Monday, June 15, 2009

Round Two: Royal Pains

Royal Pains: Season 1, Episode 2 “There Will Be Food” (B)

The start of this episode provides a homey feel for the show and its characters. Brothers Hank and Evan wake up in the morning in their enormous, fantastic Hamptons residence. Hank doesn’t quite have time for breakfast because he has a client, but no worries, since he’s an on-call doctor, and he always gets breaks in the middle of the day. There’s no real stress to this show, which is nice, with the possible exception of those panic-inducing moments where the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy suddenly topple over or go into cardiac arrest. It’s the perfect kind of feel for this show, though, since it’s a stress-free summer show that isn’t looking to go too far. Hank’s not in a rush to work out his life, because he’s in the Hamptons, and the gig he’s got going at the moment is working out pretty well. What seems a bit peculiar to me, then, is the fast-paced nature of the relationships in the lives of both the brothers. Hank’s doctor friend Jill should probably have waited until the fifth or sixth episode (or even the season finale) to get drunk and confess her (slight) attraction to him, if only to keep the flirtation as just that. Instead, the writers opted to make their chemistry more recognized, and their near-kiss and open flirtation do work well. Evan, by contrast, gets to be with the girl of his dreams without hardly lifting a finger (well, maybe a few pots and pans), and then she’s gone, off to retire from dancing and probably never to see Evan again. Evan’s a remarkably dorky character who likely doesn’t get the girl that much, and therefore the choice to have him score so early on seems a bit bizarre. In keeping with the show’s tone, at least the girl doesn’t die, she’s just a flitting fantasy that Evan will have to continually convince himself is real. I like the recurring characters, like the kid and his neurotic girlfriend, and I imagine we haven’t sent the last of absent dad Andrew McCarthy. Hank’s side project of helping the not-so-wealthy out is a great subplot for this series, and it frames Hank in a very good light. I’ll certainly be back for more of this show.

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