The Telefile

Nip/Tuck: An Appalling End to an Appalling Season

by Rebecca Bellotto March 4, 2009 10:24 am
<I>Nip/Tuck</I>: An Appalling End to an Appalling Season

So, Nip/Tuck has kind of a terrible reputation in the land of television -- remember all that stuff we said two months ago about this show? Yeah, we were right. And now that the second half of Season 5 is all wrapped up, I think it's safe to say that at this point the producers of the show are literally trying to shame the last remaining diehard fans into letting go. I mean really, did anyone watch the season finale last night besides me? Dear God! But hey, Nip/Tuck's final season is airing some time in 2010 -- maybe they're pulling that old trick of making us hate them so the goodbye will be easier. Guess what, show? It's working! For those of you who bailed on this formerly... let's go with "watchable" show when The Carver showed up back in 2004, here's why you missed the most maddeningly absurd season ever (and trust me, that's saying something!).

1) Christian has breast cancer.
Okay, it's not unheard of for a major character on an already soapy show to come down with a fatal disease. But whatever (forced!!!) poetic irony may have come from manly man Christian Troy coming down with what is most commonly a ladies' ailment was completely destroyed by the following: his getting assaulted and robbed of his cancer drugs by a Craigslist prostitute, his manipulating a breast cancer survivor's group for his own libido, and his poorly inserted pec implant going careening off towards his shoulder region in one particularly memorable scene [Editor's note: with a nudie floozy! - Mindy]. However, this was the plot point from which all other storylines more or less sprang this half of the season, and the show did sort of manage to make us (at least me) care about Christian's impending death towards the end... so maybe this wasn't all bad? (Oh, just wait...)

2) Christian and Liz hooked up.
Yes, Liz is a lesbian. And seemingly possessed of half a brain and a modicum of self-esteem. So why in God's name was she shacking up with Christian, who happens to not only be a notorious lothario, her boss, and her long-time friend but also, you know, a man? Apparently we were supposed to believe that his terminal breast cancer and occasional moments of chemotherapy-induced vulnerability were enough to make the steadiest character on this show ignore her sexuality and act like a stereotypical shrewish girlfriend shrieking about "commitment!" and "fidelity!" and "don't bang your trashy bar conquests in the foyer when you've invited me over for dinner!" And then just when we thought this cursed storyline was gone for good... she went and agreed to marry him. WHY?

3) Major character arcs (and characters) were ignored, multiple times.
There was some dramatic stuff going on this season -- Matt questing for his father's affection by trying for medical school, Kimber as the Botox-wielding stage mother of her one-year-old daughter, and that 17-year-old wunderkind doctor-in-training Raj joining the McNamara/Troy team. However, none of these arcs were even close to adequately explored during the season (which to be fair only consisted of seven episodes): Matt's storyline was introduced and dispatched within a single episode, Kimber's arc stopped and started a couple times without going anywhere, and poor Raj stuck around for three episodes but completely disappeared after he purposely maimed himself by slamming his hand in a car door. Perhaps if we'd had a little more from these second-tier characters, we could have had a little less Liz-Christian action... literally.

4) Sean cared about his children even less than usual.
At the best of times, Sean doesn't pay much attention to his teenage daughter Annie and toddler son Conor. But this season gave them barely a nod, with Julia taking them to New York (and can someone explain why?) in the third episode and Sean just kind of... letting them go. Oh wait, there's that phone call Sean gets from Julia a couple episode later about not paying Annie's school fees... that totally makes up for it! I mean, these former series regulars don't even get to show up in the season finale. Even Christian's adopted son Wilber gets more screen time! But maybe this is because the actor who plays Wilber is just about the cutest child ever on TV (yes, Gosselin brood, that includes you). Who knows?

5) Big questions from last season were left unanswered... until the third episode, when they were answered way too quickly.
Reality check time: Julia LOST HER MEMORY in the previous season finale because she GOT SHOT. By the PSYCHO DAUGHTER of Olivia, her LESBIAN LOVER. These are big things, Nip/Tuck! Don't make us wait through two episodes before we find out what the hell happened with all this! Oh right, you had that lame explanation in the premiere about Julia slowly regaining part of her memory maybe sort of. So fine, you're ignoring it. We accepted that. But then you went and randomly killed off Olivia on the operating table, blamed Sean for it, and brought back Eden from apparently doing porn in Europe so that she could frame her dead mother for poisoning and shooting Julia before throwing Olivia's ashes in Sean and Julia's faces???? This is a lot for one episode, even for you.

6) The especially cringe-inducing moments.
Nip/Tuck built its reputation on risqué envelope-pushing. And since there were 73 scandalous episodes prior to this season, it's understandable that 2009's episodes would have to stretch to raise the bar on this show's shock value. But none of this justifies any of the following antics: the baby fetish of the med student Sean is dating, revealed when she puts a diaper on him during sex; guest star Jennifer Coolidge's character discovering her black roots, changing her name to CoCo, and performing in a rap video concerned with feminine hygiene called "Yo Stank"; one of Christian's conquests, obsessed with the fear that she will inherit her family's breast cancer, chopping off one of her mammaries with an electric carving knife in the McNamara/Troy waiting room; the bizarre dream sequence experienced by Sean after taking Native American hallucinogens in the desert; and most of all, the furniture fetish that compelled guest star Richard Burgi's character to make love to Christian's couch, among other inanimate objects. Nip/Tuck has gone over the top before, but never quite this far over.

7) And most of all...THE SEASON FINALE!
Nip/Tuck traditionally goes out with a bang, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that this season's finale contained not only cryogenics but also vampires... or "sangs", as they apparently prefer to be called. But these were the least of the shocks last night, because we had to go ahead and choke down the following: Sean's new flame Teddy leading a double life as an anesthesiologist in Vegas and murdering her lover with laughing gas; an absurd wedding set to some freaky version of "The Very Thought of You" that actually ends in Liz and Christian yes, tying the knot; Kimber deciding she's still in love with Christian (way to resurrect a dead plotline! I knew the vampires were here for a reason...); and Sean becoming addicted to nitrous? Oh, and there was one more little wrinkle. A tiny thing, really: Christian doesn't really have terminal cancer! He's fine -- the doctor confused his patient ID with a dying woman's. So guess what, everybody, everything that happened already was based on nothing. NOTHING! That's right, none of the crap we had to endure this season was necessary. In any way. Way to kick us when we're down, Nip/Tuck. Way to go.

P.S.: See you in 2010. What can I say? Old habits die hard...

Think the final season would be better if Sean and Christian became vampires? Got another beef with Season 5? Share your Nip/Tuck frustration!




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