Nip/Tuck

Season 2 Episode 3

Manya Mabika

1
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jul 06, 2004 on FX
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
196 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Manya has had a "female circumcision" as a young child, so she wants to have corrective surgery. A man requests hair implants all over the exterior of his body. Sean meets Ava, a life-coach, and enlists her to help out Julia. In addition, Sean has problems with Erica, still staying at the house, and Christian has problems with Gina.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Hablemos de sexo

    9.1
    Que problema para la población mundial hetero: cómo corno saber como satisfacer al sexo opuesto cuando no tenemos idea de como funciona su cuerpo? Cuando nunca sentimos como es ser mujer (los hombres)? Imposible... y no basta con preguntarles "Mi amor, que es lo que queres que te haga? Como queres que te toque?" porque no basta!!! Y como saber si realmente gozan con nosotros y no nos mienten?!!! Aahhhh!!!!

    No hay solución, seguro que no. Si hay una es un poco drástica y sería que todos fuesemos homosexuales. Ja ja, que gracioso, no? Pero piénsenlo al menos un minuto. No sería todo más placentero?moreless
  • Another fine example of a series that is only increasing in quality during its second season.

    7.3
    What a touching story of sexual exploration and vulnerability this episode was! Women's circumcision is a subject that people all too willingly avoid these days, but it DOES exist and the Nip/Tuck writers did everything to rub it in this week. I thought it was great that they didn't spend much time on theory or commentary, just a very human story from a victim's pov. Also it was fabulous that Liz turned out to be the one who gave that Somalian woman the confidence to "help herself", as it were.



    Nicely interwoven was the plot concerning Julia's inability to get satisfied by Sean. The Sean/Julia-Christian/Manya double sex scene was a bit contrived but very inspired nonetheless. Bravo, Ryan Murphy, for once again showing us some really touching human drama that is both rooted in the realism we all seek but also in the surrealism we all thrive on - we're all looking for some escapism in tv, after all, and Nip/Tuck has always managed those two elements gracefully.



    But, as a side note: is it just me or are those explicit surgeries increasing in number AND in grossness? I nearly barfed when they amputated the toe, and I don't remember coming anywhere near to that feeling when I was watching last season. Phew...moreless
  • The Big Finish

    9.5
    For somebody I'd only ever seen before on sitcoms, Aisha Tyler totally blew me away as Manya. She perfectly conveyed the sadness and abuse of female circumcision, and her story was not only beautifully written but also extremely inspiring. I loved that she only had an orgasm after pleasuring herself, and that it's not all about the woman being satisfied by the man.



    Orgasms also related to the rest of the episode. Julia's been struggling to climax with Sean, and I loved the scene where both Christian and Sean try and please their significant others to no avail. The closing moments featured an amazing sex scene between Julia... and Christian. See, still hung up on him, and thinking of him when she should be thinking of her husband.



    Elsewhere, Famke Janssen storms into the show as Ava Moore: Life Coach Extraordinaire. She isn't as ruthless and domineering as she eventually becomes, but she already creates havoc just in her first appearance. She violently describes Erica as a tumor, and demands that Julia cut her out of her life. While Erica was annoying, she hardly deserved that.



    A wonderful episode with an emotional patient of the week only made better by a career-best performance from Aisha Tyler, who showed Hollywood she's not just the Talk Soup funny lady...



    Director: Elodie Keene

    Writer: Lyn Greene, Richard Levine

    Rating: Amoreless
  • Expectations. Expectations Written by Lyn Greene And Richard Levine Directed by Elodie Keene

    9.0
    If in last week’s episode the over-riding theme was about the pressures both children and adults face nowadays, then this outing continues on that and cranks it up a couple of notches with the expectations we put on ourselves and the ones that are put on us.



    This is wonderfully used in our titular patient of the week, Manya Mabika, a Somali woman who was genitally mutilated and seeks the surgeon’s help to rebuild her clitoris so she can experience sexual pleasure and Christian is more than willing to help her test out the results in that area. Fresh from her stint on Friends (and prior to appearances on CSI and 24), Aisha Tyler shows she’s more than capable in a dramatic and sensitive role in which Manya’s plight to feel not only sexual ecstacy but to have her own personal freedom and growth as a woman. It wasn’t Christian who actually gave her that experience, despite his best efforts but it was Liz’s advice to love herself before anyone else could do so. Manya’s own self-discovery also played a paramount role in how Sean decided to handle his own sexual woes.



