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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Nip/Tuck: The Complete Series
Nip/Tuck: The Complete Series
Warner Bros. // Unrated // November 2, 2010
List Price: $198.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Preston Jones | posted January 8, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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The Show
"Tell me what you don't like about yourself?" -- Plastic surgeons Sean McNamara and Christian Troy to prospective patients

Looking back, it's almost quaint to think how scandalous Nip/Tuck was when it premiered nearly a decade ago. The series took its first bow in July 2003 and, almost immediately, invited controversy for its unflinching depictions of plastic surgery and some of the excesses of its fast-living characters. Created by Ryan Murphy (best known these days for breathing life into the perpetually perky teens of "Glee"), Nip/Tuck follows the lives of plastic surgeons Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), whose initially Miami-based practice plays host to all manner of, shall we say, vivid clients.

A lurid soap opera with surprising intelligence, not to mention a startling empathy for its deeply flawed characters, the multiple Emmy nominee Nip/Tuck is high-minded storytelling masquerading as cable-ready sleaze. Much as in his current series, "Glee," Murphy and his stable of creative collaborators have a tendency to hammer home points a little too frequently; the themes of homosexuality and acceptance of all people, regardless of their orientation or appearance, pulse beneath nearly every episode here. Nevertheless, Nip/Tuck is, most importantly, compulsively watchable, not only for the outrageous and gore-slicked surgery scenes (and, yes, the hot-'n'-heavy sexacapades), but also for the superb ensemble cast's work through six uneven seasons. What begins so strongly, arguably peaking in the third, riveting season, falters mightily as the creative staff attempts to transplant doctors McNamara and Troy cross-country, as well finding a satisfactory way to bring everything to a conclusion.

It's messy -- both doctors, while (mostly) the model of professionalism at the office, have extraordinarily complicated domestic lives -- and, often, broaches subject matter (gender reassignment surgery, for example) that many television series, even in 2011, shy away from. It's a credit to FX, which broadcast all six seasons of the show, that Nip/Tuck was allowed to paint a frank, frequently compelling portrait of adults behaving badly. In that respect, I found myself through these 100 episodes recalling another, much-adored series that featured a squirm-inducing profession and profoundly dysfunctional characters: Alan Ball's "Six Feet Under."

But while "Six Feet Under" portrays its calamities and couplings in more mundane, conventional ways (that's meant as a compliment), Nip/Tuck layers on the decadence, cloaking its hollowed-out characters in the flashiest, most luxurious surroundings it can muster. For as much as the show is a running commentary on the horrible things people do to themselves and each other in the name of external beauty, so too is it a sly commentary on the very American past-time of attempting to better our collective selves through the pursuit of superficial, ultimately empty prizes. The boats, the cars, the condos, the smoking hot girlfriends -- all of these, Nip/Tuck, seems to say, are wonderful perks, but making them the sole focus of one's existence makes for a long, lonely, soul-crushing experience. I'll expand on some of these ideas a bit more below, as I work my way through each season.

Nip/Tuck: The Complete Series is housed, naturally, in a very stylish silver foil-covered box, which contains all seven season sets (the fifth season is split into two parts). These sets are identical to the previously released versions; each season features a standard DVD case contained by a foil slipcase. Although it's a sizable package, it's very beautifully presented and fittingly luxe for a show so enamored with decadence.

Season 1

Meet the doctors of McNamara/Troy: Sean McNamara is a meticulous professional, tightly wound and exacting when it comes to his work. Christian Troy, the resident stud, sleeps with any woman who so much as glances his way and doesn't flinch from risky procedures in the operating room. Together, these long-time partners and friends sustain a dynamic tension that radiates outward, permeating their relationships.

Sean's home life -- wife Julia (Joely Richardson), son Matt (John Hensley) and daughter Annie (Kelsey Lynn Batelaan) -- is fractious, to put it mildly. Matt's a rebellious troublemaker, while fissures are forming in the McNamara's nearly 20-year-old marriage. Christian, meanwhile, is living life in the fast lane, bedding models and befriending shady characters. Over the course of this first season, there are surprises aplenty, not least of which are a few paternity-related shocks. All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1."Pilot" (7/22/03): "The money has a price. Christian's unethical acceptance of $300,000 from a mobster desperate for a new face puts the doctor's partnership with Sean in jeopardy ... and their lives in peril."
2. "Mandi/Randi" (7/29/03): "Double trouble: gorgeous identical twins come to the clinic seeking separate looks. Grace Santiago (guest star Valerie Cruz) rejects Sean's romantic pass but accepts his offer to become the group's psychological profiler." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
3. "Nanette Babcock" (8/5/03): "A woman's mental instability makes her an inappropriate candidate for the surgery she wants. Christian takes one for the team, romancing an older, rich widow to dissuade her from filing a malpractice suit." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
4. "Sophia Lopez" (8/12/03): "From bed to worse: Christian's plan to seek porn stars as clients backfires. A young transsexual's plight awakens new depths of compassion and activism in Sean." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
5. "Kurt Dempsey" (8/19/03): "Shade of love: Julia discovers she's pregnant, Christian confronts his sexual addiction and a Caucasian man wants his eyes to look Asian so that he can win the acceptance of his Japanese fiancee's family." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
6. "Megan O'Hara" (9/2/03): "Christian is a new man -- for a while, at least. His decision to end his torrid but inappropriate romance with a patient collapses when he witnesses Sean's display of affection for a patient." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
7. "Cliff Mantegna" (9/9/03): "Where the (in)discreet meet: Christian finds he's not the only one from his office to attend a glitzy party for swingers. Also: Matt's multi-partner sex life becomes the tell-all target of a three-family intervention." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
8. "Cara Fitzgerald" (9/16/03): "Secrets and lies: Matt's visit with a hospitalized, horribly disfigured girl hides the fact that he's responsible for her injuries; Grace suspects that Sean and Megan (guest star Julie Warner) are lovers; a priest conceals his true identity when seeking the removal of an incriminating birthmark on his private parts." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
9. "Sophia Lopez Part II" (9/23/03): "Some things can't be undone. A sudden romance makes Sophia reluctant to have sexual-reassignment surgery. Christian swaps sexy model Kimber (Kelly Carlson) for this year's model -- a Lamborghini owned by Dr. Bobolit (guest star Joey Slotnick)."
10. "Adelle Coffin" (9/30/03): "Stressed-out Sean imagines that the cadaver head he operates on for his 10-year recertification is talking to him. The topic of the head's conversation: cancer-stricken Megan's desire to commit suicide." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
11. "Montana/Sassy/Justice" (10/7/03): "An aggressive male who's one of the female patient's multiple personalities demands a procedure for one of the other personalities. Christian finds himself on the daddy track when Gina (Jessalyn Gilsig) announces she's pregnant." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
12. "Antonia Ramos" (10/14/03): "For months, drug lord Escobar Gallardo (Robert LaSardo) has known the doctors' deepest secret. Now he uses it for blackmail, forcing the two men to remove the liquid heroin implants of Escobar's curvaceous drug couriers." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
13. "Escobar Gallardo" (10/21/03): "Every dog has its day. A man offers $150,000 for an operation on his show dog. Weary of being Escobar's lap dog, Sean agrees to give the mobster a new face. Christian faces a startling truth in the delivery room." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")

Click here to read David Walker's 2004 DVD Talk review of the first season.

Season 2

Time -- both its ravages and its blessings -- weigh heavy on the characters' minds through the second season. Whether it's Sean staring down 40 or Annie experiencing early puberty, Nip/Tuck confronts the inescapable advance of the years and how different people react to its unstoppable nature. The domestic dramas, particularly for the McNamaras, continue to unfold in not-always-flattering fashion, while Christian is forced, over these 16 episodes, to adjust to a radically new lifestyle. All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1. "Erica Naughton" (6/22/04): "Sean faces the big 4-0 and realizes time's clock can't always be turned back. Meanwhile, Christian tries to balance his swinger's lifestyle with fatherhood. Also: Sean's mother-in-law wants a facelift."
2. "Christian Troy" (6/29/04): "Don't touch that scalpel! Sean's ongoing hand spasms cause Christian to seek help from another plastic surgeon after a boudoir mishap breaks Christian's nose. The cops have a few questions for Matt."
3. "Manya Mabika" (7/6/04): "The doctors do experimental surgery on a victim of genital mutilation -- and Christian agrees to help her discover if the operation was a success. Julia advises her mother Erica (Vanessa Redgrave) to get out of her life." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
4. "Mrs. Grubman" (7/13/04): "She's had 10 procedures in six months and now Mrs. Grubman is back for more. But this time the grande dame of South Beach doesn't get the results she wanted. Meanwhile, 8-year-old Annie enters early puberty."
5. "Joel Gideon" (7/20/04): "A traffic accident and a patient who tried to conquer Everest inspire Sean to take risks. Christian and Gina vie with the Sutherlands for custody of Gina and Mr. Sutherland's child. And Julia reveals a secret about Matt's parentage." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
6. "Bobbi Broderick" (7/27/04): "Life coach Ava (Famke Janssen) has a new client and a new lover: Matt. A patient angry over her liposuction aftermath stalks Sean. Hoping to conceive a child, Liz (Roma Maffia) finds a sperm donor: Christian." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
7. "Naomi Gaines" (8/3/04): "Media manipulation is a game anyone can play: The doctors head off Bobbi's attempts to discredit them by inviting the media to observe a pro bono operation on a victim of the serial rapist called the Carver. The Matt/Ava affair hits a wall named Julia." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
8. "Agatha Ripp" (8/10/04): "Is she a testament to faith or a fraud? The doctors treat a woman whose recurring wounds are believed by some to be the stigmata of Christ. Sean finally learns the secret that could forever change his world." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
9. "Rose and Raven Rosenberg" (8/17/04): "McNamara/Troy is over, done, finished -- right? Then a pro bono surgery to separate adult conjoined twins -- and events surrounding the procedure -- convinces the doctors of their symbiotic need for each other."
10. "Kimber Henry" (8/24/04): "An ultrarealistic doll will advance her porno career, so Kimber asks that a mold be made of her private parts. A writer requests breast implants as part of his research for a book on cancer and mastectomy." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
11. "Natasha Charles" (8/31/04): "After seeing Sean with curvaceous Kimber, Julia undergoes breast augmentation. Meanwhile, Christian is drawn to bright, confident, blind businesswoman Natasha Charles (guest star Rebecca Gayheart), who seeks cosmetic eye implants." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
12. "Julia McNamara" (9/7/04): "It's a wonderful life ... or is it? While under anesthesia for repair of her badly cut face, Julia glimpses what life may have been like if she had married Christian instead of Sean."
13. "Oona Wentworth" (9/14/04): "His new invention will change the face of plastic surgery -- provided you don't mind a damaged face. Christian intervenes in the backroom surgeries of Merrill Bobolit. Sean sets new boundaries for Matt."
14. "Trudy Nye" (9/21/04): "It's open season on relationships: Sean catches Kimber in flagrante, Christian dumps Natasha, the McNamaras try to douse the Matt-Ava flame, and a patient wants her nose redone ... right before her reunion with the freed child killer who broke it years earlier." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
15. "Sean McNamara" (9/28/04): "Operate at your own peril. Sean's work with victims of the Carver results in a terrifying encounter with the masked menace ... and a dire threat. Gina's news that she has HIV puts Christian's world in a tailspin." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
16. "Joan Rivers" (10/5/04): "Ava has a secret -- one the doctors scramble to hide from Matt. Sean continues a course of action that may smoke out the Carver. A computer simulation shows Joan Rivers what might have been." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")

