Monday, April 11, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Roxy St. James (5.17)

Considering she is such a strong and versatile actress, it was a disgusting waste of time to hire Portia de Rossi to play such a nothing character. Olivia existed as a plot device, a vacuum to explain the presence of tramp temptress Eden, and to justify the barely-developed decision of making Julia a lesbian for all of five seconds. Olivia's death has little effect as a result; her sudden decision to get plastic surgery contrived, and her actual demise appearing to have few repercussions in the long run. There are a couple of attempts here to imply that Sean may have wanted her to die on his operating table so he could once again get together with Julia, but the Sean/Julia relationship is so exhausted and ridiculous at this point that we can't buy any of this. Roxy St. James did at least semi-resolve the lingering issue of Julia's shooting and Eden's disappearance, but it was an undeniable anti-climax. Sure, we have the Melrose Place-style 'ashes in the face' moment, but don't we all deserve better from this show?

Unlike last week, the Roxy St. James story managed to delicately balance human drama with high-camp insanity, creating a female character who believably resorted to desperate measures to quench her fears. Sure, the details of those desperate measures were ridiculous, but Dina Meyer, a great and hugely underutilized TV actress, managed to create a woman you genuinely believed to be so paranoid that she would slice off her own boob with an electric carving knife.

Jennifer Coolidge, another reliable actress who can inspire laughter regardless of the quality of material, was once again hysterical as Candy-slash-Coco. Coco's music video, with its pop culture references, garish splashes of color and obscene levels of satire, reminded me a lot of Ryan Murphy's first series Popular, reveling in the trashiness of the idea. It's pointless to note all the great lines, but I adored "Poteeto, potahto, french fry", as well as Nurse Linda singing along to Yo Stink!

Following immediately on from last episode, we also had the continued hoodoo between Christian and Liz. Liz's declaration that she's never had a real orgasm before Christian came along and that he's the first person that she's ever really loved were both pretty depressing. I appreciate that the show is giving Roma Maffia some actual material to work with, but it's disappointing that it's entirely destroying her character in the process. None of this story is believable.

Roxy St. James is probably the most cohesive episode in a while, with two surprisingly effective storylines. Meanwhile, the Olivia and Liz subplots come across as merely 'half-assed and ridiculous' and not 'disgustingly heinous' for a change, the latter an area this show has excelled at lately. B-

Guest stars Portia de Rossi (Olivia Lord); Jennifer Coolidge (Coco); AnnaLynne McCord (Eden Lord); Anthony Cistaro (Steven Ausbury); Keith Sellon-Wright (Dr. Kochman); Dina Meyer (Roxy St. James)
Writer Jennifer Salt Director Lyn Greene

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