Season 5 Episode 16

Gene Shelly

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jan 13, 2009 on FX

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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  • Sexual Identity Written by Lyn Greene And Richard Levine Directed by Richard Levine

    Rajesh (to Gene): "Let me tell you what I don't like about yourself".

    The more and more I hear that line, the more it still remains quite funny. Of course if you were a would be client at McNamara/Troy, the last thing you'd want is a precocious seventeen year old being that critical of your appearance.

    Two episodes in and Rajesh is still a pretty promising character. The guy doesn't quite have a filter just yet but his one-liners are certainly fun and he adds to the Sean/Christian/Liz dynamic effectively well.

    I know there's a lot of viewers out there who are probably less taken with the character but I do find him suitably charming enough and if having one of the Shelly's go down on you is anything to go, then perhaps that Rajesh is perfect for McNamara/Troy after all.

    Two other key moments in this episode for the character is when he blurts out to Sean that Christian and Liz had sex. It's moments like that make you remember in spite of his genius, Rajesh really is just a teenager, immature and all. Still made for a good moment though.

    The other significant moment is his horror when he realised that Tracy is a pre-op transsexual and immediately it's Liz that Rajesh feels comfortable talking about this to. Maybe Rajesh knew instinctively that both Sean and Christian wouldn't be quite as helpful or sympathetic on the topic.

    Tackling the debate of whether or not Rajesh is gay I'd say no but clearly he isn't exactly beating would be girlfriends off with a stick either. His advice to Liz at the end of the conversation endeared him to me but hey, anyone has to be an improvement on Eden right?

    Of course Rajesh's minor little moment of sexual identity crisis is nothing compared to what the writers have got cooked up with Liz. Much as I love this show (and I do loads), unlike series such as Six Feet Under or Brothers And Sisters, the writers haven't exactly been brilliant in their gay storylines.

    Liz is a wonderful character and probably the only remaining regular on the show who you could put up on a pedestal but let's have a look at her history, shall we. We've got Jan, who we never met, Sophia, which was too brief, Poppy, who was downright annoying, Wendy, who was really straight and also unseen and a minor crush on Olivia as well as the one nighter who nicked her kidney and that's about it.

    In other words poor Liz has had a disaster area of a love life, most of which for viewers has never been fully fleshed out. When I heard that she and Christian were going to end up sleeping together I was less than pleased and this was certainly the harder plot to get through in this episode.

    I suppose it's not implausible for a gay woman to sleep with a man in the same way that a straight woman can experiment with another woman. However with this show, the sex scenes are just creepy and Christian and Liz's certainly pushed the uncomfortable factor up a couple of notches if I'm honest.

    Technically from what we saw, it could've been construed as rape. Christian assumed Liz was asleep and Liz thought the same of Christian and when Rajesh outed them, he bragged about getting his mojo back. That is pretty much atypical Christian but I can understand Liz's annoyance towards and I certainly enjoyed her insulting his sexual prowess.

    However the consequence of this story is that Liz is now seemingly attracted to Christian, which kind of sucks to be honest. One of the best things about Liz was that she wasn't attracted to Christian for obvious reasons and now that she might be, I'm not particularly enthused as to where this storyline.

    Also true to form, Christian played on Liz's nurturing side this episode. Earlier on, he wasn't pleased with her efforts to take care of him and when his luck with both Kimber and Kitty the hooker sank like a lead balloon, Liz suddenly became a lot more attractive to him.

    Despite the fact that she's an absolute malicious halfwit, it's nice that Kimber finally has Christian sussed. While she was completely out of line for saying that him getting cancer was karmic, she did have every right to attack him about his treatment towards women. It's just a pity that Kimber doesn't seem to have any self awareness about herself. When she started talking about motherhood being so stressful, I was fit to bend over laughing. The only people who interact with Jenna on a regular basis in Kimber and Ram's shag pad are probably staff.

    Then there was Kitty the hooker. Up until the point where she assaulted Christian and nicked his medication, I was finding her quite amusing. After that, not so much a fan. Still Christian must be pretty desperate if he now has to pay for sex. However his knack for actually being awesome every now and then played into Sean's plot this week.

