Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nip/Tuck: Season Three Develops

We're now up to, I believe the tenth episode of Nip/Tuck's third season. I reviewed a couple of episodes from the beginning of the year, and I feel like those episodes were a bit too self consciously pushing the envelope, trying to present the most outre, controversial things, sometimes at the expense of the story. However, the most recent episodes have done a better job of making the characters relatable and continuing to push the characters forward.

One of the biggest problems with ongoing TV series is the tendency of the shows to always return to the status quo. So, change may last for a few episodes, or even a season, but in most cases you'll hear some interviews about how the show is going back to its roots, at which point everything will return to the status quo and the characters will be back where they started. After a lot of turmoil in season two, season three could have been an easy chance to get Sean back with Julia and return things to roughly the season one status quo. However, the producers didn't do this, they chose to continue moving the story forward, instead of retreating.

The story I've really liked is the De La Mer recovery spa development. Earlier in the year, I commented on how Julia was doing absolutely nothing, so this story was a good way to give her purpose and further mess with Sean's identity. She didn't need him emotionally before, but now she doesn't need him at all. She's completely independent. It was a bit ridiculous that she was so surprised Gina was having sex with people to get them discounts. It seemed pretty obvious that's what was going on. But that aside, it's a nice new development for the series and has a lot of dramatic potential.

The best character by far on the show is Christian, his stories are always much more interesting than what's up with Shawn. It's interesting that he's the more over the top and ridiculous character, yet almost all of the show's really strong emotional moments are his. Sean's story with the mob wife was alright, but the most affecting scene this year was when Christian was shut out of the graduation party. He's stuck in an unlivable position there, because no matter what he does, his mother will never love himor even be able to spend time with him. Another strong sequence was when he was left at the altar. The episode as a whole was a bit cliche, but it was pretty tough when Kimber left him.

But still, the show suffers from the fact that there's essentially no boundaries on the characters, so nothing can be that shocking. Drama, or comedy, usually comes from a character doing something they're not supposed to do. But these characters have no real ethical boundaries, so some of the stuff they do might be surprising, but nothing is as shocking as something like Lorne shooting Lindsey in the last episode of Angel. That worked because it wasn't something we'd expect from the character. There's definitely a desire to go after that shocking feeling all the time, but if you do, you wind up with a show where the audience is left numb and removed from the action.

That's still the show's basic problem, it's well made and always entertaining, but I'm never really drawn into the world, I watch it distanced from everything.

No comments: