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New Season:"Nip/Tuck"

By admin Published: October 11, 2007

Returns Oct. 30. Can two men
share an apartment without
driving each other crazy?

Didn't feel a great urge to watch anything that was actually on TV last night, although the DVR is well-filled. (I did give "Back to You" another try this morning, and I keep thinking it should be much funnier than it is, or even just funny. Cast is fine. Writing so-so.) Instead, I checked out two episodes from the new season of "Nip/Tuck." Good/bad news after the jump ..

As you know, this is the season that McNamara/Troy relocates from Miami to Los Angeles, where they have to re-establish themselves as plastic surgeons and get involved with a TV show about a plastic surgeon.

But the change of location doesn't change one fundamental thing about the show. It's still very much about identity, including in matters sexual, and especially about the way the Sean and Christian see themselves.

Last season, the show began to look more closely at Christian's emotional connections to Sean, and that continues this year as they share an apartment along with Christian's young son. Julia doesn't even show up until the second episode (with a surprise that isn't all that surprising).

Nor do we see Matt in the first two episodes, although he's heard as the voiceover of a letter Matt has sent to Sean; Matt and Kimber are still together, with a new baby, and still Scientologists. (The baby's named Jenna, Matt says, "after some sitcom actress in the Church I've never heard of." That would be Jenna Elfman.)

Instead, we see Sean and Christian trying to adapt to a new world, new rules, new people. Lauren Hutton shows up early on as a publicist who can help their careers; Oliver Platt is the producer of the TV show, "Hearts 'n Scalpels," Bradley Cooper is its star and Paula Marshall a co-star. Guest stars include Tia Carrere as a high-level dominatrix, Craig Bierko as a studio executive and, in a hilarious one-shot, Jennifer Coolidge as a guest actress on "Hearts 'n Scalpels."

As Coolidge's presence indicates, the show is going very comedic in the early episodes, whether dealing with Sean and Christian among the glitterati, the making of "Hearts 'n Scalpels" or how to help a patient who makes her living by posing as Marilyn Monroe for tourists outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

There's even, as I suggested above, an "Odd Couple" quality to Sean and Christian this season. It's always been there, of course, although you can see each as Felix or Oscar depending on the attributes you choose. Putting them under the same roof makes it even more noticeable.

The press material indicates there are some dark stories to come. And there is a current of melancholy in the first couple of episodes. Christian's L.A. dream does not go the way he expects. And where plastic surgery has in pasr seasons has often been a matter of vanity, in L.A. it's a career issue; one actress early on is facing the choice between surgery and not working any more.

But aside from some of the usually icky surgery scenes, "Nip/Tuck" is starting with a lighter, quieter tone. The change of location gives it plenty to ponder without menaces lurking in the dark.

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