The episode arc opens with Matt and his Jewish friend, Henry, getting high while discussing God. Henry can’t light his bong because it is a Jewish Sabbath, and the Law says that he cannot do any work, in this case, lighting the match. Matt wonders whether obeying these rules of conduct matter, to which Henry says that “God doesn’t give a sh-t” about lighting a match, but he believes that if he obeys he will lead a “happy life and survive.”

Nip/Tuck ( TV series) 2003-????
Review by MAURICE BROADDUS

This page was created on June 26, 2004
This page was last updated on June 5, 2005


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CREDITS

Dylan Walsh .... Sean McNamara
Julian McMahon .... Christian Troy
Joely Richardson .... Julia McNamara
John Hensley .... Matt McNamara
Roma Maffia .... Liz Winters
Valerie Cruz .... Grace Santiago
Kate Mara .... Vanessa
Kelly Carlson .... Kimberly

Ryan Murphy .... Creator
Ryan Murphy .... Executive Producer
Greer Shephard .... Executive Producer
Mike Robin Executive .... Producer


Rated
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

CD
Nip/Tuck
Various Artists

1. A Perfect Lie (G&D Remix) - The Engine Room (previously unreleased)
2. So Damn Beautiful - Poloroid (previously unreleased)
3. Angels - Wax Poetic featuring Norah Jones
4. Fever - Daniel Ash (previously unreleased in U.S.)
5. All The Way To The Top - Jazzupstarts
6. The Headphonist (Gil-only version) - Kinky (previously unreleased)
7. Falling - Chris Coco (previously unreleased)
8. Cosmopolitans (Tri-Factor remix) - Erin McKeown (previously unreleased)
9. Price of Love - Client (previously unreleased)
10. Just Be Me - Kirsty Hawkshaw (previously unreleased)
11. Lonely - Bebel Gilberto
12. Elvis - Alpha
13. Following - Chungking
14. Pride - Syntax
15. A Perfect Lie (original version) - The Engine Room
CD Info
POSTER 
Search For Posters!
AVAILABILITY ON DVD
Nip/Tuck - The Complete First Season
DVD INFO
The turbulent lives of two handsome and high-priced Miami plastic surgeons may be one of the more unusual premises for a television series, but the FX Channel's Nip/Tuck combines sudsy sex and biting wit with the emotional quandaries involved in body modification in a way that makes for an engrossing--and occasionally gross--hourlong drama. The show benefits greatly from its two leads--Dylan Walsh as the troubled "good" surgeon and Julian McMahon as his predatory (but equally troubled) "bad" partner--as well as Joely Richardson as Walsh's wife and Roma Maffia as the surgeons' nurse. If Nip/Tuck does have a stumbling point, it's in its occasionally glib dialogue (series creator Ryan Murphy was a writer for the verbally flashy high school series Popular), which can clash with an episode's more dramatic and poignant moments. The show also doesn't shy away from showing the more gruesome aspects of plastic surgery, but viewers can often see more stomach-churning images on the top-rated CSI. But the strength of the performances and the originality of the premise make these rough spots manageable for viewers looking for an interesting spin on the usual "doctor show." The five-DVD set offers an extended version of the pilot and all 12 episodes of the first season as well as a trio of documentaries (one on the show itself, another on its special effects, and a third, "Realistic Expectations," on real-life plastic surgeons). A gag reel (amusingly titled "Severed Parts"), a selection of deleted scenes for most episodes, and a music video for the title theme ("A Perfect Lie" by the Engine Room) round out the box. --Paul Gaita

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SYNOPSIS

Two Miami-based plastic surgeons, Dr. Sean McNamara (he of the troubled marriage, absentee father to two children, including one angst-ridden teen) and Dr. Christian Troy (he of the sex addiction who pines for his best friend/partner’s wife between bedding anything that moves) try to hold together their various personal relationships while keeping their lucrative, but on the verge of bankruptcy, business afloat.

First Aired July 2003
Running Time 60 min
Country United States
Network FX

Nip/Tuck - Vanity of Vanities
Review by MAURICE BROADDUS
Website: www.MauriceBroaddus.com Email: maurice@mauricebroaddus.com
Holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology (with an undeclared major in English) from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. He works as an environmental toxicologist by day and is a horror writer by night. Obviously his areas of interests includes religious studies, folklore, and myths. He is a notorious egotist who, in anticipation of a successful writing career, is practicing speaking of himself in the third person. Oh yeah, he's married to the lovely Sally Jo and has two boys: Maurice Gerald Broaddus II (thus, retroactively declaring himself "Maurice the Great") and Malcolm Xavier Broaddus.
“Do what thou wilt.”
-- Aleister Crowley, occultist
“To thine own self be true.”
-- Hamlet, Shakespeare
“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man ...Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another ... Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.”
-- Romans 1:22-26a

What do these three ideas have in common? They are the underlying philosophies of the show Nip/Tuck. Riding the post-Sopranos wave of shows, acting as if they’ve just discovered profanity and nudity in order to be seen as relevant and edgy, FX has just finished airing the first season of Nip/Tuck. Debuting to the fifth largest ratings for a basic cable show, FX continues to make a name for itself with another show in the same mold as The Shield (arguably the best show on television, one that also explores the moral ambiguities of a fundamentally corrupt cast). While it may aim to be only a bawdy, nighttime soap opera -- a poor man’s Six Feet Under on Viagra -- it puts a mirror to American culture and its unnatural predilection for physical beauty.