Click here to read Scott Weinberg's 2005 DVD Talk review of the second season.

Season 3

The third season is arguably Nip/Tuck's finest hour, in that the show manages (somehow) to juggle marital crises, professional hiccups and a white-knuckle whodunit that culminated in one of the most-watched season finales ever. A dark, ominous specter known as the Carver haunts the whole of this season, which has ramifications for nearly every major character in the Nip/Tuck's universe. Amid that particular drama, the McNamaras finally drift apart, just as Christian and Kimber entertain the idea of wedded bliss and Matt ventures ever further afield into trouble. All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1. "Momma Boone" (9/20/05): "Big problems: Julia wants a divorce, Sean hires a new partner because of Christian's troubled recovery from the Carver's attack ... and a hugely obese woman whose skin is fused to her sofa needs urgent surgery."
2. "Kiki" (9/27/05): "If the doctors fix the scar on Kiki's face, maybe her lover will accept her. Kiki is a gorilla. A gang-banger wants his teardrop tattoos removed. Matt struggles to cope after learning about Ava's surgery."
3. "Derek, Alex and Gary" (10/4/05): "These frat boys really stick together. The faces of two youths are glued to the buttocks of a third. Meanwhile, Matt's ongoing crisis puts him on edge ... and the McNamara family at odds." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.)
4. "Rhea Reynolds" (10/11/05): "A woman who hopes to rekindle the memory of her Alzheimer-afflicted husband wants facial surgery. Matt slaps a restraining order on Sean. A self-proclaimed victim of the Carver may have a hidden agenda."
5. "Granville Trapp" (10/18/05): "The Carver claims another victim. This time the police are quick to arrest a suspect in the bizarre string of attacks. The suspect's name: Christian Troy."
6. "Frankenlaura" (10/25/05): "Hitting bottom. Business plummets after Christian's arrest, so the surgeons take on jobs they'd rather not do. Among them: undoing the work of a mortuary tech who stitched together parts of deceased women to make his dream girl." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
7. "Ben White" (11/1/05): "A man with Body Integrity Identity Disorder wants his leg amputated. Sean seeks wholeness by becoming a Witness Protection Program surgeon. Julia's spa markets a face cream with an unusual active ingredient."
8. "Tommy Bolton" (11/8/05): "Family ties. Sean, unaware of the danger, takes in the Morrettis. Christian tries to reconnect with his mother. Julia is drawn to Quentin (Bruno Campos). A boy with Down Syndrome wants to looks more like his family."
9. "Hannah Tedesco" (11/15/05): "A new face: A disfigured woman is a candidate for a risky facial transplant. A new life: Sean may go into hiding with protected witness Nicole. A new wife: Fiancée Kimber has an unusual prenup for Christian."
10. "Madison Berg" (11/22/05): "Wedding-bell blues: Christian and Kimber busily make the final preparations for their wedding -- all the while beset by uncertainties and crises of confidence. Matt falls under the sway of skinheads."
11. "Abby Mays" (11/29/05): "Unflappable? Christian says he's not bothered that Kimber left him at the altar, but his actions say the opposite. Meanwhile, Sean is on edge because of Quentin's pursuit of Julia."
12. "Sal Perri" (12/6/05): "A passenger flight goes down and Sean, Julia and Christian are among the volunteers working with survivors at the triage center. Among the passengers reportedly on the flight: Julia's mother."
13. "Joy Kringle" (12/13/05): "'Tis the season! Julia copes with an unplanned pregnancy. Mr. and Mrs. Kringle are at odds when the doctors discover she unknowingly carries a calcified fetus -- the result of her secret, one-time alliance of well over a decade ago. (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
14. "Cherry Peck" (12/20/05): "Healing: Matt forms a friendship with the pre-op he bludgeoned, and Kimber, mutilated by the Carver, is found and undergoes restorative procedures. Reeling: Kit (Rhona Mitra) presents shocking evidence that suggests Quentin isn't the Carver."
15. "Quentin Costa" (12/20/05): "You've wondered. Everyone's wondered. Now comes the answer: the identity of the Carver. But that revelation is just the tip of the iceberg ... and the danger. Meanwhile, Matt and Cherry (William Belli) also face a harrowing ordeal."

