Nip/Tuck

Season 2 Episode 4

Mrs. Grubman

1
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jul 13, 2004 on FX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

8.9
out of 10
Average
198 votes
  • An interesting study on women and aging. Episode summary in review.

    8.3
    Womanhood is the theme this week. Perhaps no other group is targeted more by the business of beauty than women. We've seen before how it affects the women on this show, sometimes ending tragically, like with Nanette Babcock. It affects young, like the cheerleader who has lipo so her legs will be smoother, and old, like Mrs. Grubman. We see several women dealing with aging this episode.

    The first is Annie. Annie McNamara has always been a lost character. Since so much of the show revolves around Julia, Matt, Sean and Christian, Annie doesn't have anything to do. You have to wonder why they put her in the mix. This episode finally puts the character to use. While bathing her daughter, Julia notices red stains on Annie's underwear. Annie has started puberty.

    The next day Julia returns home with her friend Suzanne. After discussing Annie's situation, Suzanne proposes that they throw a Princes Menses party, a party celebrating the onset of puberty. She then selfishly calls attention to herself and her "youthful" appearance. She credits it to switching to an organic diet, claiming that processed food had too many poisons in them. Now Julia has a crisis of age.

    Next, we see Mrs. Grubman in another consultation. She wants a knee lift, a task that baffles the doctors. They are still under obligation to give her whatever she wants pro bono, but they still question her motives. In six months, she has had ten procedures done. The doctors suggest that she has an addiction. She openly talks about her recent problems. Her daughter has cancer, and she sees beauty as a defense, as a way to be strong for her daughter.

    That night, Wilbur's father visits Christian. He found Gina's diary and is appalled by what he's read. Of course, its ironic that he's seeking Christian's help after learning how many sexual partners she's had in the last few years. Christian has probably had that many, if not more, in that time span. Wilbur's father wants to ally himself with Christian against Gina in the custody battle. This is welcome since Christian has little weight in court over the biological parents. Wilbur's father offers another tidbit; Gina has contacted Kimber as a character witness.

    The next day, Suzanne acts as master of ceremonies for Annie's Princess Menses party. Things are going fine until Sean comes. He's curious about it, but Suzanne doesn't want him around. Annie insists that her dad be her prince. Suzanne goes along and tells a story about Princess Menses, but what starts as a lighthearted story turns rather explicit. Julia and Sean quickly finish the story and confront Suzanne about her offensive story, of which she feels wasn't inappropriate.

    Meanwhile, the symbolic Princess Menses, Kimber, prepares to lunch with Christian. After some small talk, addressing that she left Bobolit and is pursuing acting, she makes Christian know that she's aware that he's only meeting with her to convince her to side with him. He pleads his case. Wilbur has opened his heart to a love he never experienced before. Kim, upset, asks why she couldn't have been loved that way.

    Kimber's cocaine addiction has gotten worse since we last saw her. She snorts some before her date. Then she finds out about Christian's newfound love and loses it. Frantically dumping her purse's contents on the bathroom floor, she snorts as much cocaine as possible: off the floor, off the toilet paper stand, anywhere except for the bowl. When she returns, she yells at him, but her nose starts to bleed.

    Great segue to the dinner scene as Julia pours a red substance into a bowl. This gives the audience a clear impression of what this will taste like. Julia prepares a meal following her new diet. The reaction is bad. Matt gets up to make a sandwich, but can't since his mom got rid of all the non-organic foods. He turns extremely hostile, bluntly telling Annie graphic things about menstruation and angering Sean and Julia. Confused about this recent behavior, they decide to contact Ava to see if she can help him.

    Another great music queue, "Mother's Little Helper" by The Rolling Stones, plays as they operate on Mrs. Grubman. The line "What a drag it is getting old", couldn't better sum up how Mrs. Grubman must feel. During the surgery, she flatlines and they work to save her. Later, we see that she has stabilized, but suffered from paralysis. Mrs. Grubman's daughter, Claire, confronts the doctors. Then we find out that Mrs. Grubman was taking antidepressants, which with the anesthesia caused her to flat line. She started taking them before Claire's cancer was diagnosed. Claire confirms what we suspected, that she was taking them because aging depressed her.

    Christian looks through Kimber's nose and sees that cocaine really is a hell of a drug. It has destroyed her septum. He agrees to fix it for her if she doesn't take the stand against him. With that, she goes under the knife. Liz is baffled and a little saddened about how Kimber could've fallen as far as she did. Christian's rather tender to Kimber, stroking her forehead considerately. Life has treated her poorly and Christian wants to help. Obviously because of Wilbur, he has found a new sense of compassion.

