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Nip/Tuck: The Complete First Season (review)

Is it too punny to call Nip/Tuck cutting? I expected a series about Miami plastic surgeons to be obsessed with the physical, and with physical perfection. I never expected it to be so audacious and biting in its obsession with exploring the psychological roots of the drive for perfection — on both sides of the knife — or in its revelations about what that drive does to people. “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself,” medical partners Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) ask each incoming client, but each episode concerns itself as much with what uptight McNamara and playboy Troy don’t like about themselves and their lives as it does the patient’s issues. Their joint but very different midlife crises arc over bold and surprising tales of mobsters seeking facial reconstruction, porn stars with bruised buttocks, mid-transformation transgenders, gorgeous twins who no longer want to be identical, and others with serious identity issues. Titillating? You bet… but never in the ways you’re expecting. This isn’t for the squeamish or the easily offended — the surgeries are shockingly graphic, and so is the sexuality, not just in a physical sense but in an incisively emotional one. This is 13 episodes of fragile humanity laid so bare it’s sometimes hard to watch. Watch it anyway.

MPAA: not rated

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