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Not the end yet? Let's party on 'Nip/Tuck'

THE SHOW "Nip/Tuck," FX, 10 Wednesday

REASON TO WATCH Beginning of the home stretch - the sixth and final season - plus, the makeover of Dr. Rowe.

CATCHING UP Presumably terminal breast cancer had done a real number on his vapid head, forcing Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) to come to terms with his life - sort of. He plans to freeze himself so he can return one day, but he also marries Liz (Roma Maffia). Sean (Dylan Walsh), meanwhile, is getting serious with Dr. Theodora "Teddy" Rowe - who was played by Katee Sackhoff last season and will be played by Rose McGowan this season. (Sackhoff, shooting "24," presumably had scheduling conflicts.) Fifth season ends when Christian learns his lab results got mixed up. The cancer is in remission.

WHAT TONIGHT'S ABOUT The recession has hit the McNamara/Troy practice hard. Patients have dried up. You can almost hear the wind whistle through the empty offices and expect to see a tumbleweed bounce by. Sean is worried and is hit with a ferocious case of insomnia, brought on by Teddy's remorselessly guilt-free spending habits. Speaking of which, Christian is feeling much, much better. It's party time again, and, as fans might well imagine, you can count the milliseconds until Liz gets her walking papers. He buys a new boat, Second Chance, and hires a divorce lawyer (Wayne Knight), although Liz hires a better one - who also happens to be blind and perverted (Barry Bostwick). With financial pressures growing, the boys invite a new surgeon to the practice, Dr. Mike Hamoui (Mario Lopez), whose specialty is something called "vaginal uplift."

BOTTOM LINE At this point in the game, "Nip/Tuck" has nothing left to lose. The huge crowd of "Nip/Tuckiacs" has long since dispersed, leaving behind the truly devoted fans, who will happily absorb and assimilate whatever nonsense creator Ryan Murphy sends their way. Tonight does have a certain zest and reckless abandon - as in, "What additional harm could we possibly do now?" The result is often funny, ridiculous, bathetic and silly. Plus, watchable. Against all odds, this might actually be a good closing season.


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