    First off all, I feel for Sean, I really do but faking a paralysis is just downright stupid and although Julia and Matt are far from saints, they did have every right to be mad at him. Sean was already in the doghouse with Julia over lying to her about them still being married so that really should've been an incentive for him to stop.

    Heck even when his physical therapist had sussed him out, Sean should've gave in and confessed. The only thing that did make him give in was Daphne's creepy baby fetish which would make any man run for the hills. Instead Sean just revealed he could walk as he threw her out.

    The awesome part about Christian is that instead of joining in with Matt and Julia's angry villager mentality, he used some emotional blackmail to get Sean to agree to operate on him. Actually what Christian said was genuinely sweet and while Sean shouldn't be pressured into performing surgeries if he isn't ready, at least Christian's words made him stop pretending that he couldn't walk.

    Also in "Gene Shelly"

    Apart from Gene Shelley and much discussion about Christian's reconstruction surgery, we didn't get too much scalpel action this week.

    Christian: "Stop it! You've been a lesbian so long you forgot that men don't like to be petted when they're puking".
    Liz: "Gotcha".

    What is going to happen with the Hearts And Scalpels segment of the series? Is it gone for good?

    Julia: "I just don't know why you would lie to me like that. Tell me that we're still married".
    Sean: "I guess at the time, I thought it would help".
    Julia: "Who – you or me?"

    Kimber: "You have no idea. Maybe a little with the cancer but being a mother? It's stressful".
    Christian: "I bet".

    Um, actually Christian WOULD have an idea. He's a single parent to Wilbur for crying out. At least Kimber has Ram as well as more staff than Gloria I presume.

    Kimber (to Christian): "Bet that made you feel like a real man, throwing me around like that. I feel sorry for you, Christian, I do but when you look at all the emotional scars you've left on other women over the years. I'm surprised this didn't happen to you sooner".

    Lila (to Sean): "I enjoy role playing. It's a lot more fun than sitting around watching the soaps all day".

    While Julia doesn't seem to remember that Eden shot her, Kimber revealed that Eden was living with her and Ram. I'm guessing Olivia is unaware of Eden's dabbling into porn then.

    Gene: "Trace and I, we like to stay open minded".
    Christian: "Well, next time open your mind and your mouth somewhere else".

    Christian: "No, I have cancer".
    Kitty: "No refunds if you can't get it up".
    Christian: "I'll be fine".
    Kitty: "As long as you're not contagious".

    It's amazing that both Kimber and Kitty made remarks about Christian's cancer being something they could catch. Kimber's laughter at his scar was cruel.

    Christian: "What do you think Lizzie, one peck or two?"
    Liz: "One. I don't think your chest needs any more inflating".

    Rajesh: "Liz Cruz. You and Dr Troy had sexual intercourse!"
    Sean: "You and Liz had sex?"
    Christian: "Yes, Lizzie was there for me. She spread her legs and made me feel good".
    Liz: "You were awake?"
    Christian: "Yeah, I got my mojo back".

    How on Earth could Liz not have thought that Christian and why didn't she stop him either?

    Rajesh: "I'm praying to free myself from impurity and sin".
    Liz: "Aim high".

    Rajesh: "Thank you, Liz Cruz. I think you are a beautiful lesbian or non lesbian, whatever you decide". Standout music: "How Deep Is Your Love" by The Bird And The Bee stood out the most for me as well as Rajesh's singing.

    Christian (to Sean): "Must be exhausting having to take care of everyone else. All I wanna say is stay in that chair as long as you need to. As far as the surgery's concerned it can wait, as long as it takes, alright?"

    Chronology: Presumably a week or two since "Ronnie Chase".

    Slimy sex scenes aside, I did think that "Gene Shelly" was a tad stronger than the previous episode. I'm not entirely sure of Liz's sexual identity crisis plot line but hopeful her attraction to Christian (if there really is any) is short lived and that the Eden thread will be resolved sooner rather than later.
  • The Lesbian REALLY???

