Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nip/Tuck: Don Hoberman (6.1)

In Nip/Tuck's later years, there was always the sense that a season begins with a clear agenda and drive. Characters are well-utilized, plots unfold naturally, ideas are crafted. But, without a doubt, a couple of episodes in... the wheels fly off, and the series once again becomes the manic, ridiculous caricature that pretty much engulfed the second part of season five. Season six is no different, since Don Hoberman is an aggressively entertaining opener to the final year. The general theme is 'age'. Sean and Christian have hit emotional, physical and financial road-blocks, their stupid decisions threatening their business and their personal lives. It's an obvious route to go down for the final season, but it works.

It feels unusual to say this about any show, but credit should be given for the writers giving each member of the cast their own storyline. Kimber is randomly an electrolysis now and working closer with McNamara/Troy (the show presumably abandoning her 'hateful-bitch' season five persona), Liz is a vengeful black widow out for Christian's blood (or at least his money), and Matt has taken up mime. Liz's story is interesting, as her rage is more a result of her own stupidity than her hatred for Christian. She despises that she got suckered in, which is understandable. She was a dumbass last year. Matt's much-maligned exploits in 'mime thievery' are, in my opinion, surprisingly effective. The idea is obviously ridiculous, but it's so far being played in such a way that it's almost fascinating.

Rose McGowan steps in for Teddy, or at least a character with the same name. Teddy 2.0 is so far completely different to Katee Sackhoff's version, and more obviously a gold-digger than that annoyingly 'wild' and 'faux-subversive' hag last season. Rose isn't at all a great actress, but she's at least nailed that 'psychotic gaze into the distance' thing, which is repeated endlessly throughout her tenure on the show. Mario Lopez, too, makes an impression with his return as Dr. Mike. He's a complete sleazeball, but in a humorous and knowing way. Also loved the reference to his 'homoerotic shower experience' with Christian.

It's also important to mention how ridiculously funny this episode is: Linda Hunt's narration ("wound tighter than a hummingbird's asshole") is inspired, while the McNamara/Troy infomercial is a Nip/Tuck highlight. I loved the juxtaposition of Kimber calling herself an actress and model while the 'porn star' tag appears on the scream, loved the throwback to Christian's on-screen awkwardness, loved the Saved by the Bell freeze frame. It was hilarious, and a perfect resurgence of this show's humor.

Nip/Tuck always starts well and eventually goes to shit, but Don Hoberman has a momentum and general quality that has been lacking in what seems like forever. The characters are fun again, the soundtrack is gorgeous, and the visuals interesting. It feels like vintage show. Besides that awful masturbation scene. There's always something dumb as hell. A

Guest stars Rose McGowan (Dr. Teddy Rowe); Linda Hunt (Voice of Authority); Mario Lopez (Dr. Mike Hamoui); Wayne Knight (Jason Blum); Barry Bostwick (Roger Payne); Suzanne Kroll (Counter Lady); Shannon Sturges (Mrs. Brett)
Writer Ryan Murphy Director Brad Falchuk

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