Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Magda and Jeff (5.10)

Okay. Let me get this straight. She just got fucked off a building. If that isn't the nuttiest thing Nip/Tuck has ever done up till now, I don't know what is. I remember thinking that it was actually kind of refreshing that the show actually killed a major character. So much of the cast just linger around for years stuck in repeated plotlines that it really took some guts to cut Gina like that. I guess the writers really were sick of her, which is unsurprising. Gina, as a character, was stuck in the same exact storyline throughout her duration on the show. She's a deeply disturbed sociopath who appears on the scene with her trademark catchphrase, feigns normality, before exploding off the deep end around act three. It got old fast, but I guess that was her as a person.

Gina's actions throughout Magda and Jeff were a little unsteady. Is she in love with Christian? Or does she just want to have the satisfaction in knowing that she can wrap him around her finger? Is she still bitter over Julia and this is all a ruse to get back at her? I really liked that off-hand comment about Julia destroying Gina's spa dreams. I mean, what even happened with that doomed storyline back in season three? Heh. While Gina herself was a pain in the butt, I always did love how completely disgusting she was, from her graphic slurs to everybody around her, her obnoxious demeanor and how you genuinely believed she was a toxic cooch monster.

It's interesting that Magda and Jeff is probably the last real Hearts 'n Scalpels episode. Sure, there are a couple of stories related to it in the coming weeks, but this is the last time we see real scenes like the hilarious exorcism one glimpsed here, as well as the last time we see Freddy. That whole segment of the subplot this episode was great, from Aidan's embarrassingly brief sex tape to Kate's gleeful pride in dating a black guy.

The actual idea behind the story, that Sean would take over as the lead character on the show, was entirely contrived and silly, but I guess they were trying to aim for something like that all season. He's being corrupted by Hollywood, sleeping with naïve extras at the end, just like Aidan always did. It's still sort of dumb. Sharon Gless is another in a long line of memorable guest stars, playing Sean's mysterious new agent Colleen as half cutthroat businesswoman and half nutty basket case. She's a lot of fun to watch.

No fun at all was the stupid subplot with Magda, the sex-crazed elderly woman, and her gold-digging husband Jeff, trapped in a marriage to a woman who just won't die. Away from the desperate comedy of a horny old lady and the stupidity of the idea anyway, the story had no real resonance. Was it supposed to be a metaphor for Christian and Julia being trapped in their relationship? Meh. It was all pretty dumb.

Magda and Jeff never knows which tone to strike. You have the tragic horror of that final scene ("This is love"), as well as the comedy of the Aidan firing, to the gross-out laziness of the Magda character. It works in places, but the episode is still unquestionably messy. C+

Guest stars Oliver Platt (Freddy Prune); Bradley Cooper (Aidan Stone); Jessalyn Gilsig (Gina Russo); Sharon Gless (Colleen Rose); Paula Marshall (Kate Tinsley); AnnaLynne McCord (Eden Lord); Selma Stern (Magda); Robert Gant (Jeff Morris); Kevin Cooney (Dr. Hughes); Marlee Matlin (Barbara Shapiro)
Writer Hank Chilton Director Craig Zisk

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