A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this addictive plastic surgery drama is absolutely not for kids (or anyone squeamish, for that matter). Because it's on cable, many of the usual primetime boundaries don't apply: It routinely deals with strong themes including rape, drugs, and incest and includes explicit depictions of sexual behavior and graphic portrayals of surgical procedures. An interesting subtext is the tension between doctors committed to helping people and the growing profit-based business of plastic surgery.
What's the story?
Combining dark humor with soap opera-like misfortune and heartbreak, NIP/TUCK highlights the flaws of a business dedicated to creating physically perfect people -- and the imperfections of those who run it. This Golden-Globe winning cable drama centers on best friends Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), partners in a Miami-based plastic surgery practice. Amid coping with outrageous surgical requests, malpractice lawsuits, and sharp-witted anesthesiologist Liz Cruz (Roma Maffia), straight-laced Sean and womanizing Christian find themselves struggling to keep their operating suites filled with patients seeking fixes for their physical deficiencies.
Is it any good?
Nip/Tuck is well written and highly entertaining. It presents medical cases that are based on fact, and it exposes some of the interesting challenges faced by the medical community when trying to balance the practice of medicine with the profit-and-narcissism-based business that plastic surgery has become.
But the show is definitely not for kids -- even most teens. It's a purposely controversial series that presents strong themes with few boundaries, and it contains a fair amount of sexually explicit imagery. This, combined with the graphic depictions of surgical procedures that are more shocking than educational, translates into a well-deserved TV-MA rating.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why people have plastic surgery. When is plastic surgery medically necessary? Why do so many people opt for surgery when they're dissatisfied with their looks? What are the benefits and drawbacks of having plastic surgery? Why do doctors specialize in plastic surgery? Families can also talk about the importance of having a positive self-image and going beyond superficial looks to appreciate someone's personality.