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Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 30: Royal Pains

18 Aug

My friend and I saw the commercials in the summer of 2009 – “Some Doctors Still Make House Calls.”  Done.  We were hooked.  We had already decided, as previously mentioned, that we would watch just about every USA show, but now we had a favorite, and it hadn’t even aired yet.  Even better, it took place out in the Hamptons on our very own home island, Long Island!  We declared it our favorite show on TV, and started quoting the catch phrase.  Now, as much as I loathe to admit it, this all was a bit ironic.  We know how to take irony far, though – we don’t half-ass it.  We watched every episode of the first season.  We quoted the part from the first episode which was in the “Previously On” section of literally every single episode –

Okay, this is going to require a brief explanation of the premise of Royal Pains.  Doctor Hank Lawson is a high-powered surgeon in a big New York City hospital.  A crazy circumstance occurs in the first episode, the premise episode, in which he has to choose between treating a rich hospital trustee and a teenager.  He chooses the teenager because he believes the teen has a better chance of living.  He saves the teen, but the trustee dies.  The hospital board is apoplectic, and fires him.  During this scene, the head board member asks him a question about how could he let a trustee die.  Hank says, “I made a judgment call.”  The head board member woman says in response, “You made a mistake”

Those two lines are literally in every previously on.  I’m not exaggerating.  So next time you need to impress a couple of Royal Pains fans, throw them a little “I made a judgment call” action and see if they give you the correct response.  It would be ideal as a call and answer to let Royal Pains fans into a speakeasy.

Basically, after that Hank and his brother go out and visit the Hamptons and due to a crazy set of circumstances, he lives at a mysterious rich guy’s villa and operates as a concierge doctor in the Hamptons, visiting patients, and having an on-again, off-again romance with an administrator at the local hospital.

All this said, the first season wasn’t all that great.  It wasn’t terrible by any means, it had its moments, but it was not the strongest light USA doctor procedural.  But we were committed and it was already cemented as our favorite show ever.

Then we watched the second season, and yeah, it’s no Sopranos, but it became an eminently enjoyable show, making us wonder what the ratio had become between ironic and actual viewing.  The show-runners seemed to get a lot more comfortable with the pieces they had, and though the episodes remain pretty light, and summer-y, as befits the show’s season and location (so far Hank has saved every patient he’s worked on), it’s really not a bad show, and I mean that as a compliment.

Why it’s This High:  It’s on USA, it’s on Long Island, and I’m a sucker for recurring guest star Campbell Scott.

Why It’s not higher:  It’s ceiling is unfortunately low – enjoyable should be what it’s aiming for, and getting, but its aims are not much higher.

Best Episode of Most Recent Season:  “A History of Violins” – honestly, it’s the great title, going more in depth into the plot is meaningless – it’s just a great title.