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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 723 Minutes
• Unaired Scenes
• Chasing the Carver
• The Perfect Look: Set Design
"How do you top Famke Janssen as a transexual?"
Julian McMahon. Dylan Walsh. John Hensley. Joely Richardson. Bruno Campos. Roma Maffia. Rhona Mitra.
Season Two ended with a cliffhanger. Stallone was punishing John Lithgow with a helicopter. Or The Carver was slashing Dr. Troy (Julian McMahon), I forget. OK, it was the latter. Stallone and the helicopter was Season One.
This season focuses on the ongoing exploits of the serial rapist/face injurer known as The Carver, the arrival of a new surgeon at McNamara/Troy (Bruno Campos as Dr. Quentin Costa), the further descent of young Matt McNamara (Hensley), Mrs. McNamara (Richardson) branching out into her own career, and the next and possible final development in the relationship between Dr. Troy and his on/off love (played to tanned and toned yummy perfection by Kelly Carlson).
I’d heard this was a subpar season and a transitional one. I disagree with every bone of my penis.
The first publicity still from Stephen King’s Children of the Porn: The Dave Davis Story.
As has been said many times
before by myself and people taller than myself, Nip/Tuck is a soap
opera. It’s a meticulously crafted chunk of pablum and overt melodrama that
somehow arrives at the station nine times out of ten as what at the worst is a
terrific bit of entertainment but at times borderline genius. I’d say art, but
it already is. Fuck, C.H.I.P.S. is art. There are times on this show
where I find myself scratching my head on how the heck I just got suckered into
falling head over heels for a show that is so obviously manipulating me. Here’s
Amazing acting. Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh have gotten better with each
season even though their character arcs tend to follow the same flight pattern.
Throughout the course of a season both will take their lumps, both will have
moments of clarity and moments that seem a lot more suited for the other, and
both will nearly lose their job or life. It has to happen. Typical in a police
show, but not for a plastic surgeon show. McMahon typically gets the juicy bits
both literally and figuratively but part of the fun in season three is seeing
him try to run the straight and narrow line when the new surgeon comes in for
Dr. McNamara and becomes the bad seed. McMahon, who many now know as Dr. Doom,
shows new facets that further solidify him as the real deal. I have no idea why
the Emmy Awards (which suck so why do I care?) haven’t recognized his fine
work. Dylan Walsh is also astounding and some of his best work happens here
even though his character doesn’t really get an enormous amount to do. Joely
Richardson has gotten a lot of praise for her work in the show and it really
comes home in the "airplane crash" episode which culminates with a
twisty and rather harrowing climax where she deals with a horribly burned
victim she knows to be her mother. Like the "Rocket Man" episode with
Julie Warner that really kicked my heartstrings in the ass, so did this.
Henry Bookins was a good athlete but his hearing was for shit.
plotline regarding The Carver takes place in the first few and last few
episodes as is typically the case with shows. The tease the "A" plot,
revisit in little vignettes, and then hit it hard at the end. Thankfully, it’s
not the kind of storyline that is all that vital to the show being great. What
it does do is allow for the show to replace an amazing woman (Famke) with
another amazing woman in Rhona Mitra. It doesn’t hurt that she plays a
bisexual, free-willed detective in nice tight outfits. When the show finds its
way there are some really strong stories: When Dr. Mcnamara joins the Witness
Protection Program’s plastic surgery division and tries out the domestic life
with a dangerous woman (Anne Heche), A Down’s Syndrome boy wanting to look like
his family, a most useful way to utilize semen, and to some extent young Matt’s
increasingly bad life decisions. Granted, the Nazi Family sublot borders on 24-esque
cougar baiting outrageousness but it somehow all comes home in a season that
doesn’t have as many tricks as before but somehow manages to deliver more
steady entertainment than the first two.
Nunziata recruits his 3rd round draft choice.
I have to admit that as much as I love the show, and I
do love it, I still cannot handle the surgery sequences. I simply can’t. Whether
it’s a meaningless little boob jib or some really harcore cutting and folding
and flapping, it just totally grosses me out. I wish there was some sort of
seamless branching thing one could emply to avoid them because I would in a
heartbeat. Instead, I shield my eyes and listen. When it sounds like the
scene’s over I look, often times allowing me to see the most grotesque moment
of all. This is my Hell and it’s one worth enduring because of how engaging it
I must also admit
that while the leads are the reason the show works so well, the supporting
players have all benefited from repeated years of playing their characters.
Well, aside from the youngest McNamara, whose whole job on the show is to look
elfin. Roma Maffia’s lesbian anesthesiologist is a one-note character who seems
to quit her job every other episode, but by having her leave the practice
(yeah, she comes back a few times but I’m forgiving) to work with the spa run
by the McNamara’s ex-wife adds a little flavor and she’s really solid in the
scenes where she’s arrested on suspicion she is… The Carver.
Frida looked at the tip and Rita looked at the shaft and the distance between was madness, such was often the case in the spectacle known as Milton Berle: The Traveling Funeral.
The reveal of that character’s identity occurs in the
last episode of the season and anyone who’s surprised is probably unable to
process an Encyclopedia Brown novel, but the payoff still works. In
fact, it comes across so well that for the first time in a while I was able to
sit through an entire season of a show and be pissed that there wasn’t more.
I wanted another
six discs. That’s about as solid a compliment as a fellow can give. Nip/Tuck
isn’t as disturbingly perfect as its tagline teases but it’s one heck of a
If you haven’t seen Julian McMahon’s off-Broadway Zardoz: The Musical, you are missing the fuck out.
The packaging for this season is phenomenal with its
metallic cover and wisely laid out insides, but sadly there’s not a lot of meat
in terms of the special features. There’s a teaser for the fourth season on the
last disc that autoplays when you shove the disc in, a couple of mostly useless
featurettes and a few choice deleted scenes.
I don’t know if
the creators don’t want to discuss their work or if they’re too busy making the
new episodes or if the sales don’t change based on the features, but the end
result is a lot of great drama and very little show and tell. Such is life, we
just don’t have to like it.
8.5 out of 10