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Queerest show on

Queerest show on


Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy's boundaries-smashing series on FX about a pair of South Beach plastic surgeons, Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), has pushed the envelope in its explicit on-screen sexuality and diverse spate of sexual orientations. Last season, Sean and Christian enlisted a third surgeon, Quentin Costa (Bruno Campos), who turned out not only to be bisexual--making a pass at Christian during a foursome and being caught bottoms-up with a studly soldier patient--but an incestuous, penisless serial slasher. (Yes, he had no penis.) Sean's teenage son, Matt (John Hensley), has been involved with a lesbian as well as an older transsexual woman (a vampy Famke Janssen). And LGBT characters regularly pass through the office, with their own various personality tics.

"Nip/Tuck deals with all kinds of sexuality," says Murphy. "I always approach my work with sexuality being the texture as opposed to being the point. I think that's how most people live their lives, and that's how I like to do it."

Season 4 promises to be queerer than ever. In a season-long thread, Christian questions whether he's harboring gay feelings for Sean, at one point experiencing a sexual fever dream. "I will go on the record as saying Christian is straight," Murphy says. "But I think it's fascinating to explore how having emotional feelings for a man can make you feel very threatened, and along with that comes a couple of very funny gay-panic reactions."

Lesbian anesthesiologist Liz Cruz (Roma Maffia) finally gets a girlfriend, albeit with typical Nip/Tuck complications. "She's mean and tries to make Liz go on a diet and get lipo," Murphy says, laughing. "You always see the prissy, gay-guy body-conscious thing, but I've never seen that lipstick-lesbian looksism-ageism thing explored."

Mario Lopez guest-stars as a younger plastic surgeon who catches Christian's envious eye at the gym. "It's not sexual," Murphy clarifies. "It's about Mario having this fantastic body of a 30-year-old, and Christian feeling 40 and like suddenly he's not the wunderkind at the gym anymore." Jacqueline Bisset plays a "great bisexual threat" to the doctors, out actor Richard Chamberlain appears as a gay millionaire who wants his younger boyfriend modified to look like him (a la Liberace and Scott Thorson), and Rosie O'Donnell will play a patient who needs a new ear. "She wears these huge earrings, and someone comes by with a switchblade and cuts off her ear," Murphy explains. "She's earjacked! That actually does happen."

Yet for all the lines crossed on Nip/Tuck, there was one surgery plotline that ranked a little too queer for this queerest of TV series. "We considered having a patient who looked like George Bush and was getting pies thrown at him, so he wanted to get his face changed," Murphy shares, amused. "Like, 'You've got to make me not look like the president--I used to be proud, and now it's a problem!' "

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