Dr. Christian Troy, played with cardboard charm, oozes smugness and unbridled egotism. His downward spiral to ever more degrading depths provides the spark of the show. Not since Ted Danson on Cheers has sex addiction been given so much play. He routinely seduces his patients, trading sex for free surgery. He’s willing to do anything for profit, including get in bed (this time, metaphorically speaking) with drug lords. His idea of being a role model for his friend’s children: taking Matt McNamara to a strip club to give him confidence with women. And in a later episode, he takes him to a porn party where Matt contracts an STD. Only after taking a strong look at the trail of shattered lives and trashed feelings in his wake does he even wake up and face the type of person he is.

Dr. Sean McNamara is the opposite side of the same coin. Neurotic and judgmental, he’s just as smug and self-centered as his partner, whether he realizes it or not. He tries to hold his disintegrating (because of absenteeism due to his practice) marriage together through tepid displays of communication and affection -- a "too little, too late" policy undermined by 1) his assumption that his wife is having an affair (which she was tempted to do) and 2) his using that assumption to rationalize his own affair.

But they love the children.

While the youngest child, his daughter, has no role other than to look cute on occasion, the older one, his teenage son, can’t escape the over-the-top plotlines. He becomes convinced that he’d lose his virginity if he were circumcised. Of course his second sex act involves the dilemma of a threesome with his oh-by-the-way-did-I-mention-I-was-also-a-lesbian-girlfriend.

Click to enlargeThe show explores the values of physical perfection, and takes special delight with its (can we spell “misogynistic”?) cruelty. One scene in particular stands out: when Christian takes a permanent marker to draw on a (nude) woman to illustrate her areas of imperfection. The show has a lot of shock for shock’s sake: explicit sex, pushing the boundaries first mapped by NYPD Blue; explicit gore, found mostly in their graphic surgery depictions; and explicit language, though even ER has had the reins loosened on language. The unwritten rule is that quality justifies the excesses. But even through the muck heap of excesses, light can shine through.

The Consequences of Living in a Moral Vacuum

Click to enlargeI have had this ongoing debate, albeit, mostly with myself, about whether the show itself has no moral center, or if the point of the show is to illustrate what happens when someone has no moral center. The problem for our protagonists is that everything they have -- the trappings of wealth, beauty, unlimited sex, peer respect -- leaves nothing but ashes in their mouth.

Near the end of the season, a three-episode story arc ran that encapsulated not only the problem with the characters in the show but the answer to their various dilemmas, if it had been pursued. At this point in the show, Click to enlargeSean McNamara was elbow deep in an affair, pursuing what he was missing in his marriage. Julia McNamara was being tempted by her own possible affair. This left Matt McNamara with his only other adult role model being Christian Troy, who at the time was negotiating a trade of his current girlfriend for a colleague’s Lamborgini.

The episode arc opens with Matt and his Jewish friend, Henry, getting high while discussing God. Henry can’t light his bong because it is the Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, and the Law says that he cannot do any work, in this case, lighting the match. Matt wonders whether obeying these rules of conduct matter, to which Henry says that “God doesn’t give a sh-t” about lighting a match, but he believes that if he obeys he will lead a “happy life and survive.”

Then on their way home, they perpetrate a hit and run.

Their victim turns out to be Cara Fitzgerald, a Christian Scientist and the founder of their school’s Christian Fellowship Prayer Club. Matt and Henry struggle with their sin and their choice to cover it up. After Matt persuades his father to perform pro bono reconstructive surgery, over Cara’s mother’s protestations, the duo join the Prayer Club (as its only members) to find out what Cara remembers. Henry agonizes over his need to pay for what he has done, which his religion calls for. So he mulls over the possibility of changing religions, recognizing that he needs “a new faith, a new identity. One that reflects the real world we live in.” A faith where even bad things can be used to a good end.

“Does your God forgive criminals?” Henry asks Cara.

“We’re all sinners saved through Christ. So I guess the answer is yes.”

Off comes the yarmulke as Henry believes that everything happened so that he could discover the Kingdom of Heaven. Unfortunately though, Cara ends up liking Matt more than him, so Henry turns his back on his newly discovered faith. He goes back to Judaism and his need to confess and pay for what they’ve done.

Matt, also not knowing what to do with the burden of his act and seeing Cara and her mother’s faith, confronts his dad about why he wasn’t raised with any religious background.

What was it that so overwhelmed the boys? The realization that they could lie to everyone around them, but they could neither lie to nor hide from God, leaving them with the need to confess.

So the question could still be debated about whether or not the show has no moral center or if it is deliberately portraying how meaningless the beauty, wealth, unchecked sex, and circumstantial highs are. The characters, once they had all of what society defines as the hallmarks of success, realized how unhappy they were and what truly mattered was relationships. And ultimately, this could be the message the show is actually trying to send.

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