“Deeply Superficial”

Nip/Tuck is what it is. It’s an over-the-top look at our culture’s fascination with physical beauty, how it defines (and traps) us, and how no pretty the outside it, there is no covering the deep scars of untreated wounds. The season 5.2 DVD set picks up right after the events of the (mid-)season finale, picking up right after Sean McNamara’s (Dylan Walsh) attack from his former agent. The season continues to mine the lives and characters of this broken collection of folks. Not ready to face his life, Sean decides to fake his recovery, pretending to be paralyzed below the waist. All too ready to face his death, Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) seeks to find his replacement to help Sean and pursue a marriage with their lesbian-except-to-marry-Christian anesthesiologist, Liz Cruz (Roma Maffia). In the mean time, would be true love to Christian, former drug addict and porn star Kimber (Kelly Carlson) returns with Christian’s grand-daughter in order to have plastic surgery done on the toddler (injections of botox to correct her “thin, villainous lips” so she can pursue a modeling career).

“Now you are perfect.” –Kimber

We live in an image based culture. From the moment we turn on the television, pick up a magazine, turn on the computer, or step out the door, we’re told what is pretty, what is the sexual ideal, what is stylish, what is beautiful. We forget that there is truth and goodness in beauty, one that we recognize without having to be told (much less needing it plastered all over magazine covers). Beauty should touch a primal chord within us, captivate us, and spur us to adoration, even worship.

“If I could just find joy in my life. Or maybe one day feel human again.” –Budi Sabri (Chi Muoi Lo)

A lot of people live their lives never fully convinced they are loved as they are. Never be able to love or unable to receive love, or allow ourselves to feel and accept love without strings attached or pre-requisites. They are so starved to be loved, they go to desperate lengths to fill that hole. Time and time again, the characters try to stave off the travails of the human soul, the loneliness and sorrow; and fill a hole, desire, and thirst only God could satisfy. They looking for affirmation, validation, appreciation, affection from friends, family, or fans; not realizing that they can’t look for their true self there.

“Even I, in this body, am a true expression of God.” –Budi Sabri

One particularly interesting case the doctors are presented with is that of Budi Sabri, a man with a virus that causes warts to break out all over his body. “All he’s known is pain and isolation” and his condition (and his hope) touches a chord in all of them. He is a reflection of what they all feel (and perhaps what they look like) inside. So the doctors take it upon themselves to try to get him to look and feel human again.

It is critical to not be defined by the past, but to always be working toward who we were meant to be. And live in the hope of becoming whole. We’re all wounded healers, broken or rather, incomplete. In the midst of pain, agony, and infection, we are to encourage one another as a fellow patient and in so doing become part of the healing. When our spirits are wounded, we speak words of resurrection. We offer new hope and new life. We invite one another to live a new kind of life, one where we are continually surrounded by Jesus’ transforming love.
As Nip/Tuck prepares to enter its final season (again, another show guilty of sticking around at least one season too long … Smallville says what?), the storylines and surguries only continue to get stranger as the characters have all but been exhausted. In what episode, the writers all but concede that they didn’t know what else to do with Christian besides kill him off. Despite its multitude of flaws, it has just enough left in its tank to limp to its finish line.