphy [the creator of the show] saw her work in The Marine and said "oh yeah, bitch?", and fired up his word processor while pointing his mouse to the Wikipedia page for Xenu. They could have very easily just pointed their finger at Scientology and made jokes, instead deciding to treat it somewhat respectfully, instead attacking the weak people it [like other religions and organizations] targets.
The organ harvesting plot that runs the length of the season is sadly horrible but gues star Jaqueline Bisset tries her damndest to make her character James [yes, James is a woman] worth following. When it all wraps up it’s just too damn tidy and stupid to care about even though it costs two cast members their kidneys and me hours I could have spent watching the superior Rescue Me. Or stabbing myself with my replica of Krull‘s glaive.
"At WHAT age did you say that my It’s Alive baby will stop breastfeeding?"
As a showcase for hot bodies, grotesque plastic surgery situations, and the pastel oddity that is Miami, Nip/Tuck still succeeds. As a show worth making a priority of, it has dropped the ball. I no longer care what happens to these characters and watching them squirm has become tiresome. Here’s hoping the show’s move to Los Angeles next season yields more than just even more guest stars.
Fuck sharks. This show just jumped over me.
These have always been solid DVD releases in terms of features and though there aren’t commentary tracks here, the included stuff is better than the average show’s bells and whistles (as evidenced by my review of the Dexter set from earlier this week) and the packaging is excellent and perfectly in tune with the show.
But who gives a damn about a minute-long blooper reel that features zero laughs and featurettes about how amazing the cast is when the season itself is a scissor kick to the neck?
6.0 out of 10