Nip/Tuck Season 5: Joyce & Sharon Monroe (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the latest episode of Nip/Tuck: Season 5 entitled Joyce & Sharon Monroe.
What’s the story? Sean (Dylan Walsh) and Christian (Julian McMahon) learn about the glamorous side of fame and the price that many are willing to pay for it when they agree to take on the case of two Marilyn Monroe look-alikes. Sean also tries to develop a relationship with Hearts N Scalpels co-star Kate Tinsley (Paula Marshall) while Christian attempts to outdo his colleague by appearing in a naked photo shoot. Both receive an unwelcome reminder of their past when Julia (Joely Richardson) visits with a surprise announcement.
Was it any good? Nip/Tuck may have lost its way in recent seasons, but it’s clear that they’ve decided to have some fun with season 5. Hence, while Joyce & Sharon Monroe continued to lack any real substance, it was mostly fun as Sean and Christian attempted to outdo each other’s success.
Julian McMahon continued to exhibit a nice line in self-depracating humour, while Dylan Walsh remained as angst-ridden as ever. The return of Joely Richardson’s Julia provided an amusing revelation but also provided a reminder of what an uninspired and weak character she had become.
Still, on the plus side, there were some nice performances from new cast members Paula Marshall (as Kate), Lauren Hutton (as the unsrupulous power agent Fiona McNeil), Merilee Brasch and Susan Griffiths (as Sharon and Joyce Monroe) and Bradley Cooper (as the over-hysterical actor Aidan Stone).
Digging a little deeper: Nip/Tuck is at its best when being outrageous without trying too hard. Hence, Joyce & Sharon Monroe proved a much more appealing episode than last week’s season opener.
The simmering rivalry between Sean and Christian provided plenty of entertainment, particularly as Christian continued to find himself on the back foot and struggling to cope with life in Sean’s shadow. But at least it provided him with the episode’s best moments, including the naked photo shoot (at which he needed an ogle of Fiona’s breasts to perform for the camera) and the final shot of him in a naked sandwich with the patched-up Monroe rivals.
McMahon got to express the range of emotions, too: brash and arrogant one minute, vulnerable and seeking forgiveness the next. He also mixes camp with male bravado to utterly convincing effect and the show is arguably at its best when he’s centre of attention.
Less successful was Dylan Walsh’s Sean, who always seems to be striving too hard to do the right thing. He’s a more predictable character than Christian and suffers as a result and the writers need to shake him up a little to really bring out the best in him.
The return of Julia was the episode’s big selling point, especially in light of the revelation she was now a lesbian. But it didn’t really carry that much shock value and seemed like a lame excuse to herald the return of yet another regular character. Perhaps there’s some raunchy sequences ahead involving Joely Richardson – but she remains one of the weaker elements of the series and threatens to interrupt its new-found impetus.
Of the new characters, I particularly liked Paula Marshall’s Kate Tinsley, who struck a near-perfect balance between sexy and vulnerable, while Lauren Hutton continues to be a cracking female foil for Christian. Hopefully, both will continue to feature prominently.
But with a sneak peek of next week’s instalment already promising the return of yet another past season regular (Sean’s son, Matt, played by John Hensley), there are dangerous signs that the series could yet find itself mired down by past failings.
The change of location suggested a fresh start with all-new characters, but three episodes in and almost everyone is back. Let’s hope their presence is short-lived so we can enjoy getting to know the new cast members…
What did you think?
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