Nip/Tuck Holds the Mirror up to American Life

Or ethos, thinking, culture, whatever.

My wife loves this programme - largely because the unmarried plastic surgeon has replaced Alec Baldwin as her hunk du jour. I have a bit of a thing going for this bloke’s ex (the bird with the peroxide hair who had a hot lesbian thing going in a recent (for us) episode). When she tied this bloke up and smeared him with lipstick, I turned to the wife and said “Told you. She’s no bimbo, this one. Hot and bright”. Her response was a bit prosaic, I thought: “She’s just reading the script”.

Anyway, to more weighty matters than are contained in her splendid black bra. This show bears an uncanny resemblance to the Straight Dope. Last night’s episode was about transsexuals. This Hispanic chap was, I assume, half way through the change, judging from the fact that he was fairly well endowed in the boob department and had nice wavy hair. I’ve just remembered he was called Sophia, so I will now cross over myself and use the correct pronoun.

Sophia had a thing for the plastic surgeons’ assistant, who was a lesbian. Is a lesbian. In the script. Perhaps in real life. I don’t know. Whatever. After what appears to have been a one-night stand - literally, as he (oops! she) was still pre-op (or “ops”, to be more precise - I think); I say “appears” because the coupling was tastefully passed over - the assistant (the lesbian) tells Sophia that it’s never going to work because she (Sophia) is into men and she (the assistant) isn’t. Obviously, because she’s a lesbian.

They kiss and make up (no more making out) on the operating table (well, only Sophia is on the operating table), just before Sophia goes under the knife - for a scrotodectomy, if memory serves.

In the meantime, the married plastic surgeon (who looks a lot more wholesome than the unmarried one who’s left tied up on his bed until his maid arrives (“on Friday”) - God, those $300 sheets are going to be messed up by the time she arrives) is having an affair with his masseuse. She’s incredibly understanding, as well as being incredibly intelligent (and not bad looking, though not in the foxy bi chick’s class), informing him that he is married and has two children. They have a final fling before the plastic surgeon returns to his house, where he is confronted by his son, who appears to be only about ten years younger than him, and who looks like a white Michael Jackson. By an incredible twist, the father confesses to having an affair (“Dad, how can you do that to Mum” says the one who’s just been caught - by Mom - experimenting in a little threeway of his own), even though it transpires that pop and son are actually talking at cross purposes. So, Pa’s confessed to a sin that he’s not being confronted about at all!

… in the meantime, Mom (who looks like a very thin Meryl Streep - definitely doable if you’re into older women) is having constant mental sex with her personal trainer, who also happens to be studying medicine by correspondence course with wifey, who wants to be known as more than just the very thin wife of a philandering plastic surgeon.

Now, this is where things get interesting. Mom’s bitchy friend at the spa (spotting the trainer doing to Mom on the mat something which I last saw Laura Gemser do to that dishy young Euro bird in Emmanuelle II), wanders across and tells Mom that lover boy is a fake. He’s not a personal trainer; he’s a gigolo. Now that we’ve got that cleared up, Mom confronts the Englishman in her kitchen, and here’s the clever bit: he’s not really English at all! But he is from New England, so I suppose the accent is easier to do than if, say, you come from New Mexico. For those of you can’t quite put your finger on it, let me help you out. What we have here is a Tucker moment from There’s Something About Mary. (Remember, the “architect” with the English accent on walking sticks.)

He fesses up - transitions smoothly into his New Hampshire accent, and assures Mom that he’s not a gigolo (“the bitch hates you and was lying”) and that he has real feelings for Mom. Mom, to her credit, is having none of it and tells him that they must get back to their books.

Am I hooked? Probably. But the fact remains that I couldn’t help turning to my wife and saying “You know, Americans really are like this. I know. I’ve met them on the Straight Dope.”

It only gets better in season two.

Nip/Tuck is one of my favorite currently-running shows. Dylan Walsh is hot for an older guy.

Season Two has started?

I need to start buying a TV Guide. :smack:

Is that the plastic surgeon with the impressive abs and tiny lunchbox?

Is that hot platinum blonde still on the show? Any more lezzie scenes?

Dylan Walsh is the ‘wholesome’ half of MacNamara/Troy (Sean), with the thin wife and freaky kids (there’s a daughter in there too.) As for the hot blonde bird, the character is Kimber Henry & it’s safe to say that she’s around in the second season. I think you’ll be pleased.

There was talk of Julian McMahon (Dr. Troy–tied up lipstick guy) being cast as the next James Bond…

I love this show. Crazy storylines – it’s edgy, it’s gross, it’s weird, it’s real, it’s dramatic, it’s moving, it’s confusing - good stuff. Does anyone know when the new season begins? This will be season 3 right? I started watching last season.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting season 3, myself. Grace gave me season 1 on DVD for Hannukah - YAY, and I’ve been TIVOing season 2, so I can watch them all in order (I didn’t even discover this show until near the middle/end of season 2).