Click here to read Scott Weinberg's 2006 DVD Talk review of the third season.

Season 4

The fall-out from the Carver event has nearly all of the main characters seriously re-evaluating their lives: Sean is trying to be more philanthropic with his time and skills; Kimber has embraced the teachings of Scientology and Christian is still wrestling with his demons. On top of all these changes, McNamara/Troy is dealing with new ownership that doesn't exactly dig the way the two doctors have run their practice to date. This season, perhaps because it followed such a strong effort in season three, is where things start to slip a bit (Sean as a department store Santa?) but the creators clearly felt the energy ebbing as, at season's end, the good doctors are preparing to pull up stakes and head West. All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1. "Cindy Plumb" (9/5/06): "Is there a best time to sell the biz? Sean and Christian each have reasons for deciding the time is now. Certainly the last reason Christian could have would be to avoid a romantic attachment for Sean, right?" (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
2. "Blu Mondae" (9/12/06): "No free lunch: The new ownership doesn't approve of the doctors' latest pro bono surgeries ... and there may be a secret reason why. Matt follows Kimber's lead in coping with troubles." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
3. "Monica Wilder" (9/19/06): "Interviews for a McNamara nanny go in unexpected directions. Christian has an unexpected starring role in an internet sex video. And that nanny may need to report for work soon: Conor is born."
4. "Shari Noble" (9/26/06): "Temptation is everywhere, but the ability to resist is sometimes hard to find. Liz has a fateful bar rendezvous. Monica (Jennifer Hall) knocks on Sean's door. Christian discovers how to blackmail Michelle (Sanaa Lathan)."
5. "Dawn Budge" (10/3/06): "Free money! The winner of a huge lottery jackpot wants a body to match her bank account -- and Christian moves in like a shark to exploit her. The organ-harvest ring has a surprising link to McNamara/Troy."
6. "Faith Wolper, PhD" (10/10/06): "The doctors' dalliances have consequences. Christian's sexual escapades with Faith (Brooke Shields) and Michelle cross in an unexpected way. And Sean realizes Monica may destroy his and Julia's newfound happiness."
7. "Burt Landau" (10/17/06): "Burt Landau (Larry Hagman) has a surgical crisis, giving Christian a soo easy solution to one of his woes. But he wouldn't do that, would he? Sean learns he's a match for the kidney Liz needs. And Dawn Budge (Rosie O'Donnell) is earjacked." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
8. "Conor McNamara" (10/24/06): "The imminent surgery for Conor puts pressure on the fragile Sean-Julia bond and causes Sean to look back on a key event in his own childhood. Fatally ill Mrs. Grubman wants to leave a beautiful corpse." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
9. "Liz Cruz" (10/31/06): "Harvest time: James has 24 hours to meet her illicit organ-reaping quota. Her primary targeted 'donor': Dr. Christian Troy. Liz and Marlowe (Peter Dinklage) seek surgery to become more appealing to their special someones."
10. "Merrill Bobolit" (11/7/06): "Matt and Kimber have an announcement: They're Mr. and Mrs., with a child on the way. Merrill Bobolit resurfaces and has a surgical request. And tough guy Escobar Gallardo wants his old face back -- now!"
11. "Conor McNamara, 2026" (11/14/06): "One family, two stories. A hurricane headed toward Miami mirrors the stormfront that is the McNamara marriage. And, 20 years later, Conor reunites his estranged family prior to his reconstructive surgery." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
12. "Diana Lubey" (11/21/06) "A prospective patient wants her husband's ashes placed in her saline breasts. Meanwhile, Christian has doubts after proposing to Michelle. And James (Jacqueline Bisset) uses the O.R. at night for her organ harvests."
13. "Reefer" (11/28/06): "And baby makes three: Wilber (Josiah Henry) joins the Troy household. Alone for the holidays, Sean befriends a man even more down-and-out than he is: a homeless drunk. But that act of kindness has a disastrous end."
14. "Willy Ward" (12/5/06): "Look who's talking: A ventriloquist wants to look like his dummy. James has a few things to say and do, too -- and the end result puts Michelle in more danger than ever. Matt and Kimber turn to porn to revive their intimacy."
15. "Gala Gallardo" (12/12/06): "Christian loves Michelle, but can his love survive Michelle's revelation about her involvement with the organ harvesters? Sean leaves South Beach for a new career in SoCal. Hmm ... wonder if he'll have a partner."

Click here to read Nick Lyons's 2007 DVD Talk review of the fourth season.

Season 5, Part 1

Hello Hollywood: McNamara/Troy sets up shop in sunny southern California, eager to take advantage of a clientele with a penchant for surgical perfection. The doctors work quickly to insinuate themselves with the power crowd, attracting a steady stream of high-profile patients, as well as becoming infatuated with stardom themselves. While Sean embraces the fresh start, Christian deals with, perhaps, the most devastating news of all (although Sean ultimately deals with his own significant setbacks). Also, the show begins to dip its toe into the "meta" waters during this penultimate season, toying with the lines between reality and fiction, offering up sly commentary on Nip/Tuck and all its controversies in the process. Although the fifth season featured a full 22 episodes, it was cleaved in two by the 2007-08 writers' strike, with the bulk of the episodes airing in late 2007 and early 2008 and the remaining episodes airing in 2009. All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1. "Carly Summers" (10/30/07): "A (surgical) star is born. Tough times getting established take a 180-degree turn when Sean and Christian become tech advisors and on-camera players for a hot new TV show about a plastic-surgery practice." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
2. "Joyce & Sharon Monroe" (11/6/07): "Battle of the blondes: two Marilyn Monroe impersonators come to the practice. As Sean's TV popularity soars, so does Christian's jealousy. Plus: Julia is moving on with her life ... with another woman."
3. "Everette Poe" (11/13/07): "Olivia's daughter has an unusual surgical request ... and a seductive way of asking. Julia gives her passion an abrupt test drive. Matt needs help but far prefers the money Sean and Christian give him." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
4. "Dawn Budge II" (11/20/07): "Dawn Budge is hit by a falling film-set light ... and struck by Cupid's arrow when she awakens. Annie is vulnerable to the scheming 'thinspiration' of Eden (AnnaLynne McCord). Dr. Troy's moonlighting as a gigolo leads to danger."
5. "Chaz Darling" (11/27/07): "Where truth lies. Sean and Kate (Paula Marshall) bring total honesty to their relationship -- and the results are disastrous. Christian outmaneuvers Eden's blackmail attempt. Kimber and Matt continue to send their lives up in smoke."
6. "Damien Sands" (12/4/07): "Show 'em how they operate. Eager for more fame, the doctors make a pilot for a reality TV show. But reality bites when Eden spills secrets and Julia accuses Olivia of having a thing for Liz."
7. "Dr. Joshua Lee" (12/11/07): "Alien and earthly abductions. A patient claims to have an extraterrestrial device in him. A gunman kidnaps Julia and Olivia. Kimber goes back to the life she knows, and Sean tries to be younger for Eden."
8. "Duke Collins" (12/18/07): "Christmas carolers stroll the halls, a would-be Santa takes a bullet and ol' Frosty does too. Now add sex, lies, anger, forgiveness and other McNamara/Troy holiday traditions. Matt meets his burn counselor." (Features "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor.")
9. "Rachel Ben Natan" (1/15/08): "Q: Who's the last person on earth Christian wants to see? A: Gina. So vengeful Sean hires her to be the receptionist. Meanwhile, wealthy, ebullient, accident-waiting-to-happen Dawn Budge has another mishap."
10. "Magda and Jeff" (1/22/08): "He's a doctor. And he plays one on TV. Sean's role on Hearts 'N Scalpels expands. And Christian has suspicions about Gina's motives for moving to La-La Land."
11. "Kyle Ainge" (1/29/08): "Loyalty -- that's what Hollywood calls taking care of #1. Sean's representative feels threatened when another talent agency shows interest in the doc's career. Christian copes with tragedy."
12. "Lulu Grandiron" (2/5/08): "After joining porn-again star Kimber in the biz, Eden turns to Sean for help. Socialites turn to Christian for help with their plastic surgery whims/needs. And Sean finds there's another side to talent agent Colleen."
13. "August Walden" (2/12/08): "A critic who skewers Sean's TV work needs the surgeon's help. Matt and his new girlfriend are close. Extremely close. Julia discovers the source of her illness, but it may be too late to do anything about it."
14. "Candy Richards" (2/19/08): "She's back: Colleen (Sharon Gless) returns ... with a vengeance. Meanwhile, Sean reevaluates his Hollywood fling, Christian's past comes calling and Matt and his girlfriend face a critical crossroad."

