Plastic surgery and power in The Night Of | The Star
Skip to Main Content
PodcastsNewslettersToday’s paper
      Skip to Main Content
      Sign In
      At 66, Jeannie Berlin, seen in The Night Of with John Turturro, has had a good career. She’s also had obvious work done on her face.

      Plastic surgery and power in The Night Of

      The Show:The Night Of, Season 1, Episode 3

      The Moment: The botched facelift

      High-powered attorney Alison (Glenne Headly) and a client with misshapen cheeks address a knot of courthouse reporters. “We’re not only going after the so-called doctor who mauled my client’s face,” Alison says, “but also the airline that fired her because, as they put it, the results made it too disturbing for the passengers.”

      “Wasn’t the surgery voluntary?” asks a woman TV reporter.

      “You’re a stewardess who served your employer faithfully for 25 years,” Alison replies. “They drop hints like confetti that you need to keep up your appearance. So you do what you know you have to do. What any woman over 40 who deals with the public has to do.” She pauses. “What a reporter who works for Channel 7 News, before you know it, will have to do.”

      The reporter flinches. “So was it voluntary?” Alison asks. “You tell me.”

      I said I’d write about this show again and here I am. The scene just before this featured district attorney Helen (Jeannie Berlin). At 66, Berlin has had a good career. She’s also had obvious work done on her face.

      That got me thinking about how blatant plastic surgery has become a plot point. Casting an actress who’s done it — Jessica Lange in Horace and Pete, Courteney Cox in Cougar Town, Berlin here — is now shorthand for, “She’s trying to hang on to her power.”

      Then boom, this scene, driving the point home. I disagree with Alison’s assertion that surgery is necessary. But TV series sure are making use of it.

      The Night Of debuts Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO. Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments. She usually appears Monday through Thursday.



      More from The Star & Partners

      More Entertainment

      Top Stories