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Vaguely Bland

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 9, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 9, 2009 |

“Royal Pains” is yet another doctor show. It has a vaguely bland premise, a vaguely bland tone, and a vaguely bland cast. But it’s not dumb. It’s not offensive. It’s not boring. And it’s not insulting. So: Win.

Kind of.

Mark Feuerstein (“West Wing,” “Good Morning, Miami”) stars as Hank Lawson, a hot-shot hospital doctor who sassmouths his boss when she demands that he pay more attention to a big trustee donor in surgery over an younger kid who just suffered a cardiac arrest. He saves the young kid, but because of some unfortunate bad luck, the trustee ends up dying. Hank is fired from his job; sued by the trustee’s family; his stuck-up but beautiful fiancee ditches him; and he’s blacklisted at every decent hospital in the area. So, he pulls a Steve Dunne. He sits in his apartment and watches TV and hides underneath junk food wrappers for weeks, if not months.

Broke, unemployed, and basically fucked for life, Hank relents when his brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo, “Joey”), insists that he go the Hamptons with him for the weekend to scam for ladies. Pretending to be some sort of royalty, Hank and Evan con their way into a party, where a woman has some a seizure and nearly dies. However, Hank spots the family’s personal physician’s misdiagnosis, saves the woman’s life, and earns the respect and gratitude of the family patriarch, Boris (Campbell Scott, speaking of Steve Dunne).

You can probably guess the rest: The woman (Jill Flint) falls in love with Hank, Boris recruits him to be a concierge physician, which is essentially a doctor-for-hire for rich people in the Hamptons. Bam: You’ve got “House” in the Hamptons. Only there’s no one nearly as compelling as Hugh Laurie on this show.

Still, it’s a fairly watchable, light dramedy, and they made it through the entire pilot episode without performing a tracheotomy with a straw, a pen, or the tube from a lighter fluid can, so it hasn’t yet hit all the doctor show touchstones yet. Feuerstein, like his sitcom counterpart, Breckin Meyer, is mysteriously likable, while Paulo Costanzo is less abrasive than his comedic counterpart, Eddie Kaye Thomas. And the lead romantic prospect, Jill Flint, is suitably somewhere between overly cute and a complete knockout.

All of which is to say: There’s nothing really to dislike about “Royal Pains,” but there’s nothing to love about it, either. It’s likable. It’s watchable. And no one named Spencer or Heidi is involved with it. So, essentially: It’s good, non-addictive summer TV.

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