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Nip/Tuck - Season 4 debut (Review)

Nip/Tuck, Season 4

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE fourth series of Nip/Tuck got underway in typically outrageous style on Sky One on Monday night (January 8, 2007) but the thrill is diminishing in spite of some nice touches.

The episode opened as Sean (Dylan Walsh) and Christian (Julian McMahon) celebrated a milestone surgery by hitting the town. Sean then went home to have sex with his pregnant wife Julia (Joely Richardson), leaving Christian to “entertain” a mother and daughter combo (played by Tracy Scoggins and Brianne Davis).

Having reached a suitably sensational pre-credits climax, the episode then presented the plastic surgeons with an elderly businessman (Larry Hagman) in search of bigger balls and a phone sex operator (Kathleen Turner) requiring some work on her voice.

Oh, and let’s not forget Christian’s trip to the shrink (Brooke Shields) to be informed that he may be gay and harbouring an unrequited love for Sean. Or Julia’s revelation that their unborn baby had been diagnosed with claw hands.

Episode four certainly opened with a bang (pardon the pun) but the overall result wasn’t as satisfying as normal. Perhaps that’s because the writers were trying to throw too much into one episode. Or because in consistently trying to find new ways to shock, the show has started to run out of inspiration.

Far from taking the breath away, Cindy Plumb – to give the episode its name – had the feel of a show that’s beginning to feel its age – much like the principal characters.

Many of the dilemmas facing Sean in particular have a repetitive feel, particularly in light of the new relationship difficulties he faces with Julia.

And the decision to saddle Christian with “a gay revelation” feels like a bit of desperation – especially since he had done nothing in the previous three series to even hint at undisclosed feelings.

That said, the episode did manage to entertain on a certain level and benefited from some really clever guest appearances.

Both Hagman and Scoggins are veterans of soap operas Dallas and Dynasty respectively and seemed to be enjoying their new moment in the spotlight.

Hagman has more to come we feel, while Scoggins’ vampish mother made sure that she remained one of Christian’s most memorable conquests.

Nice, too, was Turner’s appearance as a husky throated phone sex operator, who was afforded a wonderful one-on-one with Sean that reminded viewers of what an incendiary actress she can be (despite looking deliberately old and haggard).

But Brooke Shields’ wasn’t afforded enough screen-time, or a decent enough script, to be anything other than a sex object for Christian and was last seen being taken from behind in a cameo that gave new meaning to the term “thankless” (although we’re expecting to see a lot more of her).

As ever, the chemistry between Sean and Christian remained sparkling, while the decision to sell their partnership looks set to give rise to some massive complications.

But as fun as aspects of the series premiere were, the show struggled to escape the sense that in trying to cram so much in to be outrageous, it’s power to shock has diminished.