Season 5, Part 2

All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1. "Ronnie Chase" (1/6/09): "Now what? Wheelchair-bound Sean -- insisting he's unable to operate -- faces the aftermath of the knife attack by Colleen. And there's no clean bill of health for Christian, either. Men can get that, too?"
2. "Gene Shelly" (1/13/09): "Christian, undergoing the rigors of chemo, gets his mojo back ... with Liz. The wheels fall off Sean's play for pity. Raj (Adhir Kalyan) has a sexual encounter that leaves him more than a little mixed up."
3. "Roxy St. James" (1/27/09): "Under the knife: A rejected patient takes matters into her own hands. Sean operates on Olivia, and she doesn't wake up. Christian and Liz cope with a growing attraction. Candy Richards (Jennifer Coolidge) lays down a rap."
4. "Ricky Wells" (2/3/09): "Older: A young husband wants to be aged to match his wife, who used to be his grade school teacher. Bolder: Raj takes drastic action to defy his visiting father. Colder: The Christian-Liz love match fizzles."
5. "Manny Skerritt" (2/10/09): "Starmaker: Stage mom Kimber wants Botox for her 18-month-old daughter. Aidan is pitching a script based on Sean's life. Free-spirit Teddy (Katee Sackhoff) is the new anesthesiologist. A yoga instructor wants a smaller penis."
6. "Budi Sabri" (2/17/09): "The doctors operate on a patient with a horrific skin condition. Christian reacts to news that his cancer has spread by reconnecting with Liz. Sean and Teddy share an outré relationship."
7. "Allegra Caldarello" (2/24/09): "A dying man wants surgery for his wife so that she'll look good for her new suitor. The doctor Christian hires to replace him is fond of fine furniture. Very fond. Liz unloads on her oppressive mom."
8. "Giselle Blaylock and Legend Chandler" (3/3/09): "Would-be vampires want treatment. Kimber turns to Christian after Ram (John Schneider) ditches her. Teddy, in more ways than one, wears a mask. The wedding goes off as planned ... but will there be a honeymoon?"

Season 6

Rather than attempt to wrap up the series with some sort of grand, overarching narrative, Nip/Tuck is content to let its final episodes play out just as they have for the previous five seasons. Nevertheless, there's a sense of acceptance and a few flashes of nostalgia throughout these 19 episodes, as characters come to realize that some change just can't be rendered through surgery. This season, more than any other, deals with the financial fall-out that began in 2008, as the "luxury lifestyle" takes a hit and McNamara/Troy scramble to find a way to keep their plush lives from collapsing around them. A few missteps are evident -- seriously, miming as a subplot?; one really starts to feel for actor John Hensley by the time this last season rolls around -- but the series never does really regain the illicit vigor of its first three seasons. All episode synopses and original broadcast dates are taken directly from the set's episode guide booklet. For those who haven't seen Nip/Tuck, be advised that these summaries contain potential spoilers.

