Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nip/Tuck: Conor McNamara (4.8)

I've always though Mrs Grubman was a great recurring character. Vain, plastic, and ultimately pretty sad, she was a perfect representation of this show's message: that no matter what you fix on the outside, you're still the same deep down. Plus, she was always a great foil for Christian. Ruth Williamson was really spectacular here, and she got to finally display her Broadway musical pipes with her rendition of This Girl's in Love alongside Mr Burt Bacharach himself. I guess it's not original that such a grand, arrogant society woman like Grubby turns out to have little of the social circle she claimed she did, but it was pretty darn touching regardless.

An interesting note for this storyline (especially in light of her 2010 Oscar win) is the guest spot by Mo'nique. She's especially awesome here, bringing a lot of realism and humor to (again) an unoriginal character. She had a great camaraderie with Ruth Williamson, and I loved her quips ("I'll go read my Essence", "he tried to fondle my sexy booty"). So when everybody was raving about Mo'nique's Precious performance, I wasn't at all surprised. I always knew she was an actress of unexpected depth.

Marlowe is an interesting character. He's arguably manipulative, but I think his best interests lie with Conor, and I appreciated that both he and Julia were open to more discussion on Conor's surgery, instead of just bulldozing through an opinion like Sean is doing. Maybe it's my affinity for Peter Dinklage talking, but he brings an honesty and a tenderness to the show that I think is pretty undeniable. His calmness and obvious romantic interest in Julia obviously ruffle Sean's feathers, but Dinklage is totally selling it. I always see Marlowe on those "worst Nip/Tuck characters" lists, but he really worked for me.

The Sean-heavy subplot, however, did not work. I'm never a fan of shows pulling random historical developments right out of their asses, like the revelations about Sean's disfigurements as a child, or his suddenly-appearing sibling in season six (noticeably absent here, for obvious reasons - he didn't exist yet in the writer's heads). I like the show attempting to create parallels between its characters, but this didn't really happen here. The melodramatic acting in all of the flashbacks didn't help.

Conor McNamara is too Sean-heavy to be a complete masterpiece, but Mrs. Grubman's swan song was beautiful. It also provided a welcome breather from the convoluted Landau's and kidney-thievin' storylines we've been experiencing lately. B+

Guest stars Peter Dinklage (Marlowe Sawyer); Mo'nique (Evetta Washington); Ruth Williamson (Hedda Grubman); Allison Smith (Kathleen McNamara); Anthony Starke (Tom McNamara); Stephen Lee (Mr. Thompson); Eric Steinberg (Dr. Mugavi); Kelsey Lynn Batelaan (Annie McNamara); Travis Flory (Morgan Thompson); Kendall Ryan Sanders (Young Sean)
Writers Jennifer Salt, Hank Chilton Director Patrick McGee


  1. I also have to agree with you in regards to Marlowe. His presence on the show seems to bring a certain sense of calmness/stability that the recent crazy plot arcs have been unable to provide. Looking forward to more Dinklage puppy faces...

    Christian's eulogy to Grubman was surprisingly powerful. That man has good insights and an honest way with words, I just wish he'd give up them up more often.

    Per your last comment: I don't think your previous season reviews have been bad at all. I admit I read every one almost immediately after watching the episodes myself. :)

  2. Ah, thanks a lot! I think it's because I pasted my old Nip/Tuck reviews over from (and I wrote them years ago), while the ones for seasons five and six were only written this year.

    I think everybody's their own worst critic, so I probably see a lot more badness about my own work than other people would. Hmm.

    Thanks for reading my stuff, Mandy. It's really rewarding to hear.