    Suddenly the McNamaras go into crisis mode when Annie suddenly becomes ill. She's dehydrated and running a fever. After being taken to the hospital, they discover that Annie used one of Julia's tampons inappropriately, which caused her body to go into shock. They realize that they've gone out of control with the new regime. Julia's fear of aging ended up being passed down to Annie and it almost ended in tragedy.

    When they return home, they assure Annie that there are good things about getting older. Then they tell her another story about sex in a less crude manner. Simultaneously, we see Kimber in a wedding gown, symbolic of her Menses role in the episode. A man with a crown on his head carries her on a bed and has sex with her. It turns out that she's on the set of a porn movie. As Kimber ages, modeling becomes a tougher occupation, so she turns to porn to survive.

    Christian visits Mrs. Grubman in the rehab facility. She can't move the left side of her body. Unfortunately, Christian can't fix it. For a character who cruelly manipulated McNamara/Troy to get what she wants, they did a great job making us feel sorry for this character. Vanity was her tragic flaw. Since she can't achieve perfection, she asks that they do one more surgery for her: reconstruct Claire's breasts that the cancer has ravaged. She wasted her daughter's life because she was fixated on her vanity. Her last piece of advice to Christian is not to let the mirror distract him from Wilbur's life.

    That doesn't appear to be the way things will play out. Wilbur's dad isn't as sure that he wants to give his son to Christian after hearing him call Gina horrible names. Although he doesn't want Gina to be near the child, he doesn't want the legal father to instill on Wilbur such negative opinions about his mother. Originally, Wilbur's father didn't want to take him because he didn't want to introduce a new son to his wife of almost forty years. Christian agrees to have Wilbur baptized, but after it is done, Wilbur's father tells Christian he wants his son.

    "What a drag it is getting old", especially for women, who have so many pressures society place on them to avoid it. Of course, it works since a woman, Jennifer Salt, wrote the episode. It also works well because we see the issue of women and aging from several perspectives, each playing out differently. This episode resolves the Mrs. Grubman storyline too, another thing they must've wanted to do so they could get the major arcs of this season underway. However, some of the gears are in motion.
  • Mad Menses

    9.8
    Growing older played an important part in this episode, with Annie hitting early puberty, Julia accepting that she is getting older, and Kimber making herself look older through a spiralling coke addiction.

    I loved the parallels between Kimber and Annie, with both being depicted as "princesses". In Kimber's case, she's already been torn apart by the big bad wolf, while Annie is in the middle of being told how to avoid such a fate. Kelly Carlson was awesome in this episode, especially in the restaurant scene with Christian. She managed to convince the audience as both the bitter, twisted Kimber she was at the end of last season, and the pathetic, lonely Kimber desperate for some kind of affection. It was tragic to see her crawling around on the floor for cocaine in the bathroom, and then returning to the porn industry at the end. She's an amazing character, and you just have to feel bad for her.

    Annie's development also produced a great subplot. Suzanne Epstein's shocking and vaguely racist tale of "Princess Menses" being lured into the big bad wolf's "crib" was unbelievably graphic, and Nancy Cassaro was hilarious as the shameless socialite who's completely unaware of how life really works, and what is important.

    Mrs Grubman returned, and Ruth Williamson put in another brave, tear-inducing performance. It was so shocking to see her at the end of the episode, looking so old after her stroke. It was a sad, honest parallel to how she looked in all her other appearances on the show.

    A moving episode with several emotionally-powered storylines. Featuring amazing performances from two notable recurring guest stars, Mrs Grubman makes you cry, laugh and almost hurl in equal measure.

    Director: Jamie Babbit
    Writer: Jennifer Salt
    Rating: A+
  • As time goes by

    9.0
    El indetenible paso del tiempo, y cómo pasamos en un abrir y cerrar de ojos de ser unos niños a ser grandes señores con tremendas obligaciones y derechos y trabajos y decisiones que tomar y deudas y parejas que bancar y familias que sostener y jefes que odiar y suegras que aguantar (querer matar) y arrugas y canas y vecinos molestos y no hay tiempo para jugar un segundo con el perro y me duele la cabeza y el dolar y la deuda externa y cuando vence la luz y para qué tener hijos si esto se va todo a la mierda y quién es el que está ahí en el espejo? Aaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!
  • Ageing The Only Way Possible Written by Jennifer Salt Directed by Jamie Babbit

    8.0
    I know there’s a certain shameless quality Nip/Tuck possesses that makes it must see TV but even I didn’t think this series was this audacious. Entering puberty at the early age of eight, the most underused McNamara gets her own storyline this week. Yes, little finally has something to do and her entry into womanhood not only allows us to get re-acquainted with the vile Suzanne, who eerily tries to educate Annie and the other princess Mensies about sex through fairytale metaphors but it seems the pressures of getting older can even affect someone as young as Annie when she is hospitalised and Julia learns what her daughter’s fears are. It’s a thread that relates into everyone in this episode as Julia unwisely took Suzanne’s advice and starts eating food that looks more likely to cause your body harm rather than good in the long run.

