Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Kyle Ainge (5.11)

As this season progresses, it feels like the showrunners are veering further and further away from what they had initially created at the start of the year. Stories that everybody had assumed would be center stage (Eden and Olivia, the Sean/Christian rivalry) have fell away, while even the main cast seem to be increasingly absent. Matt and Kimber haven't appeared in weeks, Julia's forever bed-ridden and Liz has around three lines per episode. Nowadays we're presented episode upon episode consumed with disturbed women and increasingly more absurd storylines. Kyle Ainge, full of cannibalism, child abuse and build-a-bear murders, was a trainwreck.

Before I tear into the story itself, I need to say that Sharon Gless has been a revelation as the nutty non-agent Colleen Rose. She's unbalanced, desperately sad, bitter, conniving and irrational, and Gless is clearly relishing the opportunity to play such a toothy character. However, she's stuck in a storyline that is just completely insane. Colleen is one of those TV and film characters who are clearly mentally ill, yet everybody around her acts as if she's merely eccentric. Her execution of the CAA agent, involving plush overdose and eyeball-mushing, was like something out of a trashy horror movie. It'll get people talking around the watercooler, but that doesn't mean it isn't entirely ridiculous.

Meanwhile, we had two equally deranged subplots. One, involving Wilber's kindergarten teacher, her fetish for biting the kids in her care, and her subsequent veneer surgery to avoid persecution, was baffling in its stupidity. Equally silly was the patient of the week and his wife with a taste for cannibalism after a honeymoon accident. I guess that particular story could have been handled with some grace, but instead was rendered just another anvil of madness, because this show appears to be seeking out whatever off-center idea it can think of.

Finally, Gina's death was also treated like a cartoon; with sexually-graphic eulogies at her memorial service from her various suitors. What could have been interesting, an appearance from the man who actually gave Gina AIDS all those years ago, was casually dismissed after one scene. That would have been intriguing. Gina was a cartoon herself, but she deserved a classier send-off than this comedy shitshow.

Nip/Tuck's descent into freak-show melodrama has been hinted at for the last two seasons or so, but Kyle Ainge was truly the nadir of the series' quest for headline-grabbing insanity. Surely it can only get better from here... D

Guest stars Sharon Gless (Colleen Rose); Jeff Hephner (Kyle Ainge); Lily Rabe (Lanie Ainge); Kathleen Rose Perkins (Tabitha Maloney); Todd Cahoon (Bob Levitts); Jan Hoag (Margot); Scott Klace (Mourner); Jose Yenque (Manuel)
Writers Brad Falchuk, Hank Chilton Director Dirk Wallace Craft

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