Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Joyce and Sharon Monroe (5.2)

Julia's detour "from dwarf-humping to carpet-munching" is never explored as successfully again as it is here. The story is quickly derailed by... uh, next episode, but her explosive revelation this episode is wonderful. Away from the sensationalism of the 'idea' of the story, it isn't totally surprising that Julia would explore her sexuality. She did seem to be attracted to Ava in her dream episode in season two, Ava even remarking that Julia has always wondered what it would be like to kiss a woman. I loved her explanation for her attraction to Olivia, not that she's explicitly gay now, but just that she fell in love with somebody who happened to be another woman. Portia de Rossi was also great. Like the story, she's quickly wasted as the season progresses, but she has a sexy, confident and almost masculine (while still flirtatiously feminine) energy in this episode, easily bantering with Christian and showcasing the exact qualities that Julia would find attractive.

The rival Marilyn's were used as an obvious parallel to the dynamic shifting occurring in Sean and Christian's relationship, but it never felt too contrived. Joyce was clearly the better Marilyn (she's a real-life impersonator), but that didn't necessarily hinder the story. I loved the vintage score playing over most of their scenes, and for once a Nip/Tuck surgery case actually had a happy ending for the patients.

The final shot, however, was pretty chilling. Christian asks the Marilyn's to 'make [him] feel like a star', saying so much about his own avenue of self-destruction that he's about to go down. He can't stand that Sean has suddenly usurped him, both professionally and personally, and that he's just another blandly handsome Hollywood resident. It's also even sadder to see that he's balding and has packed on the pounds a little. Don't get me wrong, Julian McMahon is still a stallion, but he's clearly aging, which paralleled with that embarrassing Playgirl shoot, just reflects how sad Christian has become.

Meanwhile, Sean is dating Kate, the female lead on Hearts 'n Scalpels. Ryan Murphy explained before the season began that this year was all about how Hollywood destroys those who seek fame and fortune, and Kate is a major example of that. Happy as a respected Broadway actor, she's now a painfully insecure and unstable wreck, crippled by her so-called 'heaviness' and terrified of intimacy and rejection as a result. It's such a horrible but probably common thing for Hollywood actresses.

Joyce and Sharon Monroe is part two of a wonderful opening to the fifth season. It's only upsetting in retrospect to see such promising new characters either become wasted (Olivia) or disappear altogether (Fiona). But, judged as an episode on its own, it's pretty darn fabulous. A

Guest stars Portia de Rossi (Olivia Lord); Bradley Cooper (Aidan Stone); Paula Marshall (Kate Tinsley); Kelsey Lynn Batelaan (Annie McNamara); Leslie Bega (Photographer); Merilee Brasch (Sharon Monroe); Susan Griffiths (Joyce Monroe); Lauren Hutton (Fiona McNeil)
Writer Ryan Murphy Director Charles Haid

No comments:

Post a Comment