Royal Pains, a show in its third season on the USA Network, is my favourite show on television. It is smart, it is funny, it is intelligent, and even if the medspeak can be a bit questionable at times, so far I have not seen anything in it to mess up the premise of the show itself. I just flat like the show as it is, but am a little nervous about what it could become if some of the fans have their way.
Mark Feuerstein plays Hank Lawson, the doctor (I have liked Mark Feuerstein ever since I first saw him on several episodes of The West Wing). Reshma Shetty plays Divya, his physician’s assistant, and Paulo Costanzo plays his brother Evan. There are other characters, such as Jill Casey, played by Jill Flint, his first love in the Hamptons, who works at the local hospital and has opened a clinic for the less wealthy denizens of the Hamptons, Brooke D’Orsay who plays Evan’s love interest Paige, Campbell Scott, who plays Boris, a wealthy German Duke, and Christine Ebersole, who plays Ms. Newberg, one of HankMeds biggest fans. There have been guest artists like Henry Winkler, who played the brothers’ dad, and Greg Jennings, of the Green Bay Packers. There are always guest stars who play people with assorted ailments who generally play the biggest weekly medical problem, and there are always one or two other medical issues. Many of these guest stars are recurring, as would seem appropriate in a place like the Hamptons where there is a small year-round population, and a summer population that grows, as it probably does in real life. I’ve never been to the Hamptons, and I very much enjoy the scenery shown in the show.
There has always been conflict between Hank and Evan because of their different values. Hank is in the Hamptons because he originally chose to treat a homeless/poor person rather than the wealthy chairman of the board at the hospital in the beginning, and that let me know what his values are. The story began after Hank was fired from his job at the big New York City hospital over his choice, and his fiancee (unseen) left him over it, and Evan took Hank off to the Hamptons “to get away from it all”. When Evan dragged Hank to a party in the Hamptons, a party they crashed, Hank saved a young woman from, I think, an allergic reaction to something, he was suddenly noticed, and Boris decided he wanted a live-in concierge doctor for himself, giving Hank and Evan a luxurious apartment on Boris’ very vast grounds. The first two seasons then introduced all the characters in various stories, as well as letting us see that Hank could figure out ways to help people with McGyver-like uses of materials that were available, if he didn’t have full medical equipment with him. I could talk for several pages about the first two seasons thusly, but I think it would be better in this blog to just talk about the show itself, rather than the individual episodes. And recommend that my readers, who are not familiar with the show, to buy or rent the season’s, or watch the shows on-line. They are often found in repeats as well. Again, the show is on the USA Network, and this season, it is on Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time (convert to your own time zone).
We are now, at the beginning of this season, finding the lads living at Boris’ mansion again, but now paying rent, as it should be. During the first two seasons, Hank learned just exactly how many strings he had by living there free. Boris has an inherited disease that could cause him an early death, it is passed down through the male line, and he has a love, a female doctor from Cuba, who is pregnant with his child. He and Marissa have not yet learned whether the child is a boy or girl, and Boris is really conflicted. But he wants Marissa staying in his home, and she would not stay there without Hank and Evan (who had moved out briefly), so when Boris asked Hank to return, he gave them a lease, and Hank insisted on paying rent.
Now Evan, who squandered their money in season two in a get-rich quick scheme, run by their absentee father (who was a father who had deserted his wife when she got ill, and a source of great conflict to Hank), played by Henry Winkler (who is now in prison for crimes against the SEC), wants to hire a publicist and “grow” HankMed. Hank is not in favour of it. Hank has never been one to put money first – his medical practice is the most important thing to him, as we learned from the beginning, and Divya, his PA, feels the same way. She recently broke with her Indian family because she chose to not marry a man they chose for her, and has recently been cut off from the family, and the luxurious life-style she was living. She has had her credit card cancelled and lost her rental car, repossessed because it was in her father’s name, and at present is crashing with the two men at Boris’ property.
Evan just doesn’t seem to get it, I think he is insensitive to others wishes, and he butts in too often. I just watched one of the reruns, where he told Divya’s parents about her job. I think he meddles, and he usually just makes matters worse. He loves money, and the prestige he believes it will bring him, way too much. At least in Paige, who he truly seems to love, he gets part of his dream, since she is really wealthy, and a member of the elite of the Hamptons.
As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan of Evan. He needs to stop meddling in so many lives. I guess it simply goes back to how much he kept trusting his dad, in light of what his dad had done to him, and yet he gave him money so he could get rich faster. I also think he is not paying enough attention to what his trying to make HankMed bigger could do to Hank, just for the sake of more money. Hank is the doctor, and if Evan gets him over-busy, he could start to make mistakes. I think Hank is happy enough right now, and he seems to get all the business he needs.
But I am a bit sensitive to dad issues, and to people pushing, pushing, pushing, for one to get more money so it helps them. Evan is a rich-people snob, and he wants more, more, more, notoriety, money, fancy parties. I also like him with Paige, and I hope they don’t
spoil the storyline by making her ill so they don’t have to hire the actress full-time. She answers all of Evan’s needs for his wish to be part of the elite, and she is in love with him as well.
There are fans pushing for Divya were to end up with Evan. But then I am really more interested in watching Hank and Divya be medical people, and their interactions with the various people they come in contact with. I agree with some that the medical parts can be a bit “fantastic”, but they are fun, and I have learned a couple of things from the show about different things. I was particularly interested in Divya’s explanation of the difference between depression and sadness, as I have had to explain that myself to people who tell me to “just get over it” over my own depression.
What Divya’s father did to her was humiliating, and wrong, first when he cut off her credit cards without telling her, then having the car towed, containing the medical supplies she had just bought for HankMed, but now I am interested in watching how Divya is going to take care of herself – get an apartment, use HankMed credit cards instead of her own, cash her paychecks and live like the poorer folks do. She has a fabulous wardrobe, though I didn’t recognize Dolce and Gabbana, as Evan did. I am interested in seeing where this storyline goes as she is on her own, learning to be independent, and not having to apologize for it. They didn’t make a further story of it, but they were able to get the supplies back, and Divya was so thrilled to have the new car, bought for her by HankMed, even if it was “slightly used”. Maybe she doesn’t need a Mercedes, or whatever it was Evan called it when he commented at the end of last week’s show about how if HankMed had more money, they could have got her one. I just don’t like where Evan’s mind seems to be stuck.
I have an impression that HankMed is bringing in some serious money, and Hank doesn’t seem to be too worried about his ability to live as he is.
I, personally, am interested in money only as it will pay for my standard living expenses. I think Hank has the same sort of values. He was accepting of Boris’ offer of the place to live in exchange for treating Boris, and he did say he would rather pay rent because there were too many constraints otherwise. And no doubt we will continue to see him helping both Boris and his lady, but perhaps he will get paid in return, at least something in addition to having free run of the mansion’s grounds. I see very much that Boris has finally accepted Hank for the caring doctor he is, and I hope we will see something along the lines of Hank being able to help Boris, and perhaps a son that will inherit Boris’ illness, and there will be some story there, along with the other interesting illnesses we will be learning about. Obviously Hank does a lot of grunt work we don’t see because it would not be good drama.
But it at least lets us know that Hank is making money for the company. And I don’t get the feeling that he is taking care of just a few rich people, and having a lot of off time. He and Divya seem to stay busy, out of our sight. Therefore, growing the business as Evan seems to want to, could give Hank and Divya way more to do than they can handle. Or perhaps Evan himself wants them so busy with the rich folk that they will have no time for the poor ones. However it comes about, I do not think Hank would ever quit doing his work for the clinic, and he has just been given guest doctor privileges at the local hospital, something he was not able to get at the beginning, due to the firing from the hospital in New York City.
Again, I think it is the best thing on television, and I watch a lot of other shows that come on basic cable in the summertime, like Leverage and Eureka and Warehouse 13 and several other shows. These are all smart television, intelligent, and not the “reality” shows that are so popular on the networks these days. I enjoy anything that treats me like I am smart, and Royal Pains is the best at that. I highly recommend it.