1. "Don Haberman" (10/14/09): "Economic hard times take a #20 blade to McNamara/Troy's bottom line. Handsome and prospering surgeon Mike Hamoui (Mario Lopez) has an idea on how the docs can stop bleeding red. And that mime performing at the beach? That's Matt's (futile) way to cope with no dough."
2. "Enigma" (10/21/09): "Get your Kimber Love Rocket! Christian's pleased his appendage is the model for her new sex-toy line. (But it's not his.) Insomnia-ridden Sean dumps Teddy and takes a stab at a rebound with a flame-haired, night-prowling druggie. (Except she does the stabbing.)"
3. "Briggette Reinhart" (10/28/09): "Wealthy Briggette collects procedures the way a frequent flyer collects miles. She's sure she's seen Teddy in an OR before. Christian's intimate info about Kimber may be helpful to Mike. Sean has info, too; he and Teddy eloped."
4. "Jenny Juggs" (11/4/09): "One big, (un)happy family: the McNamaras go RV camping and things don't turn out the way Teddy planned. Unhappy, too: a stripper -- cup size G -- has size -- and sizable -- anger issues. And a store clerk shoots holes in Matt's mime scheme."
5. "Abigail Sullivan" (11/11/09): "'Where's the rest of her?' Sean learns of his wife's horrible fate ... and the fate she had planned for him. And Sean and Christian clash over whether to dole out tough love for the tough guy: fugitive-from-justice Matt."
6. "Alexis Stone" (11/18/09): "Was it really that bad? Christian learns that Alexis (Candis Cayne), the hot blond with whom he hooked up, wants a sex change. Erica uses her clout and savvy to take custody of Sean and Julia's children. Mike aims to rock Kimber's world with a $250K rock."
7. "Alexis Stone II" (11/25/09): "Fighting back, Matt finds a way to outwit the inmate who routinely humiliates and brutalizes him. Julia cheerfully -- and vindictively -- has a little surprise for her mother. Meanwhile, Alexis may want to undo what's been surgically done."
8. "Lola Wlodkowski" (12/2/09): "The naked truth: chunky nudist camp devotees arrive au naturel at the clinic as Christian prepares liposuction for one of their members. And a pair of realtors may be taking their admiration of Barbie and Ken dolls much too far."
9. "Benny Nilsson" (12/9/09): "Family affairs: When Sean welcomes his long-unseen meth-addicted brother, Christian reacts jealously to the intrusion. Adoptee Benny Nilsson (Neal Hopkins) wants to look more like his father; the reason for his request reveals a sordid world."
10. "Wesley Clovis" (12/16/09): "Here's the deal from the state: Matt goes free if the docs will give liposuction to a grossly overweight Death Row inmate so that he can be executed. But there's a problem at the appointed hour. Another problem: Kimber is pregnant."
11. "Dan Daly" (1/6/10): "How did it all begin? A lifetime-achievement award from Sean and Christian's alma mater leads to a look back at the origins of their partnership -- and how their personal and professional collaborations are little changed today."
12. "Willow Banks" (1/13/10): "Giving up: Christian lets his fitness regimen go and begins to binge on junk food and TV; an attractive model wants to look 'normal' so that people will see her inner qualities. Giving in: plagued by loneliness, Sean rekindles his love affair with Kimber."
13. "Joel Seabrook" (1/20/10): "What's the cure for a broken heart? Perhaps there's none when Kimber tries to reclaim love in her life. Meanwhile, Christian dabbles in a dangerous sexual technique. And Sean decides it's time to apply his great talents to good works. Will this change of heart last?"
14. "Sheila Carlton" (1/27/10): "Love hurts. A 200-pound pet chimp mutilates the face of its owner's friend. Kimber's mom and Christian share grief and a bed. A jilted would-be lover gets revenge by upending Sean's career move."
15. "Virginia Hayes" (2/3/10): "There may be no escaping the past for the surgeons when Escobar Gallardo's daughter tries to find out what happened years ago ... and when a murder at McNamara/Troy sends the doctors on a desperate quest to hide yet another corpus delecti."
16. "Dr. Griffin" (2/10/10): "The doctors need doctoring: perhaps professional counseling can heal the personal and professional rifts separating them. The emotions go to full boil when Liz and Matt join the sessions."
17. "Christian Troy II" (2/17/10): "Plastic surgery is sooo 2004. The beautiful people forego scalpels for the new vogue of injectable dermatology, so Christian undergoes a facelift and posts a video of the procedure on YouTube."
18. "Walter & Edith Krieger" (2/24/10): "Concentration-camp survivors want their tell-tale tattoos removed ... but some war-time secrets can never be lasered away. And it's Matt's wedding day. So where's Matt?"
19. "Hiro Yoshimura" (3/3/10): "Running on M/T? Will Sean's desire to move on -- and Liz's insistence that he be allowed to -- convince Christian to accept the end of McNamara/Troy? Plus: a Japanese porn star eager to become part of the U.S. sex market consults with the docs."

The DVDs

The Video:

All six seasons of Nip/Tuck arrive on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As expected, the quality steadily improves over the course of the series. That's not to say that the first season is horrible -- far from it -- but rather, the sixth season looks sharper and more saturated than the first. But, overall, the episodes look clean, clear and crisp, free from any discernible blemishes or egregious defects. These DVDs are, on the whole, a great representation of a show that puts a premium on cinematic visual flourishes.

The Audio:

Although, across its six seasons, Nip/Tuck sounds acceptable for a television series of recent vintage, it's disappointing that Warner Bros. didn't see fit, with the release of this complete series set, to upgrade the seasons that don't feature Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. As it is, the first three seasons are re-released with their original Dolby 2.0 stereo tracks, with the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons sporting full Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Although the width of the soundstage varies, dialogue and score are uniformly clear and clean, with no distortion or drop-out. Optional English subtitles are available for every season except (inexplicably) the third, as well as optional French and Spanish subtitles for every season (including, inexplicably, the third).

The Extras:

Season 1: Aside from the deleted scenes for selected season one episodes, noted above as "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor," the fifth disc houses the bulk of the first season's supplements. The meatiest of these is the 23 minute, 21 second behind-the-scenes featurette "Giving Drama a Face Lift" (presented in anamorphic widescreen), which explores the show's genesis and creation in some detail. The seven minute, 38 second featurette "Realistic Expectations: The Practice of Plastic Surgery" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) offers up real-life plastic surgeons to speak about the challenges and rewards of their craft. The six minute, 20 second featurette "Are They Real or Fake?: The Miraculous Make-up Effects of Nip/Tuck" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) highlights the award-winning (and frequently stomach-turning) work of the series' make-up team. The one minute, 56 second music video for the series' theme song, the Engine Room's "A Perfect Lie" (presented in anamorphic widescreen), a four minute, 38 second gag reel ("Severed Parts"; presented in anamorphic widescreen), a 32-second teaser trailer (presented in anamorphic widescreen) and the episode guide booklet completes the set.

