The season 5 premiere -- in which, after their move to L.A., Sean becomes a TV star and Christian seduces and betrays an actress client -- suggests the show may hit new heights


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”Nip/Tuck” premiere recap: We love L.A.!

Could this possibly be the greatest season of Nip/Tuck? Yep, I’m starting this initial TV Watch off with a potentially controversial query. But judging by the premiere episode, I think the answer is unequivocally yes. (Also check out Gillian Flynn’s review.) This is the Nip/Tuck we’ve always hoped for. After four good if spotty seasons, Los Angeles proves to be the ideal place for our boys from Miami to set up shop. But it’s not just these two fellas who look rejuvenated. The show’s trademark blend of campy comedy and melodrama is perfect in the premiere. The only thing that could make things better is if Ava (Famke Janssen) returned. Are you reading this, Ryan Murphy?

First off, how much do we love the new McNamara/Troy offices? Can I stay there the next time I’m in Los Angeles? They looked like a fabulous boutique hotel. Second, did Sean (Dylan Walsh) always have such a nice body? It looks like Dr. McNamara has finally invested in a BowFlex. Or is the West Coast weather simply agreeing with him? Nothing Nip/Tuck loves more than a gratuitous body shot. One alarming trend, though, is that both docs have gone a little too far with the manscaping. They’re starting to look a bit like hairless dogs. And Julian McMahon needs to stop sucking in his stomach. It’s awfully noticeable. Just go with the gut, dude. It turns out that Christian is feeling a little self-conscious about his appearance in this new world. Something was seriously up with his hair as well. And don’t get me started on his new affinity for necklaces.

Despite the move to bigger and better digs, the fellas’ plastic surgery practice was suffering. So, on the advice of Liz (Roma Maffia), the two guys went to a Hollywood club trolling for potential patients. Instead, they found publicist Fiona McNeil, played by the always welcome Lauren Hutton. What a great casting choice! Nobody can play a dragon lady quite as well. Fiona happens to represent Freddy Prune (hilariously played by Oliver Platt), the creator of a plastic surgery drama called Hearts ‘n Scalpels, starring Aidan Stone (Bradley Cooper) and Kate Tinsley (Paula Marshall — please don’t kill this show!). And Fiona offered Sean and Christian the opportunity to become consultants for the show, which looked like a horrible cross between Nip/Tuck and ER. It was hilarious to see Sean and Christian watching the show together. (”What — no masks?” asked Sean.) Cooper completely overacted and displayed some surprising comic chops. The guy wasn’t exactly a laugh riot on Alias — he was more like a wet mop — but I blame that on the character. Cooper looks to be a great foil for Christian. The episode of Scalpels also featured Jennifer Coolidge as the idiotic Candy Richards, whose character had her lips replaced by tissue from her labia. (During filming, Freddy exclaimed, ”I’m going to win a Humanitas for this.”) If you didn’t see it, don’t ask. As usual, Coolidge stole most of her scenes. Her wailing like a baby was genius. And I think we have a new term to compete with ”va-jay-jay”: ”lady cha-cha.”

One of the best parts of this plotline is that it finally gave Sean the upper hand in the partnership. It was he who landed the supporting role on the series while Christian was edited out. Finally, the usually gloomy and tortured Sean gets to have some fun. It’s about damn time!

NEXT: Dominatrix of the trade

The fellas eventually got their first patient in a studio exec, Bob Easton, played perfectly by Craig Bierko. He is a power player in Hollywood but likes to be dominated by someone named Mistress Dark Pain (Tia Carrere). When we finally saw the Mistress, she was fishing for Bob’s nipples in the recovery room. It gave a whole new meaning to the term Bassmaster. That was awfully difficult to watch. But how great does Tia Carrere look? I think Dancing With the Stars might be the best diet for C-list celebs since the Zone. She also seems to be a potential love interest for Sean, which could be quite interesting, especially since Julia was nowhere in sight in this first episode.

Daphne Zuniga also showed up as another client of Fiona’s, Carly Summers, a movie star who was losing parts because of her age. Zuniga, who still looks amazing by the way, found the perfect tone for this woman, probably one of the best roles she’s ever had. When Christian defaced her photograph with his lipstick, her look of rejection was just heartbreaking. She finally caved and agreed to have the surgery as long as it was confidential. And then Christian kicked her while she was down by leaking news of her facelift to Us Weekly. I’m guessing Fiona is not going to be too happy about that.

Ooh, and the best part of the episode? Matt (John Hensley) only appeared via a voice-over. He sent Sean a letter announcing that he and Kimber had a daughter named Jenna. Luckily she doesn’t seem to take after Matt in the creepy-eyebrows department.

What did you think of the season premiere? Will Carly find out about Christian’s betrayal? Do you want Julia to come back? And are there any other characters you’d like to see move out west?

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