    I was in such shock over Christian and Liz hooking up. they kinda of showed it in the preview but I didn't think that it was really going to happen. The whole thing with the new boy was killing me. I though that it was funny that he thought that he might be gay cause he messed around with what he thought was a girl but was really a boy. I am so glad that his no longer in the chair that was really bothering me that he was faking it. The whole baby thing was so funny it was a great storyline. This show has some of the best writers.
  • Kimber ... seriously. OMG.

    God, if Christian pulled cancer into himself, what kind of karmic beatdown left Kimber carved, poisoned, mutilated and naked on the side of the road after being abducted from her wedding? For her to ridicule him at such a moment ... she is a toxic thing. And from the previews, she just gets worse.

    I did love how horrible she was with Wilber's nanny. "Hey, you're a person in the room. Let me give you hundreds of dollars and my child!" :D

    I like Raj. He reminds me of one of my favorite lines from "Dangerous Liaisons": "Like most intellectuals, he is intensely stupid." He may be a genius, but he's so naive, you just see how he's going to stumble into all sorts of bad situations.

    This was an interesting episode for its continued exploration of gender, identity and orientation. Liz gets off with Christian under less than fully disclosed circumstances, and Raj gets off with a dude he thought was a woman.

    The Liz and Christian liaison I thought was especially nice, although it didn't seem entirely consensual -- Liz "came round" to the idea. She's been there for him so much in all of this -- cared for him, signed on as Wilber's legal guardian. Christian desperately needed to feel accepted, and she ... well, honestly, I can't imagine how weird that had to have been for her -- "Do I ... um, Christian? Do I wake him up? Or ... mmmm ..."

    The backpedalling, anger and spite the next day was no less than he deserved, btw. He was a real jerk.

    As for Sean ...

    I really think this show portrays women in the absolute worst way, and Sean's little chippie from class is only the latest in a string of really awful encounters. I suspected her infantilizing nature from her first encounter, and I know he's in a bad place but I couldn't believe Sean would let her keep up that "mama" and "baby" routine. It only got more pronounced as the show went on, and when he found himself diapered that was only the logical extreme of something he'd otherwise been encouraging.

    I can respect the urge, after what he's been through, to want to be babied and pitied and looked after, and Sean needs some gentle handling. They both do. They both need to find a harem of selfless, caring women to rebuild their trust and faith in humanity and their ability to love and reach out, because these men are deeply scarred and broken, and until the final scene, they couldn't even reach out to each other.

    Let the healing begin.

    Incidentally, I liked the patient this week. I think this show is at it's best when it's exploring issues of self-worth, perception and identity, and how exteriors are often entirely disconnected from interiors. This show's strength is in its characters, and it's nice to get some more characters in the mix, with the Conor and Julia sighting (she was present but didn't ruin anything, which was good) and the heads-up on where Eden is and what's going on with everyone else.

    This, to me, was just a much more satisfying installment than last week's, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it's heading. :)
  • This episode is most notable for its recycled plots, sensationalism, and shallow characterizations.

    This show ceased to be artful as soon as it won the Golden Globe, and this episode was further proof. How many times do they need to show Christian's vomit before the audience "gets it"? Yes, cancer sucks. But I already knew that, having lost my mother, father-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, and three aunts to cancer. A balance between the graphic and the subtle is far more persuasive than this constant stream of "let's see how gross we can be before the censors shut us down." The sex scene between Christian and Liz was unwatchable, and Raj's miraculous realization of what had happened between them was preposterous. Rather than actually taking the time for Christian and Liz to deal with the aftermath, and for the truth to come to light as a result of their own internal struggles, Raj just read their minds. This insensitive, self-involved, teenage medical phenome suddenly had the empathy and the people skills to intuit what Christian and Liz weren't saying. This storyline could be wonderful if handled well, but so far - well, I'd call it a train wreck, but a train wreck would be more interesting. The diaper was predictable. Not clever, not funny, not insightful. It didn't even work as a metaphor. Sean allowed the floozy to treat him like a baby because she was hot, not because she was filling some psychic need in him. It was her fantasy, not his, and he just went along with it for the sex. If that wasn't the takeaway the writers intended, then they should have shown the characters engaged in some activity other than sex. If they were at a restaurant, and he let her cut his steak, okay, maybe I'd have bought that he liked her taking care of him. But because he let her give him a bath? Sorry, no. The Shelleys were just a couple more characters to add to the freak pile. Not especially interesting, but okay. The show's done transgender issues before, so it's hardly breaking new ground. Raj is experiencing the same confusion over Tracy that Matt experienced after learning about Ava's sexuality. Maybe the show's just run out of questions to ask, or freakishness to expose. Maybe in 80 episodes, they've already told all the stories there are to tell. But I doubt it. The remarkable thing is that the level of acting on this show still remains strong. These actors deserve far better writing, and so does the audience. I keep hoping that the show will find its way back to the brilliance of the first two seasons, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The writers are too complacent, too content with shortcuts, too focused on sensational plots to create the true drama that comes from character exploration. These characters are so rich, yet the writers continue their feeble attempts to dazzle the audience with the fool's gold on the surface rather than mining the ore beneath. What a waste.
  • Baby Got Ick

    While I'm still enjoying Liz and Christian's storyline, I was left uneasy after their sex scene. I don't want to use the "r" word, but I really got bad vibes from it. I don't know what the writers were going for either. Did they think it was romantic? Mysterious? Was it supposed to be uncomfortable to watch? Whatever the answer, I think Liz doubting her sexuality has just happened too fast. For a woman so crazily out and proud over the years, it just doesn't ring true that she would be having serious feelings for a man after two weeks of being with him so often.

    I was really open to this storyline, but I think they've already handled it badly. Christian's attitude the morning after was sad considering the growth he had been experiencing lately, while Liz's yelling was a little cringe-inducing. For such an important story, I think it should always be handled as heavy and dramatic, not the way it was written here. But, for what it's worth, I haven't completely written the story off as stupid. Yet.

    I hated the Kimber scene. While I get what she meant about karma, and in some respects it could be true, I really disliked that she ridiculed Christian's scar. Especially considering she was hacked to shreds four years ago and endured nothing but love and sympathy from him. Kimber's my favorite character, but I'm really finding it hard to defend this new "incarnation". Ever since she hooked up with Ram, she's been nothing but a vapid, cruel shrew. And not in a fun way, either. The writers need to make her sympathetic again, or at least allow her to grow and mature.

    The Shelly subplot just grossed me out. That kind of hillbilly, freaky-looking vibe from them wasn't fun, and the scene where Tracy was going down on Raj was just nasty. There's a fine line between "funny" gross and "plain gross" gross, and this story unfortunately fell in the latter category. Same with the Daphne reveal. It was obvious from her first sex scene with Sean that she had a certain, ahem, "maternal" vibe, and I can't help but feel that it was just Nip/Tuck pushing the envelope (and, in this case, an envelope that's already been pushed on numerous other shows) with no real point. Even the references to Sean "acting like a baby" in regards to lying about his wheelchair needs just came across ham-fisted. Lazy metaphors, writers.

    While I'm enjoying the continued dedication to Sean and Christian's relationship, this episode for the most part just squicked me out and angered me in equal measure.

    Director: Richard Levine
    Writers: Lyn Greene, Richard Levine
    Rating: D
  • Things are getting back to abnormal

    I thought this episode was a baby step back in the right direction. I thought Sean was going to keep up his charade of needing the wheelchair for a few more episodes, but Im glad he isnt. It was hilarious when Sean stumbled up out of bed in a diaper, of all things. His med student just pushed the wrong button and his reaction was nothing short of hilarious. Ok, enough about Sean for now. I have to say I do feel sorry for Christian and the suffering he is going through. Although he may have deserved some karma, as Kimber stated, he didn't deserved to get rolled by the hooker. I felt really bad for him UNTIL he A. Slept with Liz and B. Rubbed her face in it in front of Raj and Sean. That was vintage Christian we were seeing, heartless b*stard to the core. I loved the scene with Raj in the mens bathroom when he finds out his conquest was a dude...priceless! All in all this was a good episode and it makes me want more which is a BIG step up from the first part of the season (last year)