Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fame's a killer

It's the mid-season finale for Nip/Tuck and the number one question on my mind is: What will it take for McNamara/Troy to finally get a security system? Seriously, throughout this season -- and really, throughout Nip/Tuck's existence -- folks have been breaking into both the offices and the home of the suddenly famous plastic surgeons, while Christian and Sean seemingly treat it as part of the job. Same goes for the set of Hearts & Scalpels -- even a restraining order for Colleen doesn't seem to inspire an increase in security. Ok, enough on that, and we'll table Colleen for later.

The theme of this episode was all about the price of fame, which is appropriate given McNamara/Troy's move to Hollywood. N/T's take here of course pales in comparison to what Ricky Gervaise did with the finale for Extras, an episode which did a better job on all fronts, but we'll try to look past that. Jennifer Coolidge reprises her Candy Richards role here, as an actress who's caught up in believing she's famous, when she's really just this week's dead girl on Law & Order SVU. Coolidge is great at the over-the-top performance, and it's a clue to the outrageousness of all that that follows. Her Candy character also threw out a reference to 'the locusts,' which, whether intentional or not, had me thinking of Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust, which tells the tale of Hollywood dreams gone sour - an appropriate reference to be sure.

Speaking of dreams gone sour, Julia's still alive after being shot in the head, but has still fallen victim to tired plot device #32: she's lost her memory. Sean, like Edie last season on Desperate Housewives, sees this as an opportunity to start fresh with Julia. We can already see how this ends -- even without the benefit of last season's flash-forward. Back to tightening security, why does anyone still trust Eden, exactly?

I can't help but think the 'Matt sleeps with his sister' story arc was put into play purely so we could hear Christian say: 'I can't believe I'm saying this, but you can't sleep with your sister again!'' That and to set up the above shot of Christian riding Emmy's amputee mother -- his bare ass splitting the uprights. Perhaps Emmy herself is a representation of the award, with the metaphor being winning the award is like making love to your half-sister - it may feel good on a certain level, but it's just not worth it. To be honest, I think N/T's days of trying to sleep with it's half-sister Emmy are now in the past -- let's hope it's the same for Matt.

Finally, let's get to the music, and, in turn, back to Colleen. At the end, when Sean begins to perform surgery on his daughter, we hear David Bowie's "Fame," which on the surface seems like a benign choice, given the theme, and the prior use of Irene Cara's similarly titled song. But let's not forget who else sings on Bowie's song. It's none other than John Lennon, who you'll remember was killed by a stalker/fan in Mark David Chapman. So even though there was no "Tubular Bells" to signal Colleen's entrance, like in the past, hearing Lennon's voice was a good clue that she was lurking with psychotic intentions. We'll have to wait until this summer now to find out Sean's fate -- and whether Colleen had Catcher in the Rye on her at the scene of the crime.

Other favorite lines this week:
"And people... let's try and save that camera, it's a damn good Leica!" - Sean acting in Heart & Scalpels, prepping his team to remove a camera from a paparazzi's anal cavity.
"If a tree falls in the forest, and there aren't a bunch of nerds with cameras there to record it, does it make a sound?" - Candy, on why she called the paparazzi.

Playlist: Nip/Tuck - Episode 5.14
1. "Fame" - Irene Cara - Candy's surgery
2. "Take A Picture" - Swizz Beatz - Candy sets up her exit for the paparazzi
3. "Fame" - God Lives Underwater - Sean and Christian are mobbed by paparazzi
3. "Fame" - David Bowie - Annie's surgery / Colleen stabs Sean
Compiled by Avalon at

More: While the song title is the key reference here, you could really just substitute Bill Wither's "Lovely Day" in place of "Take a Picture" as they just used the sampled intro, minus Swizz Beatz' vocals. And really, any excuse to listen to Withers is reason enough in my book.

Previously: Always a Critic (Episode 5.13)


MJAPA said...

This episode kind of fell flat for me. I was hoping for more. I guess since they didn't kill Julia, we all know they won't kill Sean. It is a bummer. I would have been way more into the episode if they had killed Julia off. Amnesia?!?! REALLY? I suddenly felt like I was watching Hearts and Scalpels, not Nip/Tuck ;-)
I wonder if they will even be back? I'm looking forward to Pushing Dasies to come back. That is the only show I am actually liking these days. I might actually spend some time outdoors this summer! haha!

drake leLane said...

I agree on the Hearts & Scalpels front. I thought perhaps that show-within-a-show premise would be a good way to keep the outrageousness compartmentalized, but it's hard to tell the difference between H&S and N/T anymore.

If we're to believe the flash forward episode from last season, everybody lives. Of the main cast, Kimber's the only one who isn't in the scenes.