Friday, July 30, 2010

Royal Pains “The Hankover” Recap & Review

Photo from NBCU

Light, no-brain-required summer television excels in the form of ”Royal Pains”(USA Network). which frequently asks viewers to suspend belief at how easy it is to get medical treatment and a diagnosis in the Hamptons. Well, that’s as long as one has Hank Med. But don’t take the fact that you don’t need to engage your brain when watching “Royal Pains” to mean that the show isn’t funny and engaging, because it is. The show’s lead cast - Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, and Reshma Shetty have great chemistry which helps to keep viewer interest.

The episode “The Hankover” brings us closer to Divya’s (Reshma Shetty) wedding day. The episode opens with a peek into the future – and Hank (Mark Feuerstein) seems to have scored with his competing concierge Dr. Emily Peck (Anastasia Griffith); Evan (Paulo Costanzo) thinks he’s accidentally killed Divya’s fiancé, Raj (Rupak Ginn) by pushing him off the balcony; Jill (Jill Flynt ) and Divya wake up in the back of a taxi, sporting new tattoos. Before we can ask “what happened here?” the episode moves back 24 hours.

The trip back 24 hours shows that not all we see in the first minutes of the show are what they seem. Hank gets two patients – one who is a former classmate who bullied Hank, Ken Keller (Michael B. Silver), and another, who goes by the name of “Karma” who is a pole dancer. While both characters arrive as patients – Keller with an apparent sinus problem and Karma with a dislocated shoulder – they come back into the story at an impromptu bachelor party that Evan throws for Raj. Evan’s intention is to expose Raj as a potential philanderer and not the best mate for Divya.

Meanwhile, Divya and Jill are at a formal tea given in Divya’s honor, with her mother and sister present. Later, when it is exposed that Divya’s sister is cheating on her husband in order to cope with her own arranged marriage, Divya starts to have doubts about her impending marriage to Raj. She and Jill decide to go out and party, bringing with them a taxi driver named Aristotle (Bill Bellamy) who takes them to all the hot places. Later, when Divya and Jill have fallen asleep in the back of the cab after a night of drinking, they find Aristotle is out cold in a diabetic coma and have him rushed to the hospital.

The real action, though, is at Boris’s mansion, where Evan's small bachelor party has turned into a big event with Boris’ blessing and the help of his aide, Dieter (Dieter Riesle). Evan has invited Karma to do some pole dancing and to entice Raj. But it doesn’t seem to go the way Evan expects and he doesn’t know if Raj has been unfaithful to Divya and Karma is keeping quiet on the issue. Later, Karma accidentally breaks Keller’s nose when he gets too close to her dancing. Hank manages to fix it – or so he thinks. Afterwards, Hank and Emily seem to have gotten very comfortable and cozy with each other.

When we get back to the time that the episode opens, Hank and Emily are laying in a hammock together while Keller approaches them, irate that his nose is still bleeding. It’s not a nosebleed, it’s spinal fluid. Before Hank can do anything more, Evan races up to them, saying that he thinks he’s killed Raj, believing he pushed Raj off the balcony. Hank races to investigate, and finds Raj is only passed out drunk and what Even recalls as him pushing Raj off the edge didn’t happen the way he thought – Evan passed out before he even got close to Raj. Later, when Hank puts Keller through a brain scan (at the guest house) it seems that a small sword from a toy has been stuck in his sinuses for years, since Keller was a boy, which has cause his years of pain.

When Hank gets Keller to the hospital, they find Divya and Jill there with Aristotle who is being treated. Keller later apologizes to Hank for his bullying days years ago, and Hank seems to feel good that he took the high road all those years.

Dieter has given Evan a copy of the surveillance recordings from the party so he can see what really happened with Raj and Karma. But Evan doesn’t look at it. Later, though, Diyva finds it and is watching it as Hank and Evan return. They all watch and find that not only was Raj faithful to Divya, he professed his respect, affection, and dedication to her. We also see a very drunk Evan attempting to pole dance, with the episode closing on that note.

If you are expecting to watch Royal Pains for deep and gripping drama, this is not your show. But I don’t think that is what the show intends to be that way. It’s supposed to be light summer viewing and it certainly fits this bill. Still, it’s easy to care about the characters and be interested in what happens to them. If you want some fun, this is an hour well spent.

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