Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Manny Skerritt (5.19)

There comes a point where the boundaries of the word 'flawed' are truly stretched. The mantra throughout the years of Nip/Tuck was always that its core ensemble of characters were 'flawed' people. We stuck by their repeated bouts of cheating, murder, abuse and torment because they were all in some way 'flawed'. But how reprehensible can a character's behavior become before their 'flawed' persona slips straight into 'disgusting and ugly' territory? Manny Skerritt saw Christian and Kimber hit new lows, scheming together and injecting baby Jenna's lips with collagen and attempting to justify it via a couple of lines about 'insuring Jenna's financial future', or something similarly bogus. It was just a truly ugly storyline, the series pushing its characters into previously unheard of depths of depravity.

Just like the way certain people believe that 'not being fake' can justify rudeness and cruelty, the episode perpetuated that belief that being 'free' and 'wild' is the same as being 'gross'. Teddy Rowe, played in a series of breathy lisps and skin-crawling faux-sexiness by Katee Sackhoff, is the latest in a long line of cartoons for this show. Taking photographs of a patient's penis while he's under anesthetic isn't funny, while the show dragging Sean and poor Nurse Linda into this hotbed of sleaze was unfortunate. Especially Nurse Linda. Yeesh. Don't give her something so character-destroying as that cringeworthy "Namaste home with it all night and play with it, oh yeah!" line. Ugh.

Onto the decent elements of the episode, Bradley Cooper managed to salvage his ridiculous subplot with his genius comic timing. Aidan's a genius comedy character, his desperate attempts to appear successful ("Paddy D... Dempsey"), his latent homosexuality ("What if I put my lips on it"), and his complete self-absorbtion creating one of the best recurring characters in a long while. The story he was stuck in was just another lazy Nip/Tuck subplot involving an obscure sexual practice, but Cooper made it work somehow. Great cameo from Morgan Fairchild, too, giving an uncanny Sharon Gless impersonation. Maybe it was those glasses...

I don't know if the writers were just tired at this point (season five being the longest year they'd done so far), but so many elements recently have been ugly boundary-pushing and ridiculous sex-related hijinks from guest stars. There are obviously elements that still work, but most of the cast is seriously phoning it in. I couldn't help but read into Aidan's opinions about Sean's friends and family. Julia's boring, Christian's redundant. It's almost like an in-joke from the writers. Do they even care at this point? D+

Guest stars Bradley Cooper (Aidan Stone); Morgan Fairchild (Herself); Katee Sackhoff (Dr. Teddy Rowe); Misha Collins (Manny Skerritt); Tim Conlon (Steve Meyer); Jeff Witzke (Steve Freedman)
Writer Ryan Murphy Director Dirk Wallace Craft

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