Every once in a while I’ll come across a television show that I become absolutely obsessed about. 

A few years ago it was Queer as Folk, which I was introduced to by my very dear friends Matt and Clem.  It was all about hot gay boys in Pittsburg, and the trials and tribulations of their lives.  I  know, very similar to my life.  He he he.  Every Sunday evening I would trek over to the city, pick up Ayanna, and we would enjoy our Sunday evening Showtime lineup.  Oftentimes it was the four of us would watch amidst a flurry of chips, soda, and laughter, but every once in a while a soiree would ensue and we would be joined by four, seven, twelve, other fabulous San Francisco men.

QAF

I joined the Sunday night group a few episodes into the second season of QAF, so to catch up, I borrowed the first season DVD set from Matt.  I plopped myself down in front of the TV and watched the first episode, then the second, then the fifth…and before I knew it, it was the next day and I had watched all twenty-something episodes.  It didn’t hurt that one of the stars, Gale Harold, was my eye candy at the time (aside from Dave, that is).  When I made it to the next Sunday night gathering, Matt was both shocked and disturbed that I had gone through the entire season in such a short amount of time.  I call it commitment; he called it crazy.

I ended up buying the first, second, and third seasons on DVD.  I still have to buy the fourth and fifth (last)

As a side note, I met Dave during this time in my life, and one thing that I truly appreciated and loved about him was that he also came to our Sunday night gatherings.  After a while, the get-togethers became fewer and farther between, but I loved that Dave enjoyed spending the evening with me and my friends, who quickly became his dear friends as well.  Oftentimes Dave was only straight man in the room, so for him to watch a show that was both so graphic in its display of the lifestyle of gay men, and banter about it with the rest of us…I knew he was a catch.  (He also met my two-prong dating test: he is (1) pro-choice, and (2) not at all homophobic.

More recently, I discovered Charmed.  It was on the WB (which probably already speaks volumes as to the quality of the show), and although was recently cancelled, was on for a total of 8 seasons.  This gives it the distinction of being the longest-running female-led series on television!

Charmed 

Charmed is about a trio of sisterly witches (or witchy sisters) who live in San Francisco and are constantly ridding the San Francisco Bay Area of evil.  I don’t know what it was about this show that I loved…perhaps it was the fact that it was a group of sisters working together to accomplish the greater good…perhaps it was the fact that it was set in San Francisco, and every once in a while other areas (Berkeley, Napa, etc.) would be portrayed…perhaps it was the fact that I was crushing on Leo the Whitelighter (Angel), who was also the star of Return to the Blue Lagoon (aka really bad movie).  Yes, as I said, quality programming.

(The show also featured Cole the Source of all Evil (Julian McMahon, of nip/tuck fame – see below!). 

The show started out starring Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannon Doherty of Beverly Hills 90210 fame.  Charmed rumor has it that Alyssa Milano and Shannon Doherty started to hit the down and outs by the third season, so Shannon was eventually kicked off the show, only to be replaced by Rose McGowan, of the Marilyn Manson chain-mail-barely-a-dress fame.  The story portrayed Shannon’s leaving by killing her off, breaking the powers of the sisters, the Power of Three. 

The fourth season introduced Paige (Rose McGowan) as the long-lost Halliwell sister, the product of the Charmed Ones’ with mother and her whitelighter (guardian angel).  Apparently, that relationship was forbidden, and witch and whitelighter were forced to give their daughter Paige up, for fear of the wrath of the Elders (the powers that be).

Long story short – after the death of Prue the sisters became whole again, and the remaining five seasons were spent with them kicking demon butt, saving everything from mermaids to leprechauns to fairy-nymphs, to ridding the world of the ultimate evil (who turned out to be two blonde sisters…humph, go figure…).

Again, not necessarily quality programming, but definitely fulfilled a guilty pleasure of mine.

Finally, just last week, Dave and I discovered the latest and greatest show to waste an evening catching up on the DVD back-seasons, nip/tuck.  Oh my God…this show has got it all.  Drama. Sex. Beauty. Gossip. Intrigue. Graphic surgical procedures.  I love it!

Nip Tuck 

I first heard about the show a year or two ago from my dear friend Christine.  Christine and I have been friends since we were 15 years old, and have done a lot of growing up together, although most of it has been in the form of late night telephone conversations and during my somewhat less-than-frequent visits to see my parents.  She is one of the best girlfriends in the world, and I love to dish with her.  So, when she first told me about the show, she was absolutely raving about it.  I almost jumped on the nip/tuck bandwagon right then and there, but at that point, I couldn’t commit my TIVO to other programming (not enough time, both in my life and on the TIVO hard drive). 

A few months ago, I caught an episode of nip/tuckand thought, “Hmmm, it’s very juicy, but I’m already three seasons behind.  I’d hate to have to spend all of that time trying to catch up.”  So, I still didn’t commit at that point (we were in the middle of the Treasure Hunters season), although I did enjoy what I did see.

As I’m writing this, I’m a bit concerned at what seems like the vast amount of television that we watch.  Oh well.

Last weekend, Dave and I were at Fry’s buying random digital camera accessories for our honeymoon in a few weeks, when I walked by the television DVD section, and there it was…nip/tuck season one on sale for $19.99.  At that point I figured, “What the heck…I’ve been curious enough for a while to buy it, and if we can buy random shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Filipino movies like Dreamboy, then crap, we can spend $20.00 on a DVD that I’ve had more than a passing interest in.”

We got home, had dinner, popped the DVD into the player, and two hours later, we were hooked.  The characters were incredibly compelling and complex, wavering between hero and villain, good and bad, exemplary ethics and moral bankruptcy.  I went back and forth between feeling sorry for them to being disgusted at every turn, to thinking they were heroes, and the I enjoyed every last campy minute of it.

nip/tuck started off by introducing us to the two main characters, Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon).  Sean is married to Julia, and with Christian, the three are longtime friends from college.  Among the various plot-lines include:

  • Christian is a narcissistic perfectionist who wants the one thing that he can’t have – his best friend’s wife;
  • Julia and Sean’s son Matt is involved in a hit and run with a girl from his high school, to nobody’s knowledge but his and his friend;
  • Christian dates an aspiring model he deems to be an “8”, and convinces her to undergo surgery to become a “10”;
  • Sean and Christian become involved with a Colombian drug lord who hires aspiring young models to be his mules, by bringing heroin into the country in their breast implants;
  • Joey Slotnick plays a competing plastic surgeon who trades his Lamborghini for one of Christian’s girlfriends.

Tell me what you don’t like about yourself” is how each show begins.  The surgery characters are introduced, and the patient back-story oftentimes parallels issues that the main characters face (a la Six Feet Under, another incredible show).  Sometimes it is hilarious, as when Christian joins Sexaholics Anonymous only to hook up with one of the group leaders.  Other times it is tragic, as when Sean falls in love with a breast cancer patient who leaves her husband and gets breast implants, only to learn that her breast cancer has returned. 

I don’t want to go on and on about storylines, other than to say that Dave and I got through the first season in about a week. I’m sure that we’ll get through the remaining two seasons before we leave for Europe.

On a final note, to my delight and surprise, Dave came home from work on Thursday with season 2 of nip/tuck in hand, for the lovely price of $19.99.  We’re already three episodes in.

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