On screen they were Dr. Christian Troy and Dr. Sean McNamara. To me they will always be known as “Dr. Whore” and “Dr. Bland” -two opposites who combined to realise Ryan Murphy’s outlandish concoction that was Nip / Tuck.
The salacious series has just completed filming its final scenes for its last, and 100th, episode. That’s something of an achievement in cable television, where Sex and the City managed a cool 94 episodes. The show became a guilty pleasure, as we watched writer Ryan Murphy try to top his bizarre storylines and medical cases week after week.
But these episodes won’t conclude in the US until 2011, so as the LA Times reports, the last shoot was something of an anti-climax.
Behind the scenes too, during the last week of production, there was an awkward sense that the end had already happened, since much of the crew had already moved to Murphy’s Glee, last year, and Murphy himself was out of the country location-scouting for an upcoming movie.
“It’s sad because it feels incomplete,” said script supervisor Diana Valentine, who asked the cast to sign her finale script in between takes of shooting the show’s last family dinner scene, which included almost every major character. Valentine, who joined the series in its second season, worked on Beverly Hills, 90210 for its entire run. “It’s not the same feeling I had when I was wrapping on 90210. It feels incomplete, kind of separate. It’s very hard.”
But if the actors had had their way, the show would have ended in the fourth season when it was still the No. 1 cable series among 18- to 49-year-olds, a ranking it held for its first four years, and the critics were still in its corner.
True fans of the series know it will never top the third season when ‘ The Carver’ attacker kept the audience on the edge of its seat, and won record cable ratings for its big reveal. From that point the show always struggled to match a glorious season.
“I feel we’ve reached a creative impasse with regards to what we can do with this story,” acknowledged John Hensley, who played Matt, one of the most self-destructive characters ever created for TV. “I feel like it was, quite frankly, told a long time ago. I say that trying to be right-sized about this because I am very grateful for this opportunity. I just feel that we were a show that was very good and innovative at one point and we’ve gone the way of so many shows before us. Our moment has passed.”
“The same thing that bothers me about this show is really what was great about it,” said Dylan Walsh, taking a short break in his trailer. “It existed or came about as an antidote to ER, which was a great show but had such an earnest tone as if that’s reality. It didn’t include the irreverent things and wicked humor and over-the-top scenes of emotion. And Nip / Tuck brought all that craziness, where things happened too quickly and intensely and it made you laugh while you were getting caught up in it. Of course, the longer we went, the more ridiculous it was going to seem, but that was always our thing. It really wasn’t a great show. It was a great ride.”
In separate interviews, Walsh and Julian McMahon told the LA Times that what they’d miss the most about working on the show was each other.
“I’ll miss every day sitting in one trailer or another, talking about everything going on with the show and our lives,” Walsh said. “We are what Ryan wanted the show to be. I love him. That’s the best thing I got out of the show — it was him.”
Australian viewers remain a long way behind the US (we can only hope Nine’s new channel remedies this).