Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thanks for the good times, ROYAL PAINS

Interesting how "Castle" and "Royal Pains" started the same year within a couple months of each other. Both have been staples in our household since they begin. They had lots of lovable memorable characters and did a mix of comedy and drama.
And funny how they both ended the same year and had varying degrees of success- both as series and regarding their finales.

For the sake of consistency, but also the finale, "Royal Pains" won hands down.
But probably the area of greatest success: "Royal Pains" had a perfect blend of comedy and drama throughout every episode.

"Castle" had the edge of the characters.
But it was so great and fun as a comedy that when it dove into dramatic territory, it completely lost me.


Okay, enough "Castle" bashing... yes, I'm still very upset with the series after three months. I see it listed on TV where it is syndicated, but I can't stomach watching it again for a while.


"Royal Pains" was also great because you could look forward to it a certain time of year: it DEFINED summertime. Each year, you never really know what to expect. And of course Boris is the wildcard. You'll never know what he'll be up to and how it will affect Hank when he becomes involved.

And [last time, I promise] they knew when it was a good time to ride into the sunset. The show didn't get dragged down or repetitive or lose quality. And the finale wrapped up all the character story arcs in nice little bows.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Once upon a time, Hank Lawson was an ER doctor in New York. He made a judgement call during a surgery involving a very powerful individual that resulted in him being fired. And shortly after, his wife left him. His younger brother Evan, to get Hank out of his depression, talks him into joining him for a weekend in The Hamptons.
At a party they're going to, someone falls ill and Hank instinctively springs to the rescue.

By complete fate, the person he saved was mysterious billionaire Boris, who offers Hank his home. And offers him a proposition to be his on-call personal doctor. Boris is suffering from a mysterious illness, so mysterious that none of the doctors he'd seen in his travels have found a cure for it. [Come to think of it, I don't know if they ever named this made-up mystery disease].

But Hank also begins his own business as a concierge doctor where he makes house-calls to people who live in The Hamptons.
Naturally, this puts him into direct conflict with Hamptons Heritage, the local hospital and one of its lead doctors, Jill.

Even before "Hank-Med" becomes a thing, Evan coins the name for the business and designates himself as its CFO. And on one of his house calls, Hank runs into Physician Assistant Divya Kadare, who offers her services to him. Although resistant at first, he accepts her offer.

Combine all these characters and add more throughout the series- and you never really know what's going to happen. But it was such a fun ride while it lasted.

Hank and Jill eventually do find common ground and there is enough room in The Hamptons for the both of them. And of course romance blossoms between them. Then after a couple seasons, the showrunners decided to break them out. It was something I never understood and I think I was furious when it happened.
But clearly, there was only one woman in the world for Hank... and for the happy ending, the showrunners reintroduced Jill in its finale season- the first we'd seen of her in years.

Needless to say, I was thrilled that they wound up together in the end.
I also find it kinda funny that Jill Flint wound up playing doctors on two different series. Did she get typecast or something?
She's equally great, if not better, on "The Night Shift." She has a lot of authority, but she also has a lot of heart. Great strong female character.
[Just looked up her profile- Jill in "Royal Pains" was an Admin Asst, not a doctor... but seriously, she's on a lot of medical shows. "Nurse Jackie" is another I came across, but since I never saw it, I don't know if she was a doctor or playing on a different role on it].


I hadn't seen much of Mark Feurestein beyond this series, but I'll always remember him as this character. Hank Lawson is VERY resourceful (he's practically Dr. McGuyver). He's very sensible and sensitive to his patients' needs and he's not afraid to deliver some cold hard truth- like what people need to change about their lifestyles when it could be a matter of life or death.
And when it comes to Boris (and really, in all his relationships), he's very loyal. He'll go to great lengths to help people. And with Boris being a man of mystery and secrets, he knows all about discretion.
Maybe the one flaw he had was his loyalty to Boris where he'd follow him to the ends of the Earth to places where he could very well become collateral damage.

So it was a big relief that when Boris disappeared, Hank turned down his offer to come with him. Because it'd be like being in the witness protection program. He'd never see Evan again.

