Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Always a critic

This week's Nip/Tuck got kind of ugly. First of all, 'ugliness' was the prevailing theme, both inside an out -- a central theme in the series since it's premiere. When Sean received a terrible review for his work on Hearts & Scalpels, from a fictional Entertainment Weekly critic named August Walden, he rushes out to confront him, all to the tune of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla." It's a truly fitting song for more than just ugliness that follows. BOC were themselves sort of a product of critics -- manager Sandy Pearlman and occasional lyricist Richard Meltzer wrote for Crawdaddy!, the first magazine of rock criticism in the U.S. Music supervisor PJ Bloom occasionally throws in little nuggets like this, which really keeps me watching more than anything else.

Naturally, it turns out that the critic Walden is an ugly little troll of a man and his appearance is the reason for his endless terrible reviews of tinseltown's finest, which Sean points out to him in an ugly fashion. Is this really what Ryan Murphy thinks of TV critics? Sean later apologizes when Walden comes in for a consult, but the viciousness behind the scenes really felt cheap and ultimately pointless in the end. The Walden character is shown to be just as vain as anyone else, getting surgery to improve his appearance and perhaps his reviews. The surgery is done to the -- perhaps too obvious -- song "The Ugly Duckling," sung by Danny Kaye (born from his turn as Hans Christian Andersen.)

To cheapen it some more, after the surgery is a success, Walden is subjected to 2nd degree burns from another actor's ugly vengeance from another of his reviews. The song playing when this happens is Jerry Vale singing "Mala Femmina," a song written by the great Italian actor Totò, about the paradoxical ugliness of his ex-wife. The song title translates as 'evil woman' and the lyrics convey a beautiful woman full of ugliness. The Sopranos used the song to great effect in season four (episode 4.04, "The Weight"). Of course, the best character for this song would be Eden, the embodiment of "mala femmina."

Julia discovers Eden's plot is death by mercury poisoning, and it serves as an interesting commentary the slow poisoning of citizens everywhere by these means. The current administration has been ignoring mother nature's warnings for too long, and no longer can we trust the 'P' in EPA. Somehow, folks still trust Eden, though, enough so that Julia's guard is down at the end allowing her to get her gun. Now we just have to wait and see if that flash-forward from last season featuring (a very alive) Julia will need to be reinterpreted/thrown out or not.

Meanwhile, if that weren't enough, Matt is back (collective 'groan',) and that means something f*cked up is going to happen. The 'previously on Nip/Tuck' intro reminded us of all the stupid things Matt falls into: Unwittingly dating a tranny, beating up another tranny, dating a white supremacist, Scientology, crystal meth... need I go on? Well, after the rejection by his burn victim/therapist girlfriend, Matt has sex with a patient who turns out to be his half-sister, to N/T's favorite band Gotan Project ("El Capitalismo Foraneo.") Matt's always been good at justifying his actions by cherry-picking research, and he finds the most f*cked up website I've ever heard of, one that explores the positives of brother-sister incest. As long as they didn't grow up together -- and use protection -- they're alright. Ugh.

Playlist: Nip/Tuck - Episode 5.13
1. "Godzilla" - Blue Oyster Cult - Sean confronts August Walden at coffee shop
2. "So weit" - Urbs - Julia walks in on Christian having sex with another woman
3. "The Ugly Duckling" - Danny Kaye- August’s facial reconstructive surgery / Emme's post-surgery reveal
4. "El Capitalismo Foraneo" - Gotan Project - Matt hooks up with Emme/find out their siblings
5. "Mala Femmina" - Jerry Vale - August returns to coffee shop, has coffee thrown in his face
Compiled by Avalon at

Previously: Cougar Crazy (Episode 5.12)


MJAPA said...

The first thing I thought after I watched last night's episode was that I could not wait to see your take on it! What is with the themes this season? Every show had one.
Maybe they will kill everyone off in the finale and start next season where they ended last season back in Florida. The whole season was a long dream! Would make sense since Sean got so much attention this season, became a movie star, etc...

drake leLane said...

I almost didn't want to do any post on it at all, because the critic storyline turned my stomach so. But in the end, I just couldn't resist pointing out the Blue Oyster Cult - critic connection.

One more person to be killed off, and if last season's flash forward episode is to be believed, then it can't be Sean, Christian, Matt or Julia that die (as much as I often dream of Matt and Julia's collective -- and no doubt histrionic -- demise).