Plastic surgery is all the rage, on the television set and in real life. Reality shows like ABC's "Extreme Makeover" and Fox's "The Swan" have made this plaything of the beauty-obsessed rich seem like a middle-class craze. But plastic surgeons have also been fictionalized, in a ridiculous and overwrought way, on the FX cable channel's shock-drama "Nip/Tuck."
The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, has declared that it is his goal in life to remove every barrier to depiction of explicit sex on over-the-air TV. He was quoted earlier this year saying, "It's tough to get that sexual point of view across on television. Hopefully I have made it possible for somebody on broadcast television to do a rear-entry scene in three years. Maybe that will be my legacy."
"Nip/Tuck" arrived on the cable scene last year with a sickening bang. Critics might call it a melodrama. But it's never mellow. It's a hyper-drama. It revolves around graphic sex, a surfeit of nudity and screaming-orgasm acting. It features routine obscene language, with no bleeps. In addition to beatings, killing and torture, it favors gut-churning, graphic operation scenes that make the most graphic "CSI" look like a calm episode of "Mr. Wizard."
Since it debuted in late June, the second season of "Nip/Tuck" is, if anything, trying to make its first season look mildly boring. This show doesn't produce the gritty realism that TV critics love to promote. It goes preposterously over the top in an attempt not to push the envelope, but to shred it. (And that's something else the TV critics love to promote.)
FX loves listing all of the critical raves. "Cable's most addictive show," declares In Touch magazine. It's an "amazing slice of life," gushes Us magazine. It "pulls no punches," says the New York Daily news. It's the "Coolest Show on TV," boasted TV Guide.
The show's center of "cool" is good-looking Dr. Christian Troy. Guess which of these scenes is so wild it didn't air on this basic-cable television show (available in most American households):
1. The show's star giving in to an occasional girlfriend's demand that he "nurse" the milk from her breasts to avoid staining her shirt; the scene featured an obscenity-laden argument and ended by showing Dr. Troy spitting the breast milk into the sink.
2. Dr. Troy breaking his nose while performing oral sex on a woman who sneezed during the encounter.
3. An African woman with a female circumcision having sex with Dr. Troy to see if her newly reconstructed genitals "work"; accompanied by a scene depicting her masturbating.