Lucy and Ricky did it. So did Laverne and Shirley. Now Drs. Sean McNamara and Christian Troy are moving to greater Los Angeles — specifically, Beverly Hills — just in time for Nip/Tuck's Season 5 premiere tonight at 10 pm/ET on FX. While cynics might cry that a series changing locales for its fifth season is a stunt, it actually makes perfect sense for the firm of McNamara/Troy to relocate to the plastic-surgery capital of the world.
"It was smart that Ryan [Murphy, Nip/Tuck's creator] anticipated the need for a change," muses Dylan Walsh (Sean) to TVGuide.com. "We probably could have done another season in Miami, but I think Ryan felt like it was good to go before people got tired of it." Adds Julian McMahon (Christian): "The move is a great idea. It's invigorated everyone in a lot of different ways."
"The tone of the show will be lighter and there's some really fun stuff, but I don't think we've left all the darkness behind," says Walsh. "I don't think we'll go back to the 'Carver' tone [from a few seasons ago]. It's more of a 'selling your soul' tone. The show has more relevance in L.A. In Miami [getting cosmetic surgery] was about vanity and how far you'd go to be beautiful. Here, it's inevitably going to be tied to the business, people's careers and the ability to make money."
A stud like Christian on the loose in a town filled with aspiring ingenues (not to mention aging actresses in need of a lift) is like letting a kid loose in a candy store. McMahon, however, previews that his on-screen alter ego might have some trouble adjusting to life among the beautiful people. "Christian's going to find himself at odds in Hollywood," says the actor. "He feels like he should be able to just fit in there like he did in Miami, but he can't. There are a lot of other charming plastic surgeons [in town]."
One of the advantages of being set in Los Angeles is location shooting. While Nip/Tuck had to hide L.A. when it would try to capture Miami, now it can take advantage of all that sunny California has to offer. "We've been to Pink's [hot-dog stand] and Grauman's Chinese Theatre," says Walsh. "In the pilot, we went to Miami, but we never went back there."
Funnywoman (and plastic-surgery advocate) Joan Rivers appeared as herself on Nip/Tuck in 2004, but don't expect Sean and Christian to be seen leering at Bill Holden and Eve Arden (ask your
parents grandparents) over a plate of spaghetti at the Brown Derby. "It's tempting, but I think early on that Ryan might be avoiding [having real-life celebrities do cameos on the show] so that it doesn't become a stunt," says Walsh, who teases, "I know one storyline that [the show's] been carrying for years that would involve a celebrity."
"We have so many people coming on that are willing to play other roles," concurs McMahon. "It gives them a chance to do things that they never have. People like to come on our show because they like to play."
Season 5 is jam-packed with name guest stars: Lauren Hutton as Fiona McNeil, a savvy high-powered publicist; Craig Bierko as Bob Easton, a CEO of a successful major movie studio; Tia Carrere as "Mistress Dark Pain," a dominatrix; and Bradley Cooper and Paula Marshall as stars of "Hearts 'N Scalpels," a fictional medical-drama that the writers use to poke fun at the TV biz (and have way too much fun in the process). "It's the worst medical drama on the air," chuckles Walsh. "It mocks Nip/Tuck. We're going to have a type of humor on the show that we haven't had before. It's almost farcical."
Hoping to find surgical clients through some exposure, Sean and Christian take gigs as consultants and occasional under-five players on the series. They soon get a taste of the inner workings of TV production — down to actors searching for motivation, temperamental stars and what it's like to have your best work end up on the cutting-room floor.
Also, Rosie O'Donnell is reprising her role as lottery winner Dawn Budge, whose mouth needs to be sewn shut after she goes hang-gliding and is attacked by
Elisabeth Hasselbeck an eagle. "I thought Dawn was a great character from the get-go," raves McMahon. "She comes back this year and involves herself with Oliver Platt's character [Freddy Prune, "Hearts 'N Scalpels"' show-runner]. The two of them are brilliant and they should do a spin-off. But Dylan and I would have to go visit, of course."
"This season is more fun and more connected," adds McMahon. "The first two shows are very funny. We've taken the humorous side of the show further and [moved] the darker side a little further away."
Also returning are Roma Maffia as no-nonsense Liz (Troy/McNamara can't operate without her!) and John Hensley and Kelly Carlson as new parents Matt and Kimber. Joely Richardson's Julia, now split from Sean, has found a new love with "Oli" — short for "Olivia," played by Portia de Rossi. (Unlike Christian probably would, Sean fails to see any opportunities in this twist.) "I think one of the only men in America who'd be bothered by this is Sean McNamara," admits Walsh. "But he deals with it. I always thought Sean was a pretty liberal-minded guy. I think it's an interesting thing for Joely to play. The show has always been about people changing. We've always been adventurous."
How adventurous will Nip/Tuck get? Murphy has said that the show is a "love story between two heterosexual men," which implies there will be love — but no love scenes — between the two guys, at least not this season. "We keep trying to get them to write that in, but Ryan is very shy," jokes Walsh.
McMahon says that he's also asking for a Sean/Christian romp — only, unlike his costar, he's not kidding. "That would have to be the series finale," McMahon says. "And I'm still pushing for that."
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