TV Review: Final Season of ‘Nip/Tuck’ Starts With Lackluster Premiere

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CHICAGO – Let’s be honest: “Nip/Tuck” has been in need of a face lift for years. The show arguably jumped the shark when The Carver took over (in season three) and has never quite looked the same since. Even with the sizable flaws of the last two seasons, “Nip/Tuck” was never boring. It even showed flashes of creator Ryan Murphy’s occasional genius in the seasons since.

But the premiere of season six, which will be the show’s last, hints at a team that has grown weary of their own creation. Dull, confusing, and simply uninteresting, “Nip/Tuck” looks like it might go out with a whimper instead of a bang. Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0

The premiere of season six, “Don Hoberman,” raises more questions than anything else. And not questions about where it’s going but about what the hell happened. Firstly, who thought that Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”), who memorably played Sean’s girlfriend Teddy in season five, could be replaced by Rose McGowan and no one would notice or care? The move from the “Bewitched” playbook is a head-scratcher not just because it’s a different actress but because McGowan brings a completely different energy to the character. It doesn’t feel like Teddy of season five.

Photo credit: Michael Becker/FX

Secondly, why is Linda Hunt narrating the show now like we’re watching a documentary about the history of Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon)? And she narrates the first act, disappears for the rest of the episode, and then comes back to close the show. Weird, weird, weird.

Photo credit: Mark Seliger/FX

Thirdly, when the Christian/Liz dynamic didn’t work as lovers in season five, why didn’t the writers realize that it would be equally ineffective watching the two characters go through a heated divorce? And, speaking of ill-conceived plotlines, does anyone care about Matt’s latest stupid attempts at anything approaching normalcy? Guess what he’s doing this time? He wants to be a mime. Yes, it’s even more painful to watch than you think.

To be fair, the season premiere of “Nip/Tuck” isn’t a complete disaster. I like that the bursting of the economic bubble has been felt by McNamara/Troy. With so many people losing their jobs, it would have been naive of the writers to not comment on how our crisis would affect the plastic surgery industry. And I like what it’s doing to Sean. Mr. McNamara has always been one bad day away from a complete meltdown and the lack of financial stability is sort of driving him crazy. It feels like the arc of these final ten episodes will focus on Sean’s unraveling and that’s going to be the material that works best.

As for goofy guest stars, the premiere features the return of Mario Lopez as a studly young doctor who shows Sean and Christian both the future of plastic surgery and that they’re too old and out of shape to really enjoy it. Wayne Knight and Barry Bostwick also guest star as lawyers in the Liz-Christian messy divorce, a plotline that I care about less than any in the history of this up-and-down show.

Photo credit: Michael Becker/FX

And that’s the problem with season six of “Nip/Tuck”. It’s hard to care any more when it feels like the writers don’t either. Maybe Ryan Murphy is too busy devoting his creative energy to the far superior “Glee,” but “Nip/Tuck” has lost the creative spark, going for controversial instead of original. When a blind man asks Christian to masturbate and describe it to him, the scene doesn’t have the soap opera jolt that it would have in earlier seasons. We’ve been down wackier roads before with “Nip/Tuck”. The writers need to either bring this series back to its more dramatic roots or let it completely fly off the rails in a feast of over-the-top insanity in the last nine episodes.

To see part of how we got here, catch up with “Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part Two,” recently released on DVD from Warner Brothers Home Video. With eight episodes of envelope-pushing surgery, this arc of “Nip/Tuck” allowed McMahon to play an interesting and actually serious arc as he dealt with cancer (although, as with most frustrating things in Murphy’s world, the emotion of that plotline seems to have done nothing to Dr. Troy at the start of season six and now feels like emotional investment on the part of the viewer that has been wasted), features some more awful decisions by Sean, and includes arguably the most over-the-top scene in a series filled with them (two words - adult diaper).

“Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part Two” is presented in a matted widescreen format and accompanied by a Dolby Surround 5.1 track. The only special feature is a featurette entitled “Nip/Tuck: The Science of Beauty”.

‘Nip/Tuck,’ which airs on FX, stars Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, Roma Maffia, John Hensley, Kelly Carlson, and Joely Richardson from creator Ryan Murphy. Season six premieres on October 14th, 2009 at 9PM CST.

‘Nip/Tuck: Season Five, Part Two’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video. The show was released on DVD on October 6th, 2009. It is not rated. Check out the official site here. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

I enjoyed The Stepfather-

I enjoyed The Stepfather- this was just as a great as the first. Dylan Walsh did a great job filling the shoes of Terry O’Quinn.

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