    Speaking of long run, we’ve gone through six episodes without so much as a murmur and guess what? Mrs Grubman is back! When the guys refuse to be blackmailed by her into performing another unnecessary surgical procedure she pulls out the “my daughter has cancer and me looking beautiful will help her through it” card. A new one I know and I for one thought she was lying her ass off. Grubman is so desperate for surgery I’d wager she’d do it on herself if needs be. But shock, horror, she was actually telling the truth and her latest trip under the knife goes horribly wrong, her cancer stricken daughter Claire is the first one to blast Sean and Christian. In fairness, it’s not their fault as Grubman refused to disclose she was on anti-depressants and she winds up being paralysed. I’ve always kind of understood but never really sympathised with this character’s desperation to retain her looks but the fact she willing withheld information made me curse at the screen. Her daughter was right to call on Sean and Christian’s indulging her insipid surgeries (why did they wait so long?) but she should have also said something to her mother too. However I did love the scene with Christian and Grubman where she gave him kind advice on how to be a good parent and requested surgery for her daughter. What a sweetie, the both of them in that scene.

    Christian on the other hand, the battle with Gina to keep Wilbur was always going to be filled with different twists and turns and writer Jennifer salt didn’t fail on that score. First off, we got James allying himself with Christian in order to beat Gina and then there was Kimber as a character witness against Christian, which we had to deal with. Following her defunct modelling career and relationship with Merrill, life has really dealt her some harsh blows. In case I haven’t made it clear in the past, I’ve never been a huge fan of Kimber and the majority of her appearance in this episode didn’t do her any favours either. She still has pangs for Christian which obvious and only decided to help out Gina to hurt him until the consequences of her out of control drug habit forced her to reconsider her position. Kimber barked sarcastic comments at her ex-lovers while bleating on about her acting aspirations (Meryl Streep she ain’t) but a leaky septum showed how bad thing have really become for her. I admit I felt kind of bad for her but to contradict the fairytale theme, maybe Kimber should asserting some independence rather than relying on some guy to save her.

    However things really turned in this episode when James after having Wilbur christened, decided to finally accept the boy as his own much to Christian’s heartache. I guess I should have seen it coming but it took me by surprise as much as it took Christian. I like James and I do think he would be a good dad to the kid but even still I don’t Wilbur to go and I really wished Christian had fought more for him too.

    Also in “Mrs Grubman”

    Opening patient of the week: Cheerleader getting liposuction.

    Liz: “You look like someone’s just stolen your first born”
    Christian: “Well someone is trying”.

    Did anyone else want to slap Suzanne for little victory remark about Sophia? I certainly did. Why would Julia tolerate this woman?

    Christian: “Do you lie awake at night thinking of new ways to torture your body and us?”
    Mrs Grubman: “Spare me the moralistic lecture, Dr Troy. If I was paying, you’d have me in faster on the books than shit goes through a goose”.

    Suzanne: “Newsflash Julia, those little angels dripping with hormones and if you think the old boys can’t smell it, then you and your daughter are in for a rude awakening”.

    Character bits: Gina’s had 292 sexual partners in the last three years, Grubman’s had ten surgeries in the last six months and James has been married for the last 39 years.

    Kimber (to Christian): “You couldn’t love anyone, your heart’s made of granite”.

    Matt (re food): “Where do I get the courage to take the first bite?”
    Sean: “You’re a big boy, Matt. Just do it”.

    No Gina in this episode despite a heavy role she played in the episode and although credited, Ava doesn’t appear either.

    Christian (re Gina): “My intention is to bring the bitch to her knees which ironically enough, is her favourite position”.

    Grubman (to Christian): “Just because I feel dead, doesn’t mean I have to look embalmed”.

    Standout music: “Cosmopolitans” by Erin McKeown and “Moonlight Sonata” by Dankesh York.

    Again, no chronology is present in this episode, Liz had nothing of interest to do and we still didn’t learn Grubman’s first name but even still “Mrs Grubman” is continuing on an excellent path for the series. The theme in Season Two is definitely about age and the effects surrounding it and there was a funny fairytale twist with Sean and Julia explaining sex to Annie, which tied into Kimber’s new career in porn.


  • Well it look like Christian will not see Wilbert grow up, let see what he will do. Did they have put pubity in this episoide?.

    6.8
    Well i am going advoid main story-line in this episoide and talk about two sub-plot. it nice to see kimber again and it look like she's gone downhill, she has no-one in her life and now she's a drug addict and a porn star, who thought that guy in that porn flim look a lot like Wibert father. maybe it's just me. Speaking of Wilbert father, i knew that he would change his mind about helping christian get custody and i know what the turning-point was which when he referred to Wilbert mother as a haoe and b-word, if he had keep his lanuage clean and learned to polite and well-mannered maybe he would left his kid in his capable hands. Would u let someone like Christian look after your kid?, i would say no. And to think he gave Kimber a free nose repair for nothing.

    Mrs Gibert, She was black-mailing Sean and Christian so i don't feel sorry one bit, i mean come on they tried to refuse doing surgury but then she did a sad sob story about her daugher getting cancer and it pulled on heart-string, i am sorry to be heartless but she got what she deserved. it's as simple as that. what so wrong about getting older?
  • Mrs. Grubman: "Beauty is my strength and my armor."

    7.8
    was happy we were able to receive closure for Mrs. Grubman before the season swings into action.



    Mrs. Grubman’s vanity in the end was what ended up hurting her most. Mrs. Grubman was depressed about aging, and her ineptitude to tell the doctors she was on antidepressants resulted in paralysis from another plastic surgery she connived Sean and Christian into doing. It was tough seeing what her plastic surgery addiction ending up doing to her, but we got a nice scene between her and Christian as she gave Christian parenting advice.



    We had another familiar face return tonight, as Kimber came to testify against Christian in the custody battle. Kimber may be more bitter, but she is still just as pathetic. She still wants Christian back; she even offered to be his maid! She is entirely sufficient on others, and ever since Bobolit went bankrupt she has been on a downward spiral as her coke addiction has hollowed out her nasal cartilage and damaged it severely.



    I was surprised Christian didn't just get back together with Kimber to prevent her from testifying, but it was the right thing to do. He didn't use Kimber; he was honest and told her he just didn't love her. In the end he may have been able to prevent Kimber from testifying, but he couldn't prevent Wilbur from being taken away from him.



    I couldn't believe James. He gets Christian's hopes up that he will help Christian get custody of Wilbur, and then changes his mind and decides he wants to raise Wilbur himself. I know James will probably be a good father for Wilbur. But Christian really does appear to love him and Wilbur brings out the best in him.



    Final Notes and Quotes



    - Annie finally got her own plot today, as Matt's teasing about Annie entering puberty caused her to make drastic actions landing her in a hospital.



    - Sean and Julia are tired of Matt's attitude and have decided to hire life coach Ava to try and straighten him out.



    - Gina (who strangely didn't appear in the episode today) was an idiot to bring Wibur's father into the custody battle. No sane parent would leave their child with her.



    - Suzanne was way overboard, telling sexually explicit fairy tales to eight year olds. It was nice metaphor though when her story overlapped with Kimber dressing up to go meet Christian.



    - They strangely didn't play music during the opening surgery on the high school senior. I guess they had too much to talk about.



    - Although credited, Famke Jensen didn't appear in this episode.



    - Suzanne: "Oh healthy food is the new plastic surgery. Who knew?"



    - It looks like aging is this year's theme, as today we got Mrs. Grubman's depression about aging, Annie's fear about going into puberty, and Julia's fear of growing old that causes the organic food diet.



    Final Rating: 2 for puberty plot, 3 for Grubman and Christian. Overall 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.





    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many other reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.com
  • Christian's getting closer to Wilbur as Kimber comes back into his life. Meanwhile Matt's behavior is having a negative reaction with Annie.

    6.9
    The whole Gina/Christian/Wilbur storyline was not one of my favorites and it was utterly so predictable. On the flipside though the storyline does develop Christian into a more compassionate person if only for a brief time.

    His contact with Kimber in this episode makes him realize the error of some of his ways. We see Matt slowly start to get transformed into the dsyfunctional brat he really is.
    The comment about the kid having a period sends Annie the wrong message.

    The other sidestory with Mrs. Grubman was hohum too. I didn't care about the patient at all as another review pointed out. Her story was average and yeah it seem like she was blackmail Sean and Christian. Eventually this was a case as her own daughter said of Vanity mixed in with depression. An ok episode but not my favorite. Still a lot great acting involved.
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