‘Nip/Tuck,’ which changed cable TV, goes out on an understated note

"Tell me what you don't like about yourself."

When "Nip/Tuck" opened with that line in the summer of 2003, the television universe had no idea what it was in for. Alternatively emotional, outlandish, sexual, graphic, tongue-in-cheek and gothic, the story of two handsome Miami plastic surgeons (Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon) "sucking the champagne and caviar out of life" was a breakout hit, and not just in terms of its own fledgling network, FX.

With its cultural statement about society's obsession with youth and its underlying message that "beauty is a curse on the world," "Nip/Tuck" resonated with aging baby boomers and younger viewers. It was the No. 1 basic cable series in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic for five straight seasons, tying with FX's "The Shield" the first year. Its audience grew each of its first four seasons, peaking at 3.9 million in the fourth.

TV critics embraced it, celebrity and entertainment magazines fixated on its cast, and actors lined up for guest-star spots. In its freshman year, the show won the Golden Globe for best drama.


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