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Nip/Tuck Goes Out with a Whimper

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For a show that's become known for pushing boundaries, Nip/Tuck went out not with a bang, but with a really lame whimper. Wednesday night’s series finale offered no cringe-worthy surgeries, no surprise hook-ups, no sudden deaths. Instead, we got a weak, rushed final hour that left me shrugging.

What did I expect, really? Season 7 was undoubtedly Nip/Tuck’s driest. Often criticized for its overuse of shock value, the series devolved into any other sub-par TV drama. All the “holy crap” moments were replaced with fights that'd been played out years before. Characters that we’d grown to love became shells of their formal selves. And Nip/Tuck’s final scene, Christian hitting on a Kimber-esque blonde at an airport bar, proudly proclaimed, “Hey, we’re back to square one!”

I don’t think that was the intention. I think the episode, which brought the McNamara family together (before splitting them apart) and offered that last homage to the series premiere, was designed to please fans who've stuck with this show from the beginning. And I have, sometimes against my better judgment. The quality has wavered over time, but even when Nip/Tuck wasn’t good, it was compelling. This season (and the finale in particular) felt like Nip/Tuck on tranquilizers, a collective “whatever” from the writers.

Am I being too harsh? Maybe. I know the show was never high art. Still, it was depressing to see these characters fizzle out so quietly. Where was the drama? And, on a larger scale, what was the point of this journey?

Let’s take a look at where everyone ended up, shall we? Matt, the perpetual screw-up, ditched his bride-to-be and ran off with the comically evil Ava. Julia, whose brief lesbianism seemed a great step forward for an often dull character, decided to flee to England with some rich guy she met off-screen. And alas, Sean and Christian: After all the growth, the struggles, the homoerotic subtext, they’re basically the same two guys. We even got a scene of the pair snorting coke and macking on Japanese porn stars. My, how far we’ve come? (And lest you think that sounds interesting, there wasn’t even any nudity. Poor form, Nip/Tuck.)

I’m not a fan of the phrase “jumping the shark,” because lots of shows take nosedives and then return with quality episodes. Nip/Tuck had a habit of being crappy one week and exceeding my expectations the next. I learned to live with it. But I thought we were getting somewhere—I was waiting for that big final explosion. Kimber returning from the dead! Matt and Ava literally killing each other! Sean and Christian admitting once and for all that they’re more than just friends!

What did I get? Some hugs. Some parting words. Some meta. It’s amazing I can muster this much anger over such a non-event finale, but I suppose one should never underestimate the passion of a disappointed fan. There will always be a place in my heart for Nip/Tuck, but this finale—and the episodes preceding it—will take some time to repress.

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