Nip/Tuck: Euthani-zed and it Feels So Good

Posted: March 4, 2010 by RA in Television
Tags: , ,

So, today we say a long-overdue farewell to Nip/Tuck – the single biggest travesty on television in the last 5 years. A little harsh, no? After all, VH1 has built its entire resurgence on shitty shows that will almost certainly bring about the end of mankind. But we never expect anything of reality shows, so that’s a whole other deal.

I’m disappointed in Nip/Tuck because it was once truly the most visionary and groundbreaking show on the box. I discovered it via weekly mini-marathons as they geared up for the Season 3 premiere, and I would literally spend the better part of each four-episode screening slack-jawed and bug-eyed. The shit they came up with was purely out of this world, but the writing was so sharp that it didn’t feel like an insult to your intelligence.

Plus, this was the single sexiest show of the 2000s. No, I don’t mean the generous helpings of screwing that went on. I mean, Nip/Tuck as an entity was art-directed out the ass. From the title sequence, to the soundtrack (especially for the surgery sequences), to the prism through which they showed the city of Miami, this show had a decadent, unashamedly ‘80s, luxe-trash feel to it that could only be matched if Miami Vice and Wall Street met and did lines off Elvira Hancock’s ass.

But they could do “subtle” too. I’ll never forget the “Granville Trapp” episode from Season 2, where Christian is suddenly the prime suspect in the Carver case. It was only halfway through a particularly intense interrogation scene that I realized he was being interviewed by an agent dressed in “all-black everything,” in a room done in 800 shades of gray/steel/charcoal. You kinda had to be there. And their advertising? No one had more stylized print and TV ads than this show. Wherever – and in whatever form – you found Nip/Tuck, you were presented with a unified aesthetic, true to its brand identity: “Deeply Shallow”. It showed a fast, decadently sexy lifestyle but promised you would lose your soul if you chased it. Essentially, it distilled the popular portrayal of cocaine use from the last two decades into its overarching aesthetic – sure, it was a one-way trip to ruin, but you took it on a fucking Gulfstream.

Of course, all that brilliance started to fade in Season 3. It was still a decent season, but there was a slight dip in quality. By the time Sanaa Lathan winced her way through the first half of Season 4, I knew we were in trouble. The story went from outrageous yet plausible to downright soapy – I kept expecting Christian’s eyepatch-wearing evil twin to show up to fuck Julia into a poison-condom-induced coma, during which she’d see cloudy visions of an alternate universe where she hadn’t lost her baby in that skiing accident in the middle of Montana and Dakota’s wedding.

So do I feel anything as the show finally comes to an end? Why? Does Ryan Murphy? Dude checked out of Nip/Tuck years ago to begin work on everyone’s current favorite show, Glee. I can’t say I feel anything more than relief at finally having the respirator shut off on a show that should’ve gone out with the relative dignity of a pillow-smothering many years before. The acting is now an unholy blend of noncommittal and over-the-top. The writing is now so shitty that the return of Famke Janssen to reprise the role of Ava ended up pissing all over the brilliant legacy of her original show arc. And most importantly, as we watch people die, resentments boil over, and life-changing plans form, we’re left asking ourselves, “but do I really give a shit?” Because not a single character on this show is even remotely likeable anymore. They’re all varying degrees of whiny, hypocritical, and selfish. All fine traits to have in isolation, but a total boner-killer combined.

So with that, Mr. Murphy, I say to you with a bottle of Jack on my keyboard, and a middle finger aimed square at the monitor: Stop trying to make me care about the death of a show you essentially locked away like an aging Manhattan socialite, left to fend for itself and live in its own filth until it died. Actually, it’s more like a child you let run wild, turning tricks in sleazy truck stops to support its growing meth habit, while you nurtured its idiotic, sing-songy little sister/gay brother.

But most of all, if you had any ounce of parental compassion or humanity left in you, you would’ve put a bullet in this shit before Season 4 ended in this debacle:


You fucking monster.

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