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‘Dr. 90210’ not just artificial sweetener

There’s a show for every niche, and if your niche is plastic surgery, the show for you is “Dr. 90210” (E!, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET). Devoted to the lives and patients of a handful of Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, it’s a cross between a personal-profile documentary and the sort of squirm-inducing surgical footage usually found on obscure cable channels in the middle of the night. To its credi
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

There’s a show for every niche, and if your niche is plastic surgery, the show for you is “Dr. 90210” (E!, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET).

Devoted to the lives and patients of a handful of Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, it’s a cross between a personal-profile documentary and the sort of squirm-inducing surgical footage usually found on obscure cable channels in the middle of the night.

To its credit, “Dr. 90210” packs a lot of action. In this week’s season premiere, Dr. Rey got his hair highlighted, pressed his wife to have another baby, and gave giant implants to photographer Anneli. Anneli’s friends — a group of adult film stars — supportively whipped out their breasts over a restaurant lunch in order to show her the limited scarring they had from their own surgeries.

Elsewhere, Dr. Nassif, who specializes in “revision rhinoplasty” (nose jobs for people who have already had them), showed off his nine-bedroom house and his obscenely wealthy wife, and offered the miscellaneous revelation that his personal chef is Britney Spears’s dad. (Really!) He also operated on Cynthia, who, after several surgeries to correct a cleft lip, still felt “like a Picasso painting” and wanted to feel pretty for her wedding.

While the show is largely E!’s excuse to talk about (and show) breasts, it’s interesting, too. Have you ever seen a “transumbilical breast augmentation”? Yes, that’s inserting breast implants through the belly button, and Dr. Rey specializes in it. Some of the footage will make you jump — Dr. Nassif “flaying open” Cynthia’s nose to insert cartilage from her ear was not for the faint of heart. But the show avoids making the doctors and patients into Beverly Hills caricatures in spite of what easy targets they are, and the resulting mix of medical and personal detail works surprisingly well.

Linda Holmes is a writer in Bloomington, Minn.