Wednesday, October 06, 2004

NIP/TUCK

Ha ha ha ha ha!

I have the 2099 post half written, but after seeing the Nip/Tuck season ender last night, writing about this takes immediate precedence. Let me establish that this is a show that I have seen every episode of, even though I did not really like it that much when it began (this is one of the handful of shows we started watching because my wife insisted on it). In fact, I don’t think I can say I began to actually like it until some point in the second season, but now – yeah! This is a great show.

Laying my bias cards on the table, one reason that I was so slow to warm to it (along with the fact that it contains no truly likable characters) was that I have a general problem with the A plot the show maintained for a while. A lot of people, I think, have a particular aversion to specific plots (some people can’t stand kidnapping stories, some cringe at rape, etc.). I personally can’t stand the “family guy has his life and family dismantled due to some external force he can’t control” plot. The Denzel Washington movie Ricochet was extremely uncomfortable to sit through for me (this obviously taps in to some primal fear on my part). Nip/Tuck’s first season dealt heavily with the control exerted by drug dealer Escobar Gallardo, and how the blackmail threw Sean (the family man/asshole doctor) and Christian (the womanizer/prick doctor) into an ever-deepening spiral, jeopardizing Sean’s family, their practice, bank account, reputations, medical licenses, and futures. These plots were fairly well tied off at the end of the first season.

The second season won me over not by redeeming anyone or adjusting the plotlines, but by becoming so unhinged that I couldn’t help but respond to the psychotic elements of the drama. The season ender made me giggle with delight at the profoundly ridiculous revelations, but this show has earned its ludicrous moments by having established a deadly serious and high stakes tableau (much as a football team might develop the passing game by establishing the running game...uh, kinda). I cant go much further without a…

********************SPOILER WARNING******************




Famke Jansen’s a man, baby. How do we find out? The ol’ dip stick test. Just checking the oil, mam. Apparently Christian’s experience as both plastic surgeon and philanderer uniquely qualifies him to identify post-op trannies the old fashioned way. Who knew? And how about Alec Baldwin’s deliciously unreal performance? He is an actor well suited to playing fakey characters (like Col. Doolittle in Pearl Harbor – not a shred of reality in that performance), which is why he’s so good on SNL. His portrayal of Dr. Moore is such a great parody of a performance that I almost jumped up and down with delight. Also, the closing minutes of the episode closed off a lot of the possibilities for the “big mystery,” while bringing up new questions, just to drop us off on such an incredible cliff hanger! Bravo!

The big mystery is, of course, who is the serial rapist/disfigurer (The Carver) is. Being forever affected by the Green Goblin turning out to be Norman Osborn, my Stan Lee (not Steve Ditko) nature implores that the Carver must be someone we know well. Let’s take stock of where we stand with this puzzle. First, who’s (reasonably – anything is technically possible) ruled out?

1. Sean – was (halfway) disfigured on camera by the Carver, but was never a likely choice anyway (low emotional believability, low plot believability)

2. Christian – ruled out in the last scene of the season for same reason as Sean (seen in same place same time). Slightly more likely candidate than Sean before this final scene, but it would still have been a hard sell believability-wise.

3. Adrian – Dead before the attack on Christian, so out. Formerly the #1 suspect from a believability standpoint (unstable, seen buying knife), but probably too obvious.

4. Ava – On plane to Paris before Christian’s attack. Even before this, she was problematic due to his/her lack of a (current) penis (the victims were raped anally), but this could have been possible with a device, or as part of some co-conspiracy (with, for instance, Adrian). This goes for all the females on this list. Moot point for her, now.

5. Bobolit – Assume he’s in jail. Plus, he’s too known-to-be-crazy.

6. Annie, the McNamara Daughter – Too young, no penis, only mentally stable person on the show. Perfect daughter. Maybe too perfect. Hmmmm, not so fast…

So, who are the prime suspects left (in no particular order):

1. Sofia Lopez – My wife’s big lead. Although essentially absent this season, she/he (I can’t believe how often I have to type that for this show) is unstable enough, and has issues with the surgery. Bonus points for being mentioned in the last episode in order to get a transgender councilor to show Sean and Christian Ava’s records (eliciting an ambiguous response from said councilor). Still has a penis (I think).

2. Kevin – Not a lot in the way of knowing what makes this guy tick, but making Julia’s boyfriend the maimer would be the kind of kill two narrative birds with one stone cop out that often turns out to be the answer. Say it with me now, he has a penis.

3. Dr. Moore – Pro: acts like a serial killer, making him a candidate for the similar m.o.’d carver, has plastic surgery issues. Con: late introduction may feel like a cheat. Has penis, will travel.

4. Any other male plastic surgery recipient – frostbite guy, or even the earlier Carver victim can’t be ruled out because they all have issues, and the all have penises.

5. Liz – The sentimental favorite. Some think she is some kind of moral center on the show because she bitches about how “what we’re doing is wrong” before doing it, but I think this makes her the morally weakest and most despicable character. Has issues with plastic surgery and the cult of beauty, and is not liked well by the fans. Would need to solve the “how did she rape them” problem common to all the females on the list.

6. Kimber – No brainer inclusion. Recent increased mental stability actually makes it MORE likely she’s the one, and boy, does she have the specific issues necessary.

7. Gina – Too weak with HIV now? Has all the issues necessary, but this one just feels wrong.

Some of the less likely ones:

Matt – OK, no one wants this one, but once Adrian was eliminated, some of that focus has to shift to Matt. He seems too stable, but does have some issues that could act as a raison detre for the Carver. Not really a credible choice. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, he has a penis.

Natasha – Disfigurement too symmetrical for a blind girl, but you have to at least consider her.

James Sutherland – Lives far away, but has a morally righteous streak, and a penis.

Grace (Dr. Santiago) – Has to be mentioned because of a big prior part in the show, and issues with Sean, Christian, and plastic surgery in general. Unlikely.

Julia – Weak choice, but needs to be mentioned. Same believability issue as with Matt, Sean and Christian.

Anybody who watches this show have any ideas?

3 Comments:

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Bill said...

I've been wondering if the Carver storyline isn't somehow connected to Matt's hit-and-run from the first season: we haven't really seen any profound or lasting repercussions from that act . . .

 
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