Controversial plastic surgery drama; NOT for kids.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Shows the superficial, profiteering nature of plastic surgery. Also highlights the struggles of doctors wanting to help people while coping with the business-like aspects of the medical profession.

Positive role models

None of the flawed characters are positive role models, though some occasionally have moments of redemption. Both men and women are often sexually objectified. Features people of diverse backgrounds, including gay/transgendered characters.


Strong images of blood and severed limbs during surgical procedures; one episode featured a woman using a carving knife to cut off her own breast. Ongoing storyline about a serial rapist who "carves" people's faces. Occasional fights between characters. Episodes have included harsh beatings, some of which were spurred by prejudice.


Very strong sexual content, including graphic sex scenes and partial nudity. Some characters are unsure of their sexuality. Discussions of sex, sexuality, and genitalia often take place within the context of plastic surgery, as well as within the context of personal relationships.


Contains some strong language, but not extreme swearing.


Although there isn't any obvious product placement, materialism is rampant.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent adult consumption of alcohol, including wine and hard liquor. Drugs and drug trafficking are seen and discussed.

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.

Families can talk 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.

TV details

Cast:Dylan Walsh, Joely Richardson, Julian McMahon
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Nip/Tuck was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byMikeM April 9, 2008

This is truly "the most provocative show on TV"

This show can be very addicting due to the dramatic twists and turns that occur in just every single episode. It's basically about two plastic surgeons that can't help to keep their d**k in their pants. One of them is married and finds it difficult to stay loyal to his wife. Parents should know this show deals with extreme sexual themes/topics, it shows partial (sometimes rear) nudity and it also shows people having sex - but because of their position nudity is rarely visible (The sex scenes are not closeups that don't show anything - it's like watching a porno where nudity is barely visible because the guy is on top of the girl or vice versa). Language is strong but infrequent and drinking is common in just about every other episode. This show is one of the few shows on TV that I can honestly say is for mature audiences only (15+ yrs). I hope this review helped!
Adult Written bybrandydefrance April 9, 2008

no children

no children
Parent of a 17 year old Written bygabystarship December 31, 2009

my favorite show..

some times it's a good message, sometimes it isn't--it's just all depending on what happens. it's funny, it's sexy, it's mature, and it's a very compelling show, i wish i would have tuned in earlier. christian is horny, dirty, and sean is a sad, lonely guy, it's pretty sad--but i gotta say, this is my favorite show, ever. period.
What other families should know
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