Having become a fan of another show from this same network (I’ll leave you all to guess which one it is *wink*), I chanced seeing this, knowing next to nothing about it. Basing my opinion solely on a single trailer, I – quite impulsively, rented it.
Life in the E.R. can be stressful as any good doctor will likely attest to. Dr. Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) has just rushed a young man into the E.R. after he collapsed on the basketball court. With sole attention directed on him, Hank is disgusted when the hospital directors shove him towards an elderly patient just rushed into the E.R. with chest pains – and coincidentally, the man is a hospital trustee. Temporarily stepping away from his first obligation Hank gets the procedure started only to then defy further orders to return to the young basketball star who is in dire straights. Receiving notification that his elderly patient died due to “lack of proper care,” Hank is questioned about hospital ethics by the board and then promptly fired. Depressed over the total loss of a promising career, which subsequently blackballed him from every reputable hospital, Hank’s plans further crumble when his fiancée leaves him because her “perfect” ideals of marrying a successful doctor collapse. Letting his life spiral out of control, Hank is allowed to mope for far too long when his brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo) “orders” him to the Hamptons for a long weekend – his motives for nothing more than to par-ty, as only the rich can.
Disillusioned to be rubbing shoulders with the wealthy where teenagers simply purchase a car to hide an accident from a parent, Hank comes upon a potentially life-threatening situation while attending a party that Evan conned his way into. There he saves a woman, and catches the attention of the homeowner, Boris (Campbell Scott). Offered the position as a “concierge doctor” who makes house calls and above all respects patient’s privacy, Hank refuses only to find the following morning he is already seen as such with two people possessing his number, and calling with emergencies. To complicate matters more, this also brings three women to his doorstep; Physician’s Assistant, Divya (Reshma Shetty) applying for a job, the woman he saved who claims to be in love with him and a pretty hospital administrator, Jill (Jill Flint) who, maybe, just maybe could change his mind to staying… if Evan would ever stop telling him what he should do, that is. Medical shows have never interested me. Not even the evening-drama-filled-soap-opera types could lure me, if anything they were turn-offs. No, I prefer to stick with some of the decent crime-based shows I’ve come to enjoy, in part because some medical series tend to involve far too many couples hopping into bed before they even had a chance to say “hello,” and the other half because as a medical show, writers aren’t squeamish about writing into scripts any and all terms related to the body that might make some of us, pardon the pun, sick. And if there is one thing that would be considered a downfall of this series, it would be the language, both profanity and the constant sexual dialogue that makes it inevitably into each script.
USA Network likes to promote their shows based on the characters and even though a fan “sold” by only two of their offerings, I can honestly say that the characters are a driving force. Although it cannot be excused, so much about this show helps in making its audience “forget” about what is thrown into scripts in poor taste, because it is really too much fun to miss out on. While I’ll probably change my mind as soon as I watch another episode (those shifting opinions, you know!), Divya is my favorite of the bunch. She is a stitch who we come to understand has more “baggage” than first impressions would suggest, and she and Evan share some interesting dynamics as do she and fiancé, Raj. One of the best lines comes when Evan makes some smart-mouth comment about Divya’s body and she pertly replies, “Don’t objectify me, Sidekick.” Hank on the other hand is the complete opposite of his philandering brother -- some viewers think Mark’s Hank is too contrived, and unrealistic, but I find his characterization refreshing. Hank is a very honest person who no matter what believes in being truthful. This especially helped in his blossoming relationship with Jill, while also disallowing for some of those typical stereotyped patterns to take shape.
Royal Pains is far from flawless but there is a fun vibe that, I’m going to just admit is contagious. It’s a new idea that features episode titles relating to more than just one meaning interwoven into each show. This definitely isn’t for younger viewers and if you want something for younger teens, and medical series are your “thing,” I’d advise you lean towards something different. Settings are gorgeous (especially when they include picnics on the beach with a stunning sunset as a backdrop – after all, this is the Hamptons), the cast shares some fantastic camaraderie, and above all, the forty-five minutes offers up more than one laugh, giving us more than one thought-provoking moments with which to think on… and wishing that it wouldn’t be another year before Hank Med and its subsequent DVD set would hit store shelves.
(Rated TV14 for its sexual material, both in medical terms and as pre-marital sex and/or casual sex in relationships [a few suggestive scenes depict the latter instances]. A married couple expecting a child is briefly seen supposedly having sex to induce labor. There is some talk of losing one’s virginity and birth control. Drinking plays a huge part; parties have guests becoming drunk, randomly making out and drugs are questioned in regards to almost everyone. God’s name is abused by pairing it with da**; Jesus is exclaimed in anything but good ways including a couple of potentially offensive comments. Various medical procedures are experienced but the camera generally steers clear of anything terrible. Mild procedures are performed on a dog and a woman who has a piece of metal inside her; in a quick fix, a man must have fish hooks inserted into his broken rib cage.)