Remote Possibilities

by BEN KROMER & r & & r & Nip/Tuck & r & & r & (FX, Tuesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays, 10 and 11pm) & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & hated Nip/Tuck from the very beginning, but I had to watch a half-dozen episodes before I could pin down the specific reason. I've got it now: Nip/Tuck is written by barely pubescent boys. Boys who obsess about girls endlessly but know nothing about them -- which makes the sex fantasies they conjure up episodically not only unpleasant but inexplicable. Boys also like to take things apart and put them back together, which is exactly what Nip/Tuck's pair of plastic surgeons do for a living. It's a lot more charming with Legos.

A few weeks ago, Luke Baumgarten reported some buzz about the fifth season: "The show's creators are promising less emphasis on the vanity of plastic surgery and more on its necessity in the entertainment industry." I was bored with that premise before I got to the period at the end of the sentence, but I have no doubt they'll stretch it out all the way through this and maybe the next season of the continuing adventures of Dr. Mopey and his partner Dr. Sex Fiend. I don't even want to call them doctors. House is a doctor. Veterinarians are doctors. People who make their money sticking silicon into women's breasts to make them bigger aren't doctors. Heroes to some, but not doctors.

My theory about Nip/Tuck's writers being 12-year-old boys was confirmed in the new season's second episode, with the big reveal of Dr. Mopey's ex-wife's new lover. It turns out to be... another woman (Portia de Rossi, aka Ellen's girlfriend). I can picture the writers coming up with this plot twist:

"This character is lame. What can we do to make her interesting?"

"Hee-hee... how about if she starts kissing girls?"

"Oh snap! Hey, something funny is happening in my pants again."

"Same here! That means it's a good idea."

And so on. Here's some words that Nip/Tuck's ad people like to think describe Nip/Tuck: "daring," "shocking," "provocative." I know for certain that if a show describes itself as "provocative," the only people it's going to provoke are the elderly.

And maybe not even them.



The more convoluted Season Two's plot gets, the less interested we are. We get the need to replenish the killed off characters and to set up seasons three through infinity, but this double and triple cross crap is some Alias non-sense. If we wanted that. In the winter finale this week, two characters get killed off and one apparently shows his true evil, so that oughta clarify things a bit -- or will it?!?! (NBC, Monday, 9 pm).

Project Runway

Good God, the writers' strike sucks. (But, we mean, we're with ya, guys! Solidarity and whatnot.) There's at least one good reality show on TV (and only one, by our count). It's the same one it's always been. Intelligent, daffy, a little fey and truly merit-based, Project Runway represents our emergency rations during the current standoff. (Bravo, Wednesdays, 10 pm)


Hell, yeah, they're re-runs. The show was cancelled ages ago. We've seen every episode at least twice. We keep coming back to it, though, because we're depressed about the state of TV, and this is our comfort food. (Cartoon Network, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11 pm; plus a million other random days and times)