Bravo’s documentary series on Miami plastic surgeons rides so heavily on the coattails of FX’s “Nip/Tuck” you half expect Joely Richardson’s character to show up and start acting crazy. “Miami Slice” has the unfortunate problem of trying to compete with a fictional show that offers more intriguing, erratic characters and much racier content. As any devotee of plastic surgery would attest, sometimes real isn’t the way to go.
Each of the doctors featured is carefully edited into a pastel-colored, Miami-approved stereotype: the workaholic, the gay guy, the kind-hearted fellow, the family man and the divorcee. Most are shown zipping around the city in their expensive cars, hanging out in trendy bars and lounging in their big houses. It’s familiar to the point of cliche.
Where’s the hint of greedy desperation in the participants that “Nip/Tuck” plays on so well? With all the beachy jiggle scenes that open each episode, “Slice’s” intent is to titillate without any mention of the psychological drama and insecurity among those eager for plastic surgery.
Surgery scenes are presented with as much tact as possible, with quick cuts of incisions selected rather than lingering shots of gore. Nudity is clinical (as shown in a doctor’s office) and there isn’t much sexy about women getting drawn on to indicate where the snips and boosts should occur.
The conflicts that do develop over the course of the first two episodes given for review seem incredibly contrived — for example, Dr. Lenny Hochstein’s mom wants him to settle down with a nice girl but comes to realize that the parade of Playboy bunnies running through his mansion is hurting the odds of that ever happening.
The one storyline that shows promise — and might have been a fine docu on its own right — is the weight-loss struggle of Dr. Constantino Mendieta, who, after failing at a number of diets and half-hearted exercise programs, opts for liposuction at the hands of a colleague.
Interviews with the doctors and overviews of their patient consultations are intercut with man-on-the-street interviews with mouth-breathing Miami citizens that should make the tourism board cringe in agony.
If anything, “Slice” serves as a warning to the plastic surgery-curious. But unlike “Nip/Tuck,” the Frankenstein’s monsteresque stitches and grotesque swelling of the patients is real, and the painkiller haze present in post-op interviews is more creepy than comforting.
After all, it’s all glamorous until you see the scar tissue.