Warner Bros. // 2010 // 785 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // June 8th, 2010
Change what you can. Hide what you can't.
For some reason I abandoned Drs. McNamara and Troy when they shipped off to L.A. Part of my abandonment was caused by a feeling that the whole show had gotten a little bit too ridiculous in the fourth season, and part of it was a feeling that by leaving Miami, the show was abandoning one of the things that made it interesting (i.e., it wasn't just another show about rich people in Los Angeles). When the sixth season arrived for review, I caught up on what I'd missed during Season Five. I was surprised to note that even though the season was twice as long, the series burned through ideas twice as fast. It seemed like arcs (take Sean in the wheelchair, for instance) that would have taken at least two or three episodes to resolve were instead zipped through in just one. This gave Season Five an energy that had been lacking since Season Two, slowly bringing me back into the fold. Now, Nip/Tuck: The Sixth and Final Season builds on the strengths of Season Five, bringing back old friends and introducing new twists. It won't win any fans, but those who've stayed along for the ride will be content with the conclusion of the show.
When last we left TV's favorite plastic surgeons, Christian (Julian McMahon, Fantastic Four) had just discovered he didn't have breast cancer. He went on his honeymoon with Liz (Roma Maffia, Profiler), but as the season opens, he tells her he doesn't want to be married to her now that he's not dying. Meanwhile, both he and Sean are feeling the economic downturn, which is giving Sean insomnia. They decide to bring Dr. Mike Hamoui (Mario Lopez, Saved by the Bell) into the practice to help the bottom line. Throughout the season, they meet friends old and new while struggling with money and each other.
All nineteen episodes are presented on five discs:
* "Don Hoberman"
* "Briggette Reinhart"
* "Jenny Juggs"
* "Abigail Sullivan"
* "Alexis Stone"
* "Alexis Stone II"
* "Lola Wlodkowski"
* "Benny Nilsson"
* "Wesley Clovis"
* "Dan Daly"
* "Willow Banks"
* "Joel Seabrook"
* "Sheila Carlton"
* "Virginia Hayes"
* "Christian Troy II"
* "Dr. Griffin"
* "Walter and Edith Krieger"
* "Hiro Toshimura"
The one thing I'm really going to miss when Nip/Tuck is gone is Dr. Christian Troy. I can't think of a more well-drawn and compelling character on television. I'd take him over Tony Soprano and Al Swearengen any day. He's a monumentally screwed-up person who treats people like dirt -- an obvious sociopath -- but the way that Julian McMahon plays him he's also a vulnerable man who desperately needs redemption and love. I'm glad Christian's not in my life, but it's a treat to watch him try to become human. It's one of the more perfect marriages of actor and character in television history, and Christian's machinations in Season Six are especially fascinating. The ying to Christian's yang, Sean McNamara, gets to expand his range a little bit this season as well. The Teddy arc from Season Five saw him coming out of his shell a little bit, and Dylan Walsh gets to take Sean to some pretty dark places in this season as well. We're also treated to the story of the early years of their partnership, which is so good I almost wish they'd had this episode a couple of seasons ago.
Walsh and McMahon highlight one of Nip/Tuck's strengths: no matter how ridiculous the storyline (and, let's face it, the show has taken viewers to some pretty unbelievable places), the show's strong actors keep everything on an even keel. All the series regulars (McMahon and Walsh, but also Roma Maffia, Joely Richardson, and Kelly Carlson) are fantastic, and the actors who make less frequent (like Mario Lopez) or even one-off appearances are all perfectly cast as well.
The show also musters some interesting stories for its final season. I don't want to give anything away, but the Sean/Teddy relationship takes some interesting turns, as does Matt's interest in acting and mime. Obviously Dr. Hamoui returns, but he's not the only previous character to make a comeback, and fans are sure to enjoy where some of those ghosts from the past turn up. Naturally, we're still talking about ridiculous people living ridiculous lives, and not always with the greatest of psychological realism, but Nip/Tuck has been riding the soap opera wave for a while now. Compared to previous seasons, the heat isn't turned up quite as high this time out, but the individual stories are still interesting.
The surgeries this time out are also interesting, although not as much as in previous seasons. Highlights include McNamara/Troy providing lipo for a condemned man so accurate lethal injection doses can be provided, and my personal favorite, where the Drs. help "fix" a young man who has had 666 scarred into his forehead. None of the surgeries this season hit the ridiculous heights (like say, "pussy lips") from previous seasons, but they still do a good job providing a mirror for the emotional lives of the characters.
Bonus: if you've always wanted to see the hypermacho A.C. Slater of Saved by the Bell in women's lingerie, this is the season for you. Plus, there's Kimber in a fat suit. I won't give away the details, but it's precisely these kind of wickedly ridiculous moments that make Nip/Tuck so compelling.
The final season of Nip/Tuck is presented on DVD in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and these transfers look good. Detail is strong, colors are vibrant, and there are no significant compression problems to speak of. The 5.1 surround track does great with the dialogue and the show's use of music (which was spot on in this season, including cuts from Shriekback and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds). The lone extra this time out is a featurette on the "psychology behind plastic surgery." I know Ryan Murphy is busy with Glee, but some commentaries, a retrospective featurette, or some discussion of Nip/Tuck's effect on television culture would have been nice.
This is still the same old Nip/Tuck. Its frank depiction of shallow sex and violence will likely offend many people, and its unabashed soap operatics will turn off those who want realism. The Sean versus Christian antics of the last half of the season aren't perfect, either. I think the show works better when McNamara and Troy present a united front against the insanity of the outside world.
This is it for McNamara and Troy, and they go out in style. As with their patients, this sixth and final season allows the boys to stay young forever, and we never have to see them grow old or stale. Although the extras leave a little to be desired, the technical aspects of this release are first-rate. Thankfully the whole season has been packaged together (unlike Season Five), so fans will want to pick this one up.
They've made it this far, so for bowing out gracefully, Nip/Tuck is not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2010 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 785 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated