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TV Reviews

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama, Comedy, Medical
Cast
Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson; Paulo Costanzo as Evan R. Lawson; Jill Flint as Jill Casey; Reshma Shetty as Divya Katdare; Campbell Scott as Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz; Brooke D'Orsay as Paige Collins; Ben Shenkman as Jeremiah Sacani; Stephen Spinella as Russell Berger; Willa Fitzgerald as Emma; Jeremy Davidson as Ray
Channel
USA
Reviewer
Paul Asay
Royal Pains

Royal Pains

Who says doctors don't make house calls?

In USA's light, escapist medical dramedy Royal Pains, Dr. Hank Lawson makes nothing but house calls. He's what is known as a "concierge doctor," a physician who brings quality health care right to your door with a smile—in return for a four-figure check, of course.

Not that Hank planned to practice his medicine in the well-to-do Hamptons—a near-mythical seaside land so littered with rich people that Fabergé eggs are sold by the dozen at the local QuikMart. Originally an emergency room doc in New York City, he was summarily banished for letting a wealthy man die under his care. Now operating under the umbrella of HankMed—the name being a brainstorm by Hank's brother and self-appointed CFO, Evan—Hank serves up the best medicine money can buy. Capable assistant Divya and awkward fellow doc Jeremiah round out the staff.

HankMed operates out of the guest house of Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz—Hank's fabulously wealthy friend, benefactor and patient. But while you can take the doctor out of the ER, you can't take the ER out of the doctor. Between making house calls, Hank also cares for the resort's lesser-moneyed residents, often free of charge. It's a trope that makes Hank feel better about his day job … and it might remove a little guilt from viewers of this guilty pleasure of a show.

Royal Pains is one pinch House, three dashes Magnum, P.I. and a whole sloshing bucket load of summer escapism. It's as deep as a light sunburn, as provocative as a sensible winter coat. But at least there aren't any dismemberments, right? No nudity. No f- or s-words. The Hamptons may be just 200 miles from Ocean City, N.J., but Royal Pains is light-years away from Jersey Shore.

That's not the complete picture, though. Bikini-clad women have infiltrated the Hamptons like fire ants, and sexual innuendo can occasionally mar the dialogue. Unmarried couples are sometimes shown in bed together. Certain intimate scenes can be suggestive and sultry, if not out-and-out salacious. And occasionally, Hank doesn't just make clever diagnoses: He sometimes plunges into a graphically rendered medical procedure right on the spot.

It's also worth noting that Hank's do-gooder mentality has led him to take license with the law—skirting or bending the rules that get in his way. He tries to preserve the medical ethics that are most convenient to keep (he makes a big show of adhering to doctor-patient confidentiality, for one), but he casually dispenses with other standards he feels might hinder him.

Episode Reviews

"Good Air/Bad Air"

Hank and Divya travel to Argentina with Boris, Hank hoping to help a guy with the same genetic disease as Boris. Jeremiah helps a woman with a mysterious disease, and Evan grows more jealous of Paige's work with Ray.

Women dance in tight, somewhat revealing dresses. We hear some mild sexual allusions. Ray is shot, and we see blood on his shirt and bedding. A frightening seizure follows facial bleeding. People mislead others—sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad. They say "a--" twice, "b--tard" once and misuse God's name once or twice.

Divya's guilt complex and Catholicism are linked. Divya responds by talking about her mother being Hindu. And she says she wants her daughter to learn about all of her family's diverse traditions and then "someday decide for herself."

"Lawson Translation"

Hank travels to Budapest and discovers that his supposedly dead benefactor, Boris, is very much alive—hiding and trying to figure out why his cousin wants him dead. While there, Boris' loyal lieutenant (and, as it turns out, brother), Dmitri, is stabbed in the liver. Hank tries to patch Dmitri up, sticking clamps into the open, bloody wound. But it's to no avail: Dmitri dies. Boris begins plotting vengeance before Hank advises another, less extreme solution.

Divya learns that her out-of-wedlock pregnancy is viable, much to her relief. "I've always wanted this," she says, to her own surprise. "I'm going to have a baby." She struggles with morning sickness and runs to the bathroom on occasion. Married couple Evan and Paige get three days together, which Paige hopes to use for romantic purposes. Evan, however, obsesses over a village councilwoman who seems to have it out for HankMed.

We see a men shirtless. Divya wears a curve-hugging dress. Evan and Paige kiss. Someone says "h‑‑‑." Characters drink brandy and smoke cigars.

"Ta Da For"

Hank helps a stage magician dealing with unexplained bouts of panic. En route to the cure, Hank interrupts the magician and his new "assistant" spending some, er, time in one of the magician's trick crates.

Evan essentially stalks NBC's Matt Lauer to get HankMed featured on The Today Show. When he "runs into" Lauer in the grocery store, scriptwriters put a number of gay-laced double entendres on Lauer's tongue. Divya, moonlighting at a nearby hospital, colludes with Jill to keep her second job a secret from Hank (for no apparent reason). She saves a man's life by disobeying a doctor's orders, after which she's both congratulated and reprimanded.

A patient who smells of Scotch undergoes a procedure that empties his abdomen of a yellowish liquid. "Jesus turned water into wine and I turned whiskey into beer," he says. We see someone's eyebrow stitched up and some painful-looking burns on a leg. Characters say "h‑‑‑," "d‑‑n," "a‑‑" and misuse God's name. Background shots are awash in bikinis. Evan drinks bourbon and sneaks HankMed promotional DVDs into prospective clients' purses. Someone makes a crude pass at a nurse.

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