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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nip/Tuck is cutting edge

June 23, 2004

Plastic surgery isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. Lucky for me, Nip/Tuck makes watching it almost painless.

Almost. Even I had to look away a few times last summer during several episodes or risk being scarred for life.

Thankfully, Nip/Tuck returned this week for a second glorious season. So, I can finally stop pestering my friends to watch repeats of season one. Honestly, I haven’t been this excited since the Fonz met Pinky Tuscadero.

Nip/Tuck is the tale of two Miami plastic surgeons, Christian Troy and Sean McNamara. The two are business partners, facing their own internal demons, while helping others externalize their self-loathing by going under the knife.

Troy is deplorable, arrogant, a narcissistic cad. He’s also more fun than free cable. He tried to seduce his partner’s wife, traded his girlfriend to a rival surgeon for a car, and got involved with a murdering drug dealer in a shady business deal. Oh, and he named his yacht The Boatox. This deeply flawed bad boy has few redeeming qualities. One of which is that the talented Julian McMahon plays him brilliantly. (TV addicts may recognize him from Charmed, Profiler and Another World.)

The second half of the surgical team is Dylan Walsh, who plays the troubled Dr. McNamara. He’s supposedly the stable one, the father, and the devoted husband. But by the end of the first season, he had an affair, a mid-life crisis and learned you don’t do business with bad guys. If you do, you may just end up in an alligator-infested swamp with hams tied to your body.

Nip/Tuck is outrageous. How else can you describe a show crazy enough to tackle the subject of hair transplants on a balding show dog named Sir Winston? The world of kennel clubs is a dog eat dog world, the dog owner bemoaned to the stunned plastic surgeons. Stunned viewers watched in horror, as little Winston didn’t survive the surgery and went to that great kennel club in the sky.

Nip/Tuck isn't for the squeamish. There’s nudity, crude language and sex. And that’s usually within the first few minutes. At times, it’s uncomfortable to watch. But it’s never boring or predictable, a refreshing change in today’s stilted TV lineup.

When Troy and McNamara consult with a patient and utter their trademark phrase, “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself,” don't be shocked by what you’ll hear. Nothing is off limits.

With so many superficial programs cluttering the tube, how surprising that a show centered on plastic surgery isn’t. This cutting-edge drama is mesmerizing and intense, unlike anything you've seen before. It’s the most thrilling, shocking hour of television you’ll find this summer.

Of course, don't take my word for it. Get a second opinion. Check it out yourselves Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

Originally published 6/23/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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