Nip/Tuck Needs a Facelift

Show of hands: Does anyone care about Nip/Tuck at this point? I’m finding it harder and harder to give a damn myself, and I’ve toughed it out through six up-and-down seasons. Last night’s episodes were all about the characters letting themselves go. I had to ask myself—if they don’t care anymore, why am I still watching?

I suppose it's out of a sense of loyalty and some hilariously misguided optimism. The series is so close to being over, and I keep waiting for the climax I’ve been promised. But I’m starting to feel like I’ll still be waiting long after the final credits roll. Are the writers afraid to step things up so late in the game? Are they holding back so that the final OMG moments hit harder? Or—and this is my cynical guess—is everyone on the creative side as bored with Nip/Tuck as I am?

Let’s take another look at those characters and their dreadfully blase downward spirals. Christian’s done some dark things in the past, but gorging on KFC chicken skin has definitely got to be a new low. There was not a moment in the episode—well, barring his cathartic treadmill run at the end—during which Christian was not stuffing his face, be it with deep-fried badness or his patient, the gorgeous model Willow Banks (played by Chuck’s favorite Swede, Mini Anden). His health? His marriage? Neither seemed to be a concern. There wasn’t even a mention of his sons (remember them?) or the out-of-wedlock child he may be responsible for. Christian didn’t mind getting fat and scruffy. It’s almost as if he knows his show is ending.

Meanwhile, Sean began yet another affair with Kimber. (Yep, more plotline recycling. The writers are as lazy as their characters.) Was he worried about how all of this might affect his relationship with Christian? Not in the least. In fact, he noted his utter lack of guilt. I guess I can’t fault Sean for not caring anymore, since he and Christian have gone from loyal friends to begrudging partners. “Tell me, is there anything about me you still like?” Christian asked. “I don’t think so,” Sean shot back. Without hesitation, I might add.

I couldn’t muster enthusiasm for the case either. Willow wanted to look ugly because being attractive is a total burden. I’m sure it’s annoying getting hit on constantly, but were we really supposed to feel sorry for her? She ended up flying through a windshield after purposely slamming her car into a wall. (I might have been more shocked if they hadn’t spoiled that moment in the promo that aired last week.) Christian emerged mostly unscathed, but Willow got her wish. And then—another predictable “curveball”—realized she wanted her looks back. No such luck, but I don’t think I’ll be losing any sleep over her predicament.

I want to care about Nip/Tuck again, but for that to happen, I need Nip/Tuck to care about itself. I’m not just talking about Sean and Christian getting their acts together: The show as a whole needs to step it up, which I’ve been saying for the past several episodes. If only I could get the writers to listen. Maybe Willow Banks was a secret cry for help.

What did you think of the episode? What keeps you tuning in the show?

Follow writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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