Some medical shows use a hard-to-fathom draw. Most of them are soapy dramas that fill an hour-long time slot with immoral escapades and cover-ups. The exact opposite is true of Royal Pains. True, it is not perfect but this breezy summer crowd-pleaser is sure a lot of fun.
The business end of HankMed may be booming but the private lives of its staff, not so much. Hank (Mark Feuerstein) has spent the better part of the winter without any of his friends or family around and has instead focused on caring for the few patients who do live in the Hamptons during the off-season. Brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo) went off on a tour of Europe with his lady love, Paige (Brooke D’Orsay) and their father (Henry Winkler) has been sentenced to time in a correctional facility in the state of Florida for his white collar crimes. All of the brother’s family drama caused an upheaval with their benefactor, Boris (Campbell Scott) who kicked them out of their residence which happens to be Boris’ guest house, and as a result, they have lived in one of their wealthy patients’ summer house. Now back in the Hamptons, Evan is excited about Paige’s return from yet another trip and Hank is ready for the summer to begin so he can get back to work. Hank doesn’t have to wait long when a tour bus crashes and tips on its side right on Main Street – and it leads him to discover that the driver in one of the cars may have a condition that if left untreated could become very dangerous.
Evan’s lavish plans for a welcome home party are interrupted by the arrival of Hank’s on-again girlfriend Jill (Jill Flint). The pretty Hampton’s Heritage hospital administrator left at the end of last summer to embark on a short-term medical mission trip and her return finds her wanting to tell Hank some important news. Meanwhile, Divya (Reshma Shetty) is having her own set of changes in her personal life. A very private person who doesn’t want to drag her friends in on what she sees as her fault. In the aftermath of the wedding she called off to the man her parents had pre-arranged marriage to has caused a serious falling out between Divya and her parents – and the threat of a lawsuit from her almost in-laws. This brings more than one new challenge for Divya – but no matter what, she is determined to see them through without anyone’s help.
Before barely any time has passed in this collection of installments, it is made clear that conflict is going to be the division that divides characters and the show’s plot lines. It is something I, as a fan and happy-ending kind-of-girl am not entirely pleased the writers taking such a direction and how it is upsetting characters – and fans. Considering we get to see the always-adorable Libby again (our favorite hypochondriac who is now aspiring to be a doctor) and we watch as impressive guest star after guest star continue to feature in the credits, nearly all can be forgiven. Some of those guest stars include Shiri Appleby, Natalie Zea (Justified), Edward Asner and Julie Benz. Unfortunately it is Julie’s guest spot that opens the door to one of the shows more content-prone – and politically correct episodes yet.
In a switch for USA programming, the distributor released the first volume of season three as opposed to the entire set in early spring. It creates more of a cliffhanger situation this way because the set ends on the mid-season finale as opposed to a seasonal finale. For all of its usual flaws, these ten plus episodes are wonderful additions to a show that is now heading towards its consecutive and successful fourth season. I enjoyed every minute of it. I grew to love Paige and Evan just a little bit more (if writers do not marry them off, the show will have one very upset fan); she is so cute, and I love how head over heels in love Evan is with her (so much so that he bakes her dozens of cream puffs – yep, that is quite a picture). The mystery with Boris becomes a little bit more mysterious and Hank discovers a revelation about his medical condition in the process. Then, there is Evan. Ever the business man, he sees adding another doctor as an asset – Hank does not. When it comes down to picking and choosing my shows, I will definitely still be checking this one out each summer – a year behind or not, it was the perfect entertainment on DVD during these long winter months.
(Rated TV14: In “Apple a Day,” a subplot reveals one woman became a lesbian some seven years ago and she has been living with her partner ever since then. The two of them kiss twice prompting Libby to once suggest they “get a room.” Elsewhere there is some sexual foreplay and proper medical terms used. Implications suggest both Hank and Evan have intimate relationships with their girlfriends [a nude sketch of Evan winds up being in an art show]. There are a few scattered profanities – secrets are kept from people that later cause rifts between characters. Several medical procedures are completed with whatever instruments are on hand – some of which can be nauseating depending on viewers’ stamina and others are not.)