    In Season 1, we’ve seen Sean and Julia engage in unsatisfying sex but it’s only now when Sean catches Julia masturbating, the penny drops and he realises they have a problem. Besides the introduction of a very pivotal character, Julia’s lack of satisfaction also hit a wall named Christian. As much as she berates him for hurting her she still allows him to depend on her and it’s when fantasising about him during sex does she come. Although her and Sean are actually communicating much better, trouble still seems to be rearing it’s ugly head. There is their unsatisfying sex life, Christian, a certain paternity test we haven’t got the results of yet and of course …



    Erica, who is another cause for concern. As Ava put it herself – she’s a bitch, may be with a few pointers but still a bitch. She may want the best for Julia but does she have to be so bloody patronising at the same time? I’m glad Julia took Ava’s advice and gave her the boot but I can’t help thinking if Erica’s words are foreshadowing for some bad stuff to happen this season. As for Ava, first off – great casting in Famke Janssen and secondly, can we have more of her, pretty please? Although she only appeared in two scenes, her presence was still very much felt long after they were over.



    And speaking of felt, I knew things were going to get ugly between Christian and Gina but my gosh, I didn’t think it would happen so fast but the whole niceties with the two of them in the first half of the episode should’ve given it away for me. They were getting along like civilised human beings, Gina was even open about Christian adopting Wilbur and when he refused to plant her with another kid, she lost it. Christian was right when he refused her insane demand. Gina is an addict and her transition from sex to babies is just as unsettling and to almost prove she’s as crazy as she comes, we had Christian and Wilbur walking in on her own personal orgy. I can usually give Gina the benefit of the doubt but here even I’m stumped and bringing in Wilbur’s real daddy, James Sutherland really didn’t endear her either. Here’s to the ruthless custody fight that awaits us.



    Also in “Manya Mabika”



    Other patient of the week: Elias Perry, a sufferer from alopecia has a hair transplant.



    Christian (to Wilbur): “Do you hear that, Wilbur? Mummy says you smell so bad that she’s closing down Fort Bush. Good job”.



    Gina now has an apartment but apparently no income. Is or maybe was Christian paying the rent for her and Wilbur.



    Sean: “I hope you at least fantasised about me”

    Julia: “Of course, except you were younger, taller and looked like Jude Law”.



    I can’t believe women in Somalia have to go through genital mutilation. I also found Christian’s disgust in the barbaric quite moving too. So he does like strong willed women after all?



    Ava (re Erica): “She is a vampire. She’s attached herself to your neck and she’s sucking the life-force out of you”.



    When Sean first met Ava, he thought she was Elias’ wife, yet without being introduced he later addressed her as Ms Moore.



    Manya: “According to my mother I am immoral and unclean and have made myself vulnerable to disease, drug use and promiscuity”

    Christian: “I got the same letter when I went away to college”.



    Sean: “Mr Perry, I’m so glad you’re a man. At least I know my way around a penis”.



    Matt didn’t appear in this episode and Annie’s gone walkabout. As for chronology, I haven’t got the slightest idea.



    Gina: “Wilbur’s going to have a little brother with or without you”

    Christian: “You are goddamn sick”.



    Christian (re Wilbur): “He’s mine”

    Erica: “I can see the resemblance”.



    Standout music: “Collective For Changuito” by Amampondo and “More Than This” by Roxy Music.



    Wow, this was a delight. Three episodes into the second season and while it may not be the most pivotal hour other than the introduction of Ava, “Manya Mabika” is without a doubt a truly standout instalment that wonderfully plays on sexuality and self-expression with impressive results.

    moreless
  • Aisha Tyler's breakout role. Episode summary in review.

    7.0
    This episode certainly had a few developments, including the introduction of Ava Moore, but guest star Aisha Tyler carries the episode. I didn't even recognize her at first when I saw the previews, but this appearance provided many opportunities. After this, she landed recurring roles on 24 and CSI. She credited this episode for helping her career. Even watching the teaser scene shows that she can do drama.



    Who thought Aisha Tyler had it in her? The actress, known previously for comedy, plays the titular Manya, an African model who was the victim of a violent female circumcision. Even a vague description made me cringe. Any cutting near that area for either gender makes me uncomfortable. It's hard to believe stuff like this still happens in the world, but it would be naïve not to believe it does.



    Christian and Sean offer an experimental procedure, wherein they take some of the skin off one of her toes, and use it to create a new clitoris. In the break room they argue over who will perform the surgery. Christian argues that his many partners make him the best candidate, but Sean argues that it needs to work too in addition to looking nice.



    Liz walks in, chiding them for not looking at Manya's condition from a human perspective. Throughout the episode, Liz's view contrasts with Sean and Christian's. The doctors have trouble seeing this aside from a medical perspective, but as the hour goes on, they learn a little bit more and Manya is healed with the help of Liz after her surgery.



    The day of Manya's surgery, Gina bursts into Christian's apartment with a soiled Wilbur. She's hysterically storming into the bathroom to clean herself off, leaving Christian to clean the baby. He takes to it, washing Wilbur while cracking jokes. This pleases Gina enough to ask Christian if he would father another baby. Christian doesn't want one, but he does want to legally become Wilbur's dad.



    Sean and Julia start the day passionately making love. They finish and Sean heads into the shower. Unbeknownst to Sean, Julia faked it and pleasures herself while Sean's in the shower. He catches her and she confesses that she's been having trouble achieving orgasms. Of course, this makes Sean unsure about Manya's surgery if he is that clueless about the clitoris.



    Both men gather to work on Manya with different mindsets. Christian is coming off a high from being the father to Wilbur. For a man as narcissistic as Christian, fatherhood has been a blessing. He's now seeing that something other than himself matters and it makes him a better man. Cleaning up a stained carpet is a pleasure because Wilbur gets a kick out of it. It's hard to imagine Christian behaving this way otherwise.



    Sean is reluctant to operate on Manya following the episode with Julia. How can he equip his patient with a functioning clitoris when he himself is clueless about his wife's? Christian advises that Sean try some different techniques to please her. It still doesn't ease his uncertainty over how this procedure will go or his understanding of women. Christian boosts his confidence by reminding him that they're trying to give her a shot at what the butchers took from her. It's enough to get Sean into the OR. They tie off one of Manya's toes and cut it off. This tip is then placed in Manya's private area. One thing they never explain is what they plan to do with her foot. Losing a toe would require some rehabilitation or a replacement. However, genital reconstruction is so big that everything else seems insignificant.



    Christian meets with Gina and Wilbur to discuss his adoption plans. Gina believes that Christian will go through with fathering another child, but he still refuses. He believes that Gina's addictive personality has shifted. She's filling that hole (no pun intended) with babies instead of sex. This turns Gina hostile, and she storms off with Wilbur in tow. Christian follows her to her apartment. There he threatens to cut off Gina from his support. She agrees to let him see Wilbur, but has a look that implies she has a plan.



    Sean sees an opportunity to help his wife when a patient, Elias, comes in regarding his alopecia. The hairless man is apprehensive about the procedure, but the woman he's with assures him to do it because it is something he wants. This woman is none other than "life coach" Ava Moore, played by Famke Janssen. Our initial impression is that she just wants to build other people's confidence with new age psychology. Elias certainly could use it since his condition has affected his self-esteem. This care for her patients sets the audience off guard for what she is underneath.



    Her confidence and ability to help her client provokes Sean to ask for her services. Ava agrees and later asks Julia some questions. Erica, in the room, criticizes Ava's style, bringing up her credentials. However, Ava is quick to point out Erica's shoddy analogy, which is the writers' way of showing us that she isn't just a quack. Knowing defeat, Erica stabs a piece of fruit and leaves. Ava advises that Julia needs to get her mother out of her life because she is a vampire. Ava is right. All her mother does is make her feel inferior about her life.



    Christian checks up on Manya, who is healing well. She's eager to have sex. He tries to help her have realistic expectations, but Manya isn't as in the dark as he believes. Though she hasn't had an orgasm, she still feels when she caresses her body. She sees Christian as a healer and trusts him to make love to her.



    Apparently, Sean and Christian bought their sheets at a bogo sale because both of them have sex with their respective partners on the same type of sheets. Either that or they did it on the same bed. Let's try not to think about the latter. Both situations play out similarly. Despite their efforts, the women can't be satisfied. While this happens, Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" plays. I'm not going to criticize Marvin, but this song has been featured in so many love scenes that it takes away from the scene itself.



    As they're about to operate on Elias, the men talk about their experiences from the previous night. Christian's confidence doesn't waver even when Sean tells him that they can't tell if a woman's having an orgasm. They can make the physical appearance look great, but pleasure is a different place. Sean's thankful that day that they're operating on a man, something he knows.



    Christian and Troy examine Manya's clitoris, checking to see if she is responding the stimulation. Manya looks uncomfortable through the whole thing. The doctors focus heavily on the product instead of the woman it belongs to. Liz steps in and asks to speak to her privately. Alone, she tells Manya that to feel pleasure from others she must first know how to please herself. After getting the "circuitry" to work, she tells Sean that Manya wants to see him.



    Liz and Christian talk about Manya. She was initially disgusted that he slept with Manya, but she doesn't hold it against him because she asked for it. This goodwill doesn't exist for long when Christian suggests that he couldn't pleasure Manya because she was a lesbian. Christian can't comprehend not being a perfect lover. Instead, he merely explains it away for his ego's sake.



