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A Walking Pile of Ashes

“The anonymous sex-crazed sycophants who meet once a week to groupthink their way out of desperation.”

This is how Nip/Tuck’s Dr. Christian Troy describes 12-step programs (specifially Sexaholics Anonymous), in this brilliant scene from season 1, episode 5, which aired on FX August 19, 2003. Then he goes on to take on sentimentality, self-esteem, and the meaning of life. Great writing by Lynnie Greene and Richard Levine! Great delivery by Julian McMahon also. (Everyone realize his American accent is fake? He’s the son of Sir William McMahon, former Prime Minister of Australia!)

Following is a transcipt of the best part of his speech. I saw this like three years ago and it stuck with me. Finally went and dug out the clip:

Time to 12-step your way out of here! You want the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and can’t change? Here’s step 13: everything disappears. Love, trees, rocks, steel, plastic, human beings. None of us get out alive. Now, you can huddle in a group and face it one day at a time, or you can be grateful that when your body rubs against somebody else’s it explodes with enough pleasure to make you forget, even for a minute, that you’re only a walking pile of ashes. Now THAT is the truth. If you’re strong it’ll make you free, if you’re weak, it’ll make you…you.

Wow. Fantastic.

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Comments (5 comments)

a / July 8th, 2006, 10:00 am / #1

That is excellent writing for a cheap ass tv show.

BlackSun / July 8th, 2006, 2:35 pm / #2

I admit I’m a little biased, since I promote the show. But I think it’s a damn good show all around ;-) You should check out some of the episodes. The “carver” storyline is a little gimmicky, but most of the writing is top notch. A much deeper window into human nature–and particularly human darkness–than we normally see. Hopefully it will inspire other writers to be equally daring, and other networks to understand that there’s a place for honest television, even when that honesty hurts.

As an aside, please read “Desperate Networks.” It’s a hugely entertaining and revealing book about TV.

brandon / July 8th, 2006, 6:15 pm / #3

I’ve only seen the show like three times. That was one that i saw. And even though what he says i disagree with, that really is some of the best writing on t.v., just that clip. Gotta give credit were credit is due.

Debby Havely / July 4th, 2011, 8:49 pm / #4

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usa college rankings / August 13th, 2013, 3:30 am / #5

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post. The dialogue from your episode was so inspiring and powerful. I missed the past few episodes and I will try to watch it in You tube. Keep up the good work. Thumbs up.

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