Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Dawn Budge II (5.4)

In its later years, Nip/Tuck had a huge problem with three 's' words: Sex, shock and sensationalism. In the show's pervasive craving for headline-grabbing madness and boundary-pushing wackiness, it lost its soul. Rarely do we get a story that is both as sensationalist as it is sad, but that arrived in the form of Christian's encounter with his latest client. Gwen was a woman who engaged in life-threatening sex play, to subconsciously try and bring back her deceased mother and sister. It was a haunting and tragic story, with the insanity of the minor details being eclipsed by how sad this woman actually is.

The story also fed into the continued deconstruction of Christian. His connection with the nun was particularly moving, with Christian asking why she would have faith in God, since He's happy to sit by while a child is molested repeatedly. It was the collision of both subplots that provided so much depth to what could have been just a trashy detour into male prostitution.

But then we also have the trash and the shock with absolutely no depth. Skank monster Eden continues her reign of porno horror, intensifying her corruption of Annie. The story was pretty gross, with Annie sticking her fingers down her throat and giving blow jobs to schoolboys. Ugh. And the show continues to be writing everybody involved in this particular subplot as reprehensibly stupid. Sean is obsessed with Eden despite what she is doing to his little girl, while Julia believes that Eden is a fine influence on Annie, and that it's Sean who has the problem. All these people need to die in a fire. This Lolita x1000 story is trashy enough already, but don't insult my intelligence by writing these characters so badly, show.

Dawn Budge's return was a lot of fun, especially in her scenes with the doctors and the ingenuity of the character having her jaws wired shut and relying upon a chalkboard to communicate with ("BIRD FLU?"). But the Ass Bandit thing was dumb as all hell. It's never revisited again, only there to provide some offensive rape comedy with a gay man and a loud-mouthed woman. Gah. What were they thinking? Great work by Rosie and Oliver Platt here, though. Especially their consultation scene where Julian is clearly desperate to crack up.

Again, we have an episode that is tonally all over the place. It's like the show is being written by twelve different writers, unaware of all the storylines occurring, and just wildly pasting their portions of the script together. Sometimes it works well, but most of the time the results are pretty awful. B-


Guest stars Oliver Platt (Freddy Prune); Portia de Rossi (Olivia Lord); Rosie O'Donnell (Dawn Budge); Paula Marshall (Kate Tinsley); AnnaLynne McCord (Eden Lord); Claudia Christian (Gwen); Tamara Craig Thomas (Sister); Kelsey Lynn Batelaan (Annie McNamara); Jack Plotnick (Dr. George); Michael Monks (Mr. Blunt)
Writer Jennifer Salt Director Charles Haid

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