    Manya cries softly in her hospital bed. Sean asks if anything is wrong. She isn't crying out of sadness. She's crying because the orgasm was a release. After ten years, she finally experienced pleasure beyond her imagination. It was so beautiful, so liberating, that she feels whole again and able to forgive those responsible for mutilating her. The moment was like "God waking up inside of her". This simile touches Sean.



    Christian and Wilbur arrive at Gina's apartment early, only to find a sketchy man leaving. As they approach he bedroom door, another guy walks out. Christian goes in alone to see her having sex with a third man. Gina has been sleeping with multiple partners in succession because the more sperm inside her, the more competitive they become to fertilize an egg. Despite his womanizing, he can't stand to see it to this extent and threatens to sue for custody of Wilbur.



    At the McNamara's, Christian asks Julia to be the maternal caretaker of Wilbur. In this conversation about fatherhood, Julia gives Christian a look that confirms what many people have believed. Erica enters and makes some critical comments about how they're treating Wilbur. Julia doesn't budge from her decision and agrees to help Christian. Unfortunately, Gina has decided to play hardball by finding Wilbur's real father.



    Later she confronts her daughter about Julia's feelings. Erica knows that she is in love with Christian and has been as long as they've known each other. Julia takes Ava's advice and stands up to her mother, demanding that she leave. Her departure allows Julia to have the sexual satisfaction she's been missing, but she's gotten it by fantasizing that she's with Christian.



    Again, Aisha Tyler's performance carries the episode since the overall arc doesn't progress as much as it does in subsequent episodes. We do get glimpses from the arrival of Ava Moore and the departure of Erica from the McNamara household. However, Manya's ordeal is what's really compelling.moreless
Mark Engelhardt

Mark Engelhardt

Sweaty Guy

Guest Star

Michael Robert Brandon

Michael Robert Brandon

Elias Perry

Guest Star

Stuart McLean

Stuart McLean

Sal

Guest Star

Jessalyn Gilsig

Jessalyn Gilsig

Gina Russo

Recurring Role

Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen

Ava Moore

Recurring Role

Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave

Dr. Erica Noughton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Featured Music:

      "Collective for Changuito" by Amampondo (Manya Mabika's reconstructive surgery)
      "Falling" by Chris Coco (Christian/Gina argue about Wilbur at Gina's apartment)
      "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye (Christian & Manya in bed/Christian attempts to give her an orgasm/flashing between Sean & Julia in bed as well)
      "More Than This" by Roxy Music (Alopecia patient Elias Perry's hair-transplant surgery)
      "Angels" by Wax Poetic (Julia & Sean having sex as Julia fantasizes about Christian)

    • Goof: You can see the boom mic above Julie's head in a quick flash when she is arguing with her mother in the kitchen.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Julia: You wanna hear my truth? You won´t let me succeed if you haven´t. I can´t be in a loving relationship when yours failed so miserably. I can´t possibly have raised children who love me when yours can´t stand you!
      Erica: Is that why you´re in love with Christian? Because your marriage is succeeding so brilliantly?
      Julia: What?
      Erica: Come on. I saw how you looked at him. Why else would you wanna raise the child? Because you loved mothering the first time around?
      Julia: He´s been one of my closest friends for over 20 years.
      Erica: And you´ve been in love with him for all this time.

    • Manya: It was like God was waking up inside of me.

    • Christian: (About his skills as a lover) All I can say is it´s always worked for me.
      Sean: Till Manya Mabika. Besides, what makes you so sure the others weren´t faking it? Julia had me fooled.
      Christian: I can tell the difference.
      Sean: No, you can´t. No man can tell. We´ll never really know what gets them off just like they´ll never know what it´s like to have a hard-on. It´s like trying to describe the sky to a blind man. We´re just groping in the dark.

    • Christian: (changing Wilbur's nappy and washing him) I know, it's not as much fun as sitting in your own poop, but someday you'll be able to pay some beautiful lady to do this to you all day!

    • Liz: You really have no idea what goes on inside a woman.
      Christian: You know, I think I've been inside enough of them to have some idea.

    • Sean: (discussing Manya) I don't think this is something we can do!
      Christian: Look, Sean, you may be the expert on complex microsurgery, but I'm a goddamn genius when it comes to pussy. If I build it, she will come.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Christian: If I build it, she will come.

      This is a reference to the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella and the 1989 movie Field of Dreams based on the novel, starring Kevin Costner. In the novel and the movie, the main character becomes obsessed with building a baseball field, saying "If I build it, they (the players) will come."

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