Mon, May 21, 2018 04:19 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-07-25 tracking life & times section
'Nip/Tuck' great, but graphic, new drama
Cletus Turner


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Even when television gets rather graphic, sometimes it can be called "cutting edge." Nip/Tuck on FX really wants that applied to them. In many ways, I feel they are cutting edge and rather unique in their perspective.

Nip is about two plastic surgeons. In the premiere which aired July 22, Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon star as college friends who have become cosmetic surgeons and are currently running a very lucrative business. Walsh's Sean is a family man who has somehow become an automaton. He goes through life with no sense of feeling because he's "a doctor and I can't get emotionally involved." His wife, Julie, played by Joely Richardson, responds with "But I'm your WIFE!" It is really a chilling scene where Sean's son, Matt, played by John Hensley, tries to talk to his father over the breakfast table. Sean doesn't listen, but becomes angry when his wife and both children talk to the hispanic maid in Spanish. The reason for his anger is because he doesn't know a word. When he tells them they should speak English, Julie says, "Honey, we live in south Florida, English is the foreign language here."

The best part of Nip is that we get a human face on everything. We see the motivations of all the characters. When a man comes to the two surgeons for reconstructive surgery, McMahon's Christian asks a few questions till he realizes he really doesn't want to know anything about the client's past because it could be very shady. He does go ahead and agrees to the surgery though. Only later do we find out that the man is trying to hide from the father of the six-year-old girl he molested. The father actually punishes Christian using botox injections. I felt the pain, if you'll pardon the Clintonism, when Christian was injected with botox in his groin.

Even better are the surgery scenes. They are as graphic as they are detailed. We get to see how cosmetic surgery is performed and I, for one, loved the detail. Walsh and McMahon actually seemed comfortable in their roles. Christian is a playboy who uses his one night stands as patients. How? After their tryst is over, Christian uses lip stick to show the girl how she can be "perfect." "When you stop looking for perfection, you might as well be dead," Christian said. Now, that is cold. Later in the episode, the girl comes back angry because Christian hasn't called, which she clearly expected. The guy's female counterpart, anesthesiologist Liz, played by Roma Maffia, tells both the girl and Sean to wake up. Christian is not the person either of them thinks he is. Even more interesting is not only the torch that Christian is carrying for Julie, the wife of his best friend, but also the fact that Julie is making eyes at her husband's best friend.

In the end, this show talks about beauty, but shows that beauty is only skin deep, that beauty usually masks a dark inner core that we all try to hide. Sean is unhappy with his life and takes everyone around him for granted. Christian is in love with his best friend's wife, has a dark past and tries to forget these things by committing horrific acts of self-hatred. Julie resents the fact that she gave up on her dreams so that Sean could have his. Matt has self-loathing, like all teens.

The writers have set up a wonderful series with scores of storyline potential. Beyond that, they have begun taking us on an adventure that just spellbinds the audience. The characters were fleshed out for us in the first scene.

The only problems I have seen are the graphic aspects. This will turn off many potential viewers. However, the graphic scenes are essential to the story. I can usually handle a graphic scene if its not just thrown in for the shock value. If it propels the plot, then it is necessary and worth watching.

Overall, Nip/Tuck is truly cutting edge. It shows us the inner lives of the characters in the first episode and keeps us interested throughout.

4 1/2 suns

Notes from the couch:

Friends might still have a spinoff. The rumored Joey show just won't die and it is possible that the reason there are no set-in-stone deals is because Friends hasn't ended yet. Since Joey would be the only one of the cast to go to the new show, writers and execs don't want to ink a deal that might ruin the tension of the Joey/Rachel/Ross triangle that has been building steam over the past two seasons.

Why is it that Boomtown didn't receive any Emmy nominations that matter? The show is well worth watching and should have received at least one acting award. For that matter, why didn't Scrubs get an award nomination? It received several technical awards and writing awards, but no acting awards.

Finally, don't forget to vote on the worst movie (so far) for the year! Email cturner@big or call 606-298-4612.

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