My husband works at Paramount Studios where it’s taped, and a couple of months ago he happened by a large meeting room where they had been mapping out season 3. Every wall, floor to ceiling, was white board, and the entire season’s outline was written around the whole room. He didn’t peek long enough to study/remember any specific storylines, but I was at least comforted in knowing there’ll really be a season 3, since it’s been so long in coming.

It’s over, actually. It ended sometime in October. I liked it even more than the first.

Yeah, not real big on Dylan Walsh. He’s too nice. Julian McMahon is more my style.

Roger, the second season is even better than the first, and your heart actually ends up going out to poor ol’ Dr. Troy.

I’m sure Nip/Tuck is a fine program (I don’t watch), but shit like this irritates me:

Nip/Tuck Holds the Mirror up to American Life

Nip/Tuck is NOT a mirror for American life any more than hentai is a mirror for Japanese life.

Ah, I think I’ve caught me a fish! But, since you’re the only one who’s addressing this part of my essay, doesn’t the idiocy we see on Nip/Tuck - and I mean that nicely, I’m damn near as hooked as my wife now, AND “idiotic” art (e.g. A Clockwork Orange, Dark Side of the Moon) and popular art in general is often more thought-provoking and more potentially mind-changing than the highbrow stuff - the fact is that I was truly struck by the parallels between the televisual Floridian fantasy world and Doper world. Both, I believe, have much more to say than other more formal, “scholarly” or orthodox sources of enlightenment.

Andy, mate, love the use of ‘bird’. You really are attentive.

[I pressed the Enter key and hey presto I sent a message. Better than losing it, I guess.]

Anyway, almost finished. Just wanted to say that I’ve downloaded Kelly Carlson onto my desktop. She’s replaced Angelina Jolie for the moment. My estimation of Minneapolis has rocketed, I can tell you.

I’m not following. Are you saying that this live-action cartoon (and that’s what it is) is more worthy of study than something more “highbrow”?

What’s highbrow?

And what makes Nip/Tuck so thought provoking?

First, you did mention that you don’t watch the programme, so perhaps first it would be an idea if you took a look!

But, assuming that you know of it, I’m not sure that it’s a cartoon. My point is that it migt not actually by the caricature that it is taken to be. Yesterday I saw, for the first time, A Clockwork Orange, and I have reactions to both that are similar in some respects. Both are highly stylised, both are cartoonish, and yet both seem to have something to say. More than, say, Sex and the City or Fear Factor or *The Amazing Race * or Queer Eye or America’s Top Model. Or indeed a film like Philadelphia, which wears its earnestness and its ambition on its sleeve.

In the last episode I saw (Season 1, I believe) some rich doctor swaps his girlfriend for a Lamborghini. Ridiculous? Yes. Believable? Yes. People in the States (and elsewhere) actually do things like this. I used to love watching New Detectives and Medical Detectives on Discovery, not just for the forensic stuff (fascinating) but for the human stuff (even more fascinating). There are people, professional people (men and women) who really do kill their spouses - and if necessary their family - for money, or “love”.

Any work that explores the human condition, and that thing we call “love”, is valuable. And my contention is that the more “superficial” shows often do this best.

roger, you don’t know anything about American life. Sorry.

Also, the fact that a piece of art lacks an overt message doesn’t mean it can’t tell you anything about the culture that produced it. Many shows - Sex and the City is a good example - show you the kind of life people want to lead. The women in that show have everything and are independent and successful. It’s a kind of fairytale version of New York City life. It shows you what some people think of that kind of life, and what others would like it to be like. Reality shows like America’s Next Top Model are similar. The people on the show want to feel appreciated and beautiful and successful, and the people watching either identify and wonder if it could happen to them, or they get behind contestants and root for them. Nip/Tuck (no, I don’t watch) is pretty different, it overplays the seediness and shallowness of a particular lifestyle to be shocking, intriguing, hip, and maybe to make some commentary. This seems about as valid as saying “The Sopranos holds up the mirror to American life.” It’s not even close to close. You’re also assuming that American life is much more homogenous than it is.

Hey! I spent 2 weeks there in 2003. And I’ve learned heaps from this message board.

But, sorry, you’re all the same…

I feel like I’m supposed to reply to that, but it seems unnecessary to say anything.

I’ve watched enough to know that I don’t like it.

As for all your comments about American life and Americans, well, this isn’t the Pit (yet), so if I can’t say anything nice I won’t say anything at all.