Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nip/Tuck: Cindy Plumb (4.1)

There has always been so much intimacy between Sean and Christian that it's unsurprising that at least one of them eventually attempts to understand said intimacy. With all the women that come in and out of their lives, their one remaining constant is each other. Their bond is greater than simply friends and arguably more important and affecting than the affection between two brothers. They're two sides of the same coin, akin with one another, and it makes sense for Christian to examine (and be terrified of) the importance of their relationship.

Faith, while a complete hack, does make sense in that Christian is, in some way, "in love" with Sean. It's not literal, homosexual attraction, but it is a form of love, and the truest that Christian has ever felt and likely will ever feel. His attempts to prove his heterosexuality soon after Faith's diagnosis were hilarious, from the giant penis statue to the home d├ęcor straight out of an S&M dungeon.

Something of a rarity on previous seasons but pretty obvious here is the overdose in celebrity guest appearances. Cindy Plumb sees guest spots from Kathleen Turner, Larry Hagman, Brooke Shields and Sanaa Lathan but, helpfully avoiding Will & Grace syndrome, all have excellent characters to work with. Turner's performance is underscored by longing regret and bitterness over a career that has passed her by (shades of reality, maybe?), while Shields' hot streak of playing scary psycho-women continues. Hagman, too, appears to be relishing the opportunity to play somebody so atypical. Sanaa Lathan is also impressive, playing a character far removed from the passive bimbos Christian is usually associated with, and there's a frenetic chemistry between both of them. I also liked that she didn't immediately bend over Christian's desk as soon as they met. While the show eventually (and sadly) drops her initial sexual dominance in the relationship, she's at least intriguing here.

On the home front, Sean and Julia's storyline was high on emotions and featured some truly great performances. Their baby has been diagnosed with a disorder which mutates its hands and feet into deformed claws. It's a great storyline, and another example of the show exploring previously unheard-of "things": from disorders to illnesses and sexual fetishes. Dylan Walsh was especially great here, and the moment where he revealed that he would have had the baby aborted if he had known about the disorder was particularly heartbreaking.

After the polarizing Carver arc, which supposedly wasn't so polarizing on the Nip/Tuck set (if you catch my drift), you can see the show attempting to crank back the wheels of madness and steer the series in the right direction. Cindy Plumb is entertaining melodrama at its best, and a lot of fun. A-

Guest stars Kathleen Turner (Cindy Plumb); Brooke Shields (Dr. Faith Wolper); Sanaa Lathan (Michelle Landau); Tracy Scoggins (Jill White); Brianne Davis (Riley White); Colleen Flynn (Dr. Allamby); Bree Walker (Electrodactyly Sufferer); Amanda Pays (Interior Designer); Kelsey Lynn Batelaan (Annie McNamara); Larry Hagman (Burt Landau)
Writer Ryan Murphy Director Ryan Murphy

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