My fiancée broke her ankle about two weeks ago, which has mostly resigned her to bed rest. This leaves me to do a lot of the running around, cooking, cleaning nonsense—which is fine. I can deal with it. But one current obsession of hers has me losing my mind: a seemingly endless parade of episodes of the FX show Nip/Tuck.
Day and night, in a continuous loop, these poorly developed plots, shallow characters, and gratuitous sex and surgery scenes invade my bedroom. The show follows the travails of two plastic surgeons, Sean McNamara and Christian Troy, who have run a private practice and have since become ad hoc members of my inchoate family.
The show has won awards and such, lasted six seasons, broken ground with controversial subject matter. The critical backlash to the show is somewhat due to its graphic nature and acceptance of immoral behavior. But I think it’s just plain bad.
In one of the early episodes, an uncircumcised Matt McNamara (Sean’s son, played by John Hensley) is seen getting drunk on wine and popping pain pills before attempting to lacerate his own penis with tiny manicure scissors. Never mind that his father is a plastic surgeon, or that no man in his right mind would take a sharp object to his nether regions—we are to believe that the character has resorted to such activities because he is distraught. (Perhaps it has to do with Hensley’s other role in the movie Teeth, in which a young woman with a razor sharp vagina chops off his penis.)
But this is the program’s modus operandi: gore, sex, and violence for no apparent reason. An episode begins with the doctors asking potential patients what they don’t like about themselves. Then a parade of transsexuals, sex addicts, serial killers, gangsters, disturbed obese folks, and windowed quacks all proceed to seek exterior rehabilitation for what are, always essentially, internal problems.
After failing to find any intrinsic value to these endless, ridiculous plot twists (He’s the daddy? She’s a man?) I tried to coax my fiancée away from the iPad. Dinner, TV, Monopoly—anything but that show.
But she is content. She likes it. She’s a distinguished photographer, so I don’t question her taste. Maybe we just have different outlooks on what makes quality art and entertainment. Or maybe she’s just bored. In any case, we’ve got many years of quibbling over TV ahead of us. (Don’t get me started on Jersey Shore.) For now, I’ll be in the other room trying to tackle The Pale King—she’s got 56 episodes left.