One would think that Nip/Tuck, a taboo-filled show about two plastic surgeons in body-conscious Miami, would pretty much write itself. Well, the fact is that it doesn't; that duty falls largely on show creator Ryan Murphy.
Nip/Tuck is getting ready for its season-five premiere on October 30, and with it comes a big change--the doctors are moving their practice to Los Angeles.
In preparation for the new season, Murphy held a conference call with a panel of journalists (TV.com among them) to answer questions that may be on their minds.
The greatest change in the show--the move to LA--was a hot topic, and the reasons behind the move were a bit surprising.
"[The decision to move the setting to LA] was really nothing but my own boredom," said Murphy. "I love the idea of [the characters] going from being big fishes in a small pond to the opposite... It was just about, OK, if I'm going to come back and commit to two more seasons of this show, I need something to be interested in about."
Murphy always considered the show to be "very L.A." from the beginning--"sort of the purveyor of trends and pain at the same time, and desperation."
Nip/Tuck is undergoing a bit of its own lengthening; this season FX asked for 22 episodes, instead of the normal 15 or so from the previous four years. Murphy admits that the extra time will make the season "a little funky." Though it will be one season to viewers, Murphy sees it as three parts, which are conveniently divided up between the scheduled hiatuses.
So we know where and how long the season will be, but what about what's inside? Murphy promises that the cases will continue to be strange, unusual, and plucked from the headlines (or in some cases actually preceding headlines).
"I remember when we did the face transplant, I got a lot of heat when we were shooting it, like this has never happened," said Murphy. "And then I think literally two weeks after [the episode] aired, [doctors had performed] the first face transplant."
Murphy then discussed the show within the show, a spoof on medical dramas called Hearts and Scalpels. That show serves as the motive for the move to Los Angeles, because the doctors become medical advisors for it.
"It's an amalgamation between our show and ER and Grey's Anatomy, where you have sometimes inappropriate romance scenes and these incredible scenes of carnage, which don't really make sense, but are very funny to write."
The faux show has become so popular that Murphy has been contacted to make it its own online show. Given his hectic schedule, he doesn't think it'll happen, but he does say the crew is planning on doing an entire episode of Nip/Tuck that is all Hearts and Scalpels.
Season five will also feature bigger budgets, which is the result of FX being solidly behind the show.
"Our sets are like three times as big. In success, the network has supported us in making this year even loftier than it's ever been before," explained Murphy. "And if I ever need anything else extra, [FX is] always the first to step up."
As far as writing the storylines for the new season, Murphy is doing something that isn't typical for a producer--he's actually listening to fans. By scouring online message boards--particularly Niptuckforum.com--he can get an idea of what fans like and don't like.
One thing that will never change is Dr. Christian Troy. When asked if the character, who was recently made a grandfather on the show, would continue to be his flashy, sex-crazed, arrogant self, Murphy had a simple response. "Oh yes, until the end of time."