Season 2: Aside from the deleted scenes for selected season two episodes, noted above as "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor," the sixth disc houses the second season's only substantial supplement. The eight minute, 45 second featurette "Recurring Pain: Three Women and Their Man" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) explores Dr. Christian Troy's prickly, poignant relationship with three of the series' female characters: Kimber, Mrs. Grubman and Gina Russo. The episode guide booklet completes the set.

Season 3: Aside from the deleted scenes for selected season three episodes, noted above as "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor," the sixth disc houses the third season's main supplements. The 10 minute, 34 second featurette "The Perfect Look" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) goes behind the scenes of this polarizing season, highlighting the show's visual aesthetics, while the nine minute, 28 second featurette "Chasing the Carver" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) explores the nerve-jangling arc of the series' most sinister character. The episode guide booklet completes the set.

Season 4: Aside from the deleted scenes for selected season four episodes, noted above as "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor," the fifth disc houses the fourth season's primary supplements. The 12 minute, 58 second featurette "Clever Casting" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) highlights the number of famous faces that've visited McNamara/Troy, including Rosie O'Donnell, Larry Hagman and Peter Dinklage, among others. The nine minute, 38 second featurette "Sizzle: The Sexuality of Nip/Tuck" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) centers on the series' unabashed embrace of carnality, which engendered almost as much controversy as the explicit surgical sequences. Speaking of which, the nine minute, four second featurette "The Cutting Edge" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) delves, once again, into the show's lauded make-up team, as well as some of the more outlandish procedures featured on the show. A two minute, 13 second gag reel (presented in anamorphic widescreen) and the episode guide booklet completes the set.

Season 5, Part 1: For the first time in the series, supplements, aside from the deleted scenes for selected season five episodes, noted above as "Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor," are split between this set's first and last discs. On the first disc, the nine minute, 56 second featurette "Hollywood Hedonism" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) focuses on the creative decision to relocate Nip/Tuck from sizzling Miami to sinfully inviting Los Angeles for its penultimate season. The fifth and final disc houses the three minute, 26 second gag reel "Severed Parts" (presented in anamorphic widescreen). The episode guide booklet completes the set.

Season 5, Part 2: The third disc houses the remainder of the fifth season's second part's only significant supplement. The 20 minute, 29 second featurette "Nip/Tuck: The Science of Beauty" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) explores about the physiological aspects of beauty, as they relate to the series. The episode guide booklet completes the set.

Season 6: The fifth disc houses the final season's only bonus feature: an 18 minute, seven second featurette "Tell Me What You Don't Like About Yourself: The Psychology of Plastic Surgery" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) touches upon what is, arguably, one of the pillars of Nip/Tuck's narrative: the desire for people -- the vain and the victimized alike -- to change whatever it is they don't like about themselves. The episode guide booklet completes the set.

Final Thoughts:

Looking back, it's almost quaint to think how scandalous Nip/Tuck was when it premiered nearly a decade ago. The series took its first bow in July 2003 and, almost immediately, invited controversy for its unflinching depictions of plastic surgery and some of the excesses of its fast-living characters. Created by Ryan Murphy (best known these days for breathing life into the perpetually perky teens of "Glee"), Nip/Tuck follows the lives of plastic surgeons Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), whose initially Miami-based practice plays host to all manner of, shall we say, vivid clients.
For as much as the show is a running commentary on the horrible things people do to themselves and each other in the name of external beauty, so too is it a sly commentary on the very American past-time of attempting to better our collective selves through the pursuit of superficial, ultimately empty prizes. The boats, the cars, the condos, the smoking hot girlfriends -- all of these, Nip/Tuck, seems to say, are wonderful perks, but making them the sole focus of one's existence makes for a long, lonely, soul-crushing experience.
At roughly $22 per season (based on, as of this writing, Amazon.com's price of $136.99 for the set; its MSRP is $200), buying the complete set is a better deal than purchasing seasons individually. However, if you're a Nip/Tuck fan that's bought some or all of the previously released season sets, there's nothing additional here to recommend the "upgrade." (Unless, of course, you simply want the seasons contained in one doorstop-sized block.) The inconsistency of thorough extras -- the first season is loaded, but the show is progressively less concerned with bonus features as it rolls along; there's nary a commentary track to be found in 100 episodes -- isn't enough to fully dissuade those curious about the series to check it out.
Nip/Tuck is rightly hailed a groundbreaking work of television that pushes boundaries while retaining a relatable, human core that anchors some of the show's more outlandish tendencies. Highly recommended.

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