Paulo Costanzo... wow, I can't believe how far he's come. He was on Animorphs all those years ago when they had a TV series.
The teens that were given the power to transform into animals in, I think, the 9th book- meet an alien that's the nephew of the one that gave them their powers. And so he can hide among the humans, he chooses a human form that compiles features from 4 of teenagers (there are 5, but Tobias had been trapped in the form of a red-tailed hawk since the end of book 1).
They called him Ax for short (I forget the long version, lol. I still have the books, but I haven't read them in ages. Great series!).

Anyway, Paulo found new life as Evan R Lawson (that's the way he introduces himself when he meets people- and of course he always adds "CFO of Hank-Med" at the end of it). He's neurotic and very impulsive. A lot of the time, he was the comic relief of the show.

Divya is probably one of the best female characters ever. She's very determined and tenacious- qualities she never lost. And she'd go on to prove that women can have it all. The show ended just as she was about to start school at Johns Hopkins, get married, and have a second baby.
There was talk a couple seasons of her never being able to conceive because of something that happened when she was a kid. Yet she defied the odds and her daughter Sashi will soon have a little brother.

...in reality, Reshma Shetty was pregnant and they just wrote that into the storyline.
Wouldn't be the first time.

There were moments where I thought for sure Divya would end up with one of the other characters. Her and Evan had such a fun dynamic that I kept holding out in case the two of them became romantically involved.
Never happened.
But just as well because Evan found the perfect counterpart in Paige. She's grounded and nurturing and while she supports him, she can tell him when he needs to dial it back.
Divya and Evan have a very love-hate relationship.
Paige's boss Russell, I think he was an interior designer or he was involved in restoring art works and such. He was a great character. Very stiff and demanding at first, but Paige softened him within one episode.

There was also the socially awkward Jeremiah who they introduced in one of the later seasons.
I think that might have been at a point where I hadn't watched the series in a while and didn't really know what happened. But there was this new guy that I had never seen before, had no idea who he was or what he was doing with Hank-Med. But I think it had come at a time where Evan and Hank had a falling out and Hank quit Hank-Med and they needed a doctor to take his place.
Either that or it was shortly after the 2-hour "Christmas/movie" episode where Hank almost died because of some mysterious illness. It was something that happened to him I think as  the result of people who wanted to assassinate Boris.

Anyway, I didn't really "get" Jeremiah at first. Maybe because of his awkwardness, but I warmed up to him when he and Divya were living together.
She had just had Sashi (I think that's how her daughter's name was spelled) and her parents cut her off financially- between her backing out of an arranged wedding and having a baby out of wedlock.
So Jeremiah was giving her a place to stay and he was very good to her. I thought they'd end up together, but again, it didn't quite work out.

In a way, I guess I kinda liked this show because it didn't follow into the clich├ęs that had been done over and over again.

A highlight later on was the introduction of Hank and Evan's dad... who happened to be played by The Fonz himself Henry Winkler. [It became even more fun to watch him after I saw a couple episodes of "Happy Days" a couple years ago].
He was the deadbeat dad that walked out on them and their mom when they were kids. Something Hank held against him for years because he had to take care of his mom (who had a terminal illness) and his brother when he was only a teenager.

Funny enough, their relationship repaired (their half-sister Emma was also an interesting character they had around for a season), but after walking out on a wedding in the final season, Evan adopted Hank's former attitude and decided not to forgive his dad.
Even though his reason for leaving was being embarrassed about a heart issue he was having.

I read an article in the Entertainment section last Sunday and it made an interesting point. "Royal Pains" was going to be USA's last "blue sky" series, which were all the light-hearted dramedies they'd had over the years. "Monk" and "Psych" in particular. [I freaking loved "Psych" but also hated when it got serious... at least the ending was good]. Now it's going for a grittier realer direction that "Mr. Robot" is at the helm of because apparently that's what "millennials" are into nowadays.

Bleck, HATE that term. I was born in 1986. Us kids from the 80's and 90's deserve better. There's such a stigma about that term because of what it's associated with. People being addicted to their iPhones, SnapChat, Twitter and so on. As well as the economical one. How they want college to be free or government handouts. And there's the whole "everyone gets a trophy' thing.

I have an iPhone and yes I do like Twitter quite a bit. But I'm not on my phone all the time. Heck, my parents are on their iPhones and iPads more than I am when we have the TV on. I have my laptop... similar, yes, but I don't think it's quite the same thing.

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