Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nip/Tuck DVD Review: Season Five - Part One

Previously posted at Blogcritics Magazine.

Part one of Season Five shows our Drs. Troy and McNamara packing up and moving from Miami where they are big fish in a small pond to glossy Los Angeles, where they nearly down in the Pacific (figuratively speaking, of course). Since LA has nearly as many plastic surgeons as it does wannabe actors, our boys Sean and Christian wait in their new ostentatious offices…and play basketball.

There are a few minor cases, but not enough to pay the expenses of their glamorous real estate. Fortunately the boys soon meet PR big fish Fiona McNeil (the wonderful blade-free Lauren Hutton) and things turn around. She finds them consulting work on a hit TV show about plastic surgeons called “Hearts & Scalpels”, and then more opportunities present themselves. Both doctors get small speaking parts on the show and more importantly, begin to capitalize on the all important networking among Hollywood’s vainest.

Christian (Julian McMahon) is invited to pose for Playgirl, while Sean (Dylan Walsh) begins to date one of the stars from the show, Kate Tinsley (Paula Marshall – Spin City, Cupid, Californication). And the clients steadily come in for consults and surgeries. But we know that nothing on Nip/Tuck really goes as smooth and straight as the doctors’ stitches, and this first half of Season Five is filled with even more bizarre twists and turns then ever. Several fascinating guest stars are featured in these first 14 episodes include Rosie O’Donnell (who reprises her role of Dawn Budge), Oliver Platt, Portia de Rossi, Donna Mills, Sharon Gless, Jennifer Coolidge and Jai Rodriguez.

Some of the intertwining plots involve Sean (and Christian’s) estranged son Matt showing up in LA with his and Kimber’s baby Jenna. Previously the two had been involved in the Church of Scientology, and now Matt say’s he’s left the church, but not after Kimber gave all of his money to the church. Sadly it was just a ploy to get some drug money from the “two dads”, and Matt and Kimber spend it on crystal meth, and not much else.

Another arrival in LA is the radiant Julia, announcing her plans to move in with “Ollie.” Sean and Christian seem to take the news fine, until they find out that Ollie is short for Olivia (Portia de Rossi) and Julia is now a lesbian, or at least in love with one. And daughters Annie (Julia and Sean’s) and Eden (AnnaLynne McCord) are along for the fun. And Eden – it’s not enough to just classify her as a bitch, although she certainly is. It’s much more satisfying to refer to her as a heinous serpent.

What else, stalking, car-jacking, blackmailing and sex. Threesomes, twosomes, and freaky age differences. Incest, poisonings, stabbings and clawings. Pornography, drug addiction, surgery addiction and sex. Gays, Straights, and everything in-between --- yes, it sounds like a season of Nip/Tuck.

My only problem with this whole set was the actual viewing. To watch the episodes on a steady basis, say three or four in a row, can leave one a bit depressed or ill-at-ease at seeing so much off-the-wall depravity. The material was written to be viewed once a week; submersion any deeper takes its toll.


An eerily beautiful scene shows the two stylin’ docs in the California desert gazing down at the beautiful and scarred body of a fallen angel. What does it represent – is the blond figure meant to symbolize Julia? Olivia? Kimber? Or maybe the symbolism is more esoteric, perhaps the woman signifies all the sad debris of the harsh world of Hollywood. You decide.


The DVD set includes a few deleted scenes, one funny but too short set of outtakes, and a featurette called Hollywood Hedonism. It’s a 10 minute “Making Of” type offering, with supporting clips and a mildly entertaining look at the actors’ take on the new season, and what it means to the show.

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