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Nip/Tuck: Season 5 - Review

Nip/Tuck, Season 5

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

THE fifth season of Nip/Tuck attempted to freshen things up by having its lead duo, Sean McNamara and Christian Troy, head to Los Angeles in search of a new beginning. Sadly, in spite of some early promise, the series plummeted to a new low.

Creator Ryan Murphy’s show has always been one to push the envelope of good taste and largely had its brains in its pants. But then for a series about cosmetic surgery, you really didn’t expect anything other than superficial entertainment at its overblown best.

Whereas season one through to three largely achieved this, season four and five did not. In search of ever more outlandish/offensive ideas, the show frequently veered off the rails. By the time season five drew to its unlikely conclusion, the show had lost all touch with reality, and frequently felt distasteful.

Admittedly, there was some mirth to be found in Sean and Christian’s early endeavours in LA, especially as Sean (Dylan Walsh) became an unlikely sex symbol by landing a TV spot on a daytime soap and stole Christian (Julian McMahon)‘s thunder (much to his chagrin).

OTT guest appearances from the likes of Oliver Platt and Bradley Cooper as, respectively, the producer of the soap and its main star also helped to inject some new energy into proceedings. While the usually volatile relationship between Sean and Christian continued to be spiky.

But having boldly sought a new direction, the writers then couldn’t help but revert to formula. Gradually, almost every character from the Miami set-up found some way of joining Sean and Christian in LA., including Matt McNamara (John Hensley), whose relationship with a rehabilitation counsellor following a traumatic incident of his own felt false and unlikely from the start.

Likewise, the returns of Kimber, Julia (who was slowly being poisoned throughout the series by the jealous daughter of her lesbian lover) and Liz all brought about recollections of past stories and histories that felt like the writers were desperately running out of new ideas. The fresh start began to carry the whiff of staleness as the stories involving ‘old favourites’ became increasingly desperate.

This even applied to the new stories by the halfway point of the series, with Sharon Gless’ psychotic fake agent a poor replacement for previous psycho, The Carver.

By the time Christian had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the show finally reached a nadir. It couldn’t even treat the cancer storyline with respect or sensitivity, as Sean’s need to enhance his male ego and sex drive leading to unlikely stories involving a fellow patient who sliced her own breasts off in a bid to prevent cancer developing, and Sean sleep-raping/shagging lesbian colleague Liz.

She kind of objected, kind of fell in love, questioned her sexuality and even went down the aisle with Sean in one of the more absurd story arcs.

It’s a shame… because Nip/Tuck was formerly one of TV’s guiltiest pleasures. But as the final credits rolled on this fifth and penultimate season, one stark and unavoidable reality was abundently clear: Nip/Tuck is now utter rubbish, with not even the two formerly charismatic lead characters appearing worthy of our sympathy or involvement.

I doubt I’ll even bother to tune in and find out how the show’s creators wrap things up – it’s that bad!

Certificate: 18
Episodes: 22
UK DVD Release: January 18, 2010