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.

My Funeral Playlist

No need to really read anything into this, but sometimes I hear these songs and think, yeah, that’d be cool to help ease me into the after-life.

I've got a couple obvious tear-jerkers, what can I say; I’m a sucker for certain songs, despite the huge commercial appeal.

Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

Being an oldie but goodie, this song never really registered with me until I was grown up, with the family at a beach amusement park. This song was being played while we were leaving, and it struck something inside. It’s so full of joy and faith and makes me want to dance. Which, I won’t be able to do, when the time comes, actually. So, I rely on those present to dance for me.

Angel – Sarah McLachlan

I don’t know which is more heartbreaking – McLachlan’s voice full of ache and promise, or her haunting lyrics. It became a personal anthem after my father died.

The Precious Jewel – Roy Acuff.

Instrumental version by Charlie Hayden and Pat Metheny

I’d never heard of Hayden, just barely knew the name Pat Metheny. And certainly never heard of Roy Acuff. Then one day Sir Mark wrote one of his usual thoughtful Friday Morning Listen column pieces highlighting how this song came along at just the right time as he and TheWife™ were dealing with some tough family stuff. Triumph in the face of Adversity and all that is how it sits with me.

Cast Your Fate to the Wind – Vince Guaraldi (George Winston version)

Not only is the appeal of this Charlie Brown favorite ageless, the very title is liberating.

The Long Day is Over – Norah Jones

Lovely Norah comforts with her voice, inviting a warm respite.

Glasgow Love Theme – Craig Armstrong

Trust me, it’s a very pretty song.

Fix You – Cold Play

OK, so it’s a little manipulative. But to me it’s God’s ultimate promise in Eternity.

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For – U2 (Live version from Rattle and Hum)

And neither have I, quite frankly. But this gospel inspired hopeful anthem by one of Ireland’s better exports makes the quest not only bearable, but downright invigorating.

Thy Word – Amy Grant

Catchy and inspiring. Good stuff.

Run Like Hell – Pink Floyd

Because the perverse part of me insists.