Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Sexy, Surreal Slice & Dice of Nip/Tuck

Tonight FX delivers the Season Four finale of its highest rated series, Nip/Tuck. Based on the 14 episodes presented thus far, this season's subtitle should be “The Apology”, because after the disaster that was Season Three, that’s what was owed to long-term fans -- and it’s largely what producer/writer Ryan Murphy and his band of twisted lunatics delivered.

Nip/Tuck's charter mission—a commentary about the evils (and occasional benefits) of cosmetic surgery—has been all but abandoned at this point. There's still at least one patient/surgery per episode, but most of them are played for laughs or shock value (and sometimes both) and rarely leave lasting impressions. After three seasons of exploring themes that were tidily summed up by the oft-repeated catchphrase of the Carver ("Beauty is a curse on the world"), maybe there isn't much left to say? The show has often been accused of promoting sexist themes, which is a tad shortsighted, as it primarily holds up a mirror to what's beneath the surface, that which cannot be fixed through botox injections and boob jobs: Nip/Tuck is really about people making atrocious life decisions (surgery being only the tip of that iceberg). On the rare occasion someone on Nip/Tuck makes a good decision, you can bet the positive fallout won't last long, as they'll soon enough make another bad one, dragging the character back to their moral drawing board. It's impossible for anyone on this series to be content for any length of time, and the day someone finds true happiness, it'll be time to close up shop.

To read the rest of my latest dissection, make an appointment at The House Next Door.