Friday, June 12, 2009

TV REVIEW: USA's "Royal Pains"

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this series. I figured I already have my fill of the rich and vapid with "Gossip Girl," and there was no new take on the wealthy elite that I was interested in exploring. Plus, I rarely take to medical shows, unless they're filled with personal drama acted out by super attractive people, like on "Grey's Anatomy." However, it wasn't bad.

The series is about Hank (Mark Feuerstein), a dedicated, up-and-coming doctor, who gets fired because he elected to save a young basketball player he found in the street instead of a hospital trustee. When they blacklist him and destroy his credibility, he goes into a deep depression. His opportunistic fiancee (Pascale Hutton from "Flashpoint") dumps him once he goes broke, and his younger, optimistic brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo from "Joey") swoops in to cheer him up. His little brother's idea of a fun time? Crashing parties in the Hamptons. The reason Hank reluctantly goes with him? Netflix suspended his account and he ran out of beer. As luck would have it, the Hamptons is the perfect place for him to reinvent himself. After saving a socialite with a severe allergic reaction, he's hired as a freelance doctor to be at the beck-and-call of every rich person in the neighborhood. I'm not quite sure how long the series can make "tending to the wealthy" interesting, but much like "Psych," it keeps you entertained comically so as to distract from the lack of interesting plot developments.

While I could've done without a socialite (Tamara Feldman from "Gossip Girl") developing Nightengale's syndrome and falling in love with Hank, I do like what looked to be the addition of the spunky, rich kid Tucker (Ezra Miller from "Californication"), as well as an overview of the types of cases he'd be dealing with, from car accident injuries to plastic surgery mishaps. Tucker had this funny line where he says, "Don't punk the crackberry, she'll light your ass up like a Christmas tree." It was so random and uncharacteristic that it made me crack up.

But there are a few things I would change:
1) The Russian benefactor Boris (Campbell Scott from "Six Degrees"), who commissioned him to be the new on-call "concierge" for the East Hamptons (cause apparently West Hamptons is Worst Hamptons--lame), is kind of cheesy, and not in the least bit intimidating. He's dismissive and over-confident, but not intimidating. And I'm assuming at some point he's going to order him to do something unethical or illegal, and I need to believe there'll be serious consequences.

2) Jill (Jill Flint from "Six Degrees"), the head of the town's death trap hospital, seemed very relaxed in the pilot for someone who is an administrator at a hospital no one respects. Ok, so maybe she's not caught up in the rep hype, but she should've be concerned that people would rather die than go to her hospital. Also, since they made her so agreeable and interested in him, there really isn't much of a "chase." He seems pretty confident that he'll score her, unless of course a guy--hopefully not the Russian--gets in his way.

3) His assistant Divya (newcomer Reshma Shetty) is...I can't even put my finger on it. I mean, she's helpful and well equipped, but they need to fully commit her character to either being quirky or serious. "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" has a perfect example of how you would balance that type of personality, but she seems indecisive. However, it does seem like she's hiding a secret from them and her parents, so we'll see where that leads.

Now, here are few things I hope doesn't happen:

1) The prodigal girlfriend returns: She was a social climbing leech and if she should ever return, it should only be to wallow in self pity after realizing that real fiancees stand by their future betrothed and support them. I don't want to see some lame plotline about how she wants him back and plans to compete against Jill for him.

2) I don't ever want to see that pathetic Nightengale girl again. No matter what series she's been in, Tamara has always played an unbearable nuisance.

So far the series is like "Privileged" had a baby, by stealing sperm from Michael in "Burn Notice" and implanting it into "Private Practice" as a surrogate. Why not add it to your summer TV schedule.

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