Nip/Tuck: The Complete First Season

Nip/Tuck: The Complete First Season
On the surface, Nip/Tuck seems like the most superficial of dramas — it follows a pair of rich, attractive Miami plastic surgeons as they beautify South Beach one boob job at a time. Christian (Julian McMahon) is the salesman, a rich, Lamborghini driving playboy; his best friend Sean (Dylan Walsh) is more conservative, a more talented surgeon, and the moral compass of the show. Sean's married with two kids, while Christian enjoys all the benefits his station in life allows. All this could simply turn into a Miami Vice-style "personal crisis of the week" if it weren't for the dark side this show flashes in its very first episode (where a wanted drug dealer pays exorbitantly for a new face, implicating the surgeons). The show, in fact, begins about the same time that the bloom comes off the rose of this partnership — Christian's increasingly cavalier sex life repeatedly bites him in the ass, while the collapse of Sean's home life breeds doubt in the business too. These storylines are threaded carefully through each episode, named after that week's single patient (though some patients recur), and each case brings its own unique psychological or moral complexities: twins want to look different from each other; Christian vies for an exclusive contract with a porn company; a Caucasian man wants to look more Japanese to fool his fiancé's family. It's the richness of these stories — with much more potential than the "celeb of the week" approach that could have dominated if the show was set in L.A. — that make Nip/Tuck a drama of surprising depth and sustainability. The regular characters — including Sean's wife (Joely Richardson) and son (John Hensley), and their plastic surgery rival Dr. Merril Bobolit (played deliciously by TV staple Joey Slotnick) — all weave intricately and fascinatingly through these 13 episodes, which sparkle with surprising depth and, occasionally, surprising pleasures of the guilty variety. A word about TV surgery. Personally, Dr. Nick Riviera is about as close to blood as I like to get, and Nip/Tuck gets intricate and intimate in recreating bloody procedures that are more about Life Network show realism than ER pace. And yes, I have to turn away during pretty much all of them. But what does it say about a show that I feel completely compelled to watch, despite the fact that one of the things they do best makes me nauseous? That the dramatic arc must be pretty damn compelling. Plus: featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes, more. (Warner)