It’s almost that time of year when our favorite television programs take a summer hiatus. That previously meant that we would have to wait until fall programming returned to watch anything new, but this isn’t necessarily the case anymore — not with summer series on networks such as USA, A&E, and TNT. But even with these summer hits, we still don’t have the variety of TV shows to watch during the summer, which is why Amber West and I decided to return to our Netflix Queue It Up series this week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.
Has anyone ever had a crush so big on a TV actor or actress that they would watch anything that said actor or actress starred in? That’s how I found Nip/Tuck…
I first “met” Julian McMahon on a fantastic criminal profiling series (Profiler) in the late ‘90s. When the program ended in 2000, I was ecstatic to learn that the actor who played “John Grant” joined the cast of another one of my favorite television shows, Charmed. For three years, I loved McMahon’s dual role as the demon Balthazar and his human counterpart, Cole Turner – especially his love affair with Phoebe (Alyssa Milano). But again after just a few short years, Julian McMahon was leaving the show…
So what did I do? I followed him over to the new FX drama, Nip/Tuck, where he plays one half of the plastic surgeon team of McNamara/Troy.
And let me just say, I was very pleased with my decision to trail him over to the new series. Already established with hit original programming (The Shield), FX didn’t disappoint with its newest drama following two plastic surgeons and friends since college –Sean McNamara and Christian Troy.
The two doctors are nothing alike – Sean (played by Dylan Walsh) is grounded, logical, and married; while Christian (McMahon) is sexy, charming, edgy and most importantly, single. In other words, McNamara/Troy not only succeeds because Sean and Christian are two of the best in the business, but also because of the dynamic – Sean is the “brains” and Christian the “face” of the practice.
Nip/Tuck not only focused on the practice and aired graphic plastic surgery scenes (some so vivid, even the manliest of men had to look away), but also shared the life of Sean and Christian outside the office… and their personal lives were anything but perfect.
Meet Sean’s family: Julia McNamara (played by Joely Richardson), Matt McNamara (played by John Hensley), and Annie McNamara (played by Kelsey Batelaan).
Now meet Christian’s family: Sean, Julia, Matt, and Annie. That’s right – Christian has no one outside the McNamara clan. But that’s okay; they love him — sometimes too much (considering his love affair with Julia that produced… well, no spoilers here) and sometimes not at all.
But despite my ongoing love affair with Julian McMahon, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the real star of Nip/Tuck is the storyline/s. Each episode usually involves at least one plastic surgery story with a new or returning patient (patients including familiar faces such as J.K. Simmons, Rosie O’Donnell and Joan Rivers), but each season also carries out an ongoing storyline that carried the show.
What made these storylines so special? They were dark, messed up, and some of the best drama on TV at the time. The writers and creators of Nip/Tuck pushed the boundaries, something the regular network channels wouldn’t dream of doing (at least not then; and still not today… not really).
Don’t believe me? Season one immediately starts with Sean’s son Matt self-circumcising himself to better please his high school girlfriend. Yea, that’s right – self-circumcision. Also in the first season: a baby is born (it’s no surprise that the paternity is an issue), Christian inherits a stalker, McNamara/Troy is forced into surgically removing heroin from drug mules, and one of the doctors might actually commit murder. Oh, and there’s another paternity issue. I’m trying really hard to not give anything away here…
My favorite season/storyline is hands down season three – The Carver. Sean and Christian (along with new surgeon Quentin Costa, played by Bruno Campos) agree to operate on The Carver’s victims pro bono, further infuriating the serial attacker. One thing leads to another, many fall victim to The Carver (including an entire sorority house) and Christian’s bride-to-be (Kimber, played Kelly Carlson) is kidnapped and later discovered as another completely mutilated victim of The Carver.
Of course, The Carver storyline isn’t the only on-going masterpiece of season three; it’s just my favorite. Other popular and racy stories over the years include: Kimber’s sex doll (Kimber is ultimately the love of Christian’s life, who also happens to be a porn star); trans-gender sex changes; bi-sexuality; white supremacy; extreme religious affiliations; controversial pregnancies due to genetic disorders; and lots and lots of sex.
Nip/Tuck featured many famous guest stars over the years (Portia de Rossi, Bradley Cooper, Famke Janssen, Vanessa Redgrave, Rhona Mitra, Brittany Snow, Jacqueline Bisset, Mario Lopez, Sharon Gless, AnnaLynne McCord, Katee Sackhoff, and Rose McGowan to just name a few), but the heart of the story belonged to Sean, Christian, Julia, Matt, Annie, Kimber, and Liz Cruz (Sean and Christian’s gay anesthesiologist played by Roma Maffia).
I literally could go on and on about Nip/Tuck, it is absolutely one of my favorites of all time. It’s not for those with weak stomachs or those with strong convictions, but to me is still worthy of a GTV rating — fine TV is like fine dining at its best: bone-in-filet cooked to perfection with a side of lobster baked macaroni and cheese, served with a $100 bottle of Cabernet and table-side banana fosters for dessert.
To this day, I will still give FX’s original programs a try because of their “out-side-the-box” way of producing and writing. Seriously, look at their resume since: Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dirt, The Riches, Damages, and Sons of Anarchy. And what about the network’s most recent hits: Justified, Archer, The League, and American Horror Story? If you haven’t already, give FX a try. But first – queue up Nip/Tuck on Netflix and watch the 100 episodes in order.
What do you think? Did you watch Nip/Tuck? Are you a McNamara or a Troy fan? Which storyline was your favorite and why? Do you have a TV crush that you’ve followed from program to program? I’d love to hear from you!
Now click over to Amber’s blog and see which programs she recommends our WatchWed viewers queue up on Netflix this summer — I smell a few BBC series in the air…
Come back next week when Amber and I review two of TV’s newest dramas starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Missing, starring Ashley Judd.
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech