[03/03/10 - 12:23 AM]
Interview: "Nip/Tuck" Executive Producer Jennifer Salt
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

After seven seasons the envelope-pushing series "Nip/Tuck" is closing the doors of McNamara/Troy with its 100th episode tonight on FX. Besides the many cosmetic procedures, big name guest stars, moving from the East to the West coast and breaking as many taboos as possible, the Ryan Murphy-created series was definitely one of the most talked about and controversial dramas ever on television. To talk about the series and to see if fans can expect a happy ending for doctors Christian (Julian McMahon) and Sean (Dylan Baker) as well as supporting characters Liz (Roma Maffia), Matt (John Hensley) and Julia (Joely Richardson), our Jim Halterman talked with Executive Producer Jennifer Salt to gather her final thoughts as the series wraps up.

Jim Halterman: Tell me how the writers approached wrapping up the series.

Jennifer Salt: I think the ideas we thought about were the times we live in and what was the natural end for these guys. In other words, without pushing it and having an explosion or killing them off and whatever, the idea that the show always explored this notion that we don't really change and we try to change ourselves from the outside. We don't do the work to change ourselves from the inside. So I think the idea was that these people never could change so inevitably what could happen.

JH: Christian had a dream in one of the last episodes where his father tells him 'Stop fighting who you are!' That's interesting since the question we've heard the most on the show is "What don't you like about yourself?"

JS: Everybody is always fighting who they are, they're filled with self-loathing and the whole idea of the show was this kind of Grimms Fairy Tale... a cautionary fairy tale about what happens when you can't do it, when you can't really see a way through and you kind of make these phony changes. We don't like ourselves. Most people are sort of mired in self-loathing and take all the wrong routes. They take the long routes to find that happiness and these are the consequences. It's a show about those consequences.

JH: Nip/Tuck seems to have done just about everything imaginable on the show. Anything you wish you could have done and didn't get to?

JS: I don't think so. I think we all went beyond our own expectations of what could be done. I think we did do everything to explore the idea of happiness.

JH: The show was known for going to the extreme with many of the stories and situations but do you think the show ever went too far?

JS: I definitely thought some things went too far and as a group I think we all felt a little funky about 'The Carver' and how that season ended. I think everyone involved in the show had certain reservations about the way that was told and how that was conceived. I think that was a case where we were pushing ourselves; pushing too hard to be shocking and I think that the fine line mostly, I think, what was great about the show was that it always was shocking and it was when it was good it we were able to write it so you could almost buy it. Somehow you bought it. It was written in a kind of hyper-real way and when it didn't work was when we pushed ourselves and did things in order to create an effect rather than allow them to come out of the psyches and dark souls of our characters.

JH: The flipside to that, what was your favorite storyline?

JS: There are so many episodes that I loved. My own favorite storyline, I think, that I got to write was about Sean having sex with the Kimber-doll. I think that was very meaningful to me because that was one of those situations where it was decided that he would have sex with the doll before anyone understood why. It was my job to figure out why and what would drive him to it and I discovered this rage in him as I was writing it. It all came together and it all made sense. It felt like it was really about that part of men that feel helpless and enraged with a woman. It felt very real to me and that was really, really fun.

JH: As a viewer, there is a lot of the show that is rooted in reality. Do you agree?

JS: We certainly made that effort and we succeeded more than we failed. We didn't always pull it off but I think that was the idea - to push everything right to the edge and keep it real. Not natural, not ordinary but portioned by it.

JH: Having lived in Los Angeles a long time, it more times than not seemed like even the most out-there characters and story could easily be real.

JS: Everything was based on a real story, that's for sure.

JH: Now that the show has wrapped up, what are you working on?

JS: Ryan [Murphy] and I wrote 'Eat, Pray, Love' and he directed it and that's coming out in August with Julia Roberts and all sorts of great people. I just produced a pilot of my own which probably isn't going to get picked up but I haven't heard yet.

JH: You started out acting and now you're predominantly a writer. How did your acting career inform your writing?

JS: I think that I'm totally based in character and it's harder for me to think in story terms. It's harder for me to figure out a story. I find often that the characters have to tell me what they're going through as I write them so it's sort of my imagination in terms of character is what pushes me and informs me and uses my creative place and writing is much more difficult than that. Writing is about structure. Writing is about story. That's the toughest part and that's the part that I've had to work very hard at.

The "Nip/Tuck" finale, entitled "Hiro Yoshimura," airs tonight at 10:00/9:00c on FX